By: Amy Kruse

As you research colleges with the best online undergraduate programs, you may come across a degree called a bachelor of professional studies (B.P.S.). Although not as well-known as a bachelor of science (B.S.) or a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree, a B.P.S. degree requires the same amount of credit hours and comes with the same prestige, but its focus is more on career-specific professional skills that will help you secure a job and confidently enter the workforce.

What is a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree?

The difference between a B.P.S. degree, a B.A. degree and a B.S. degree comes down to course requirements. Bachelor of Professional Studies degrees require a 30-credit hour general education core, 30 credits of professional competencies, and 30-60 credits of a major with electives. This intentional coupling of career-focused majors with professional competency and skills courses is what makes the B.P.S. degree unique.

How do the three types of undergraduate degrees differ from each other?

A bachelor of professional studies degree requires that approximately 75% of the courses earned towards your degree be professionally focused. The other 25% of the courses you take will be liberal arts courses.

Conversely, a bachelor of arts degree is the most heavily focused on liberal arts of the three degrees. Generally speaking, 75% of the credits earn towards a B.A. degree are liberal arts credits, and the remaining 25% are major or career-specific credits.

A bachelor of science degree is often evenly split, with at least 50% of the credits in liberal arts and the remaining 50% focused more professionally around a specific major.

What should recruiters and hiring managers know about a candidate with a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree?

A person who earns a bachelor’s of professional studies degree is highly trained in a specific field of study, and they are prepared to be a valuable member of a team. Since a B.P.S. degree requires a good deal of career-specific courses, graduates have a high amount professional knowledge, tools and competencies.

Expert Advice

We asked Dr. Ryan Williams, associate dean and professor of practice at the College of Professional Studies, to answer FIVE commonly asked questions about a bachelor’s of professional studies degree.

  1. How is a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree different than a B.S. or B.A. degree?

A bachelor of professional studies degree is focused on professional skills and career preparation so students can get a head start on their careers. A student in a B.P.S. program completes a shortened set of general education (liberal arts) courses, which is considerably less than what’s required for B.A. or B.S. degrees. At the College of Professional Studies, students complete major-specific courses and a series of our signature professional competencies courses for the remaining credits. The specialized combination of discipline-specific coursework and seminars designed to enhance career readiness is what distinguishes our B.P.S. degree program from other bachelor’s degrees and it’s what sets our students up for professional success.

  1. What makes a Bachelor of Professional Studies curriculum unique?

There are two things that make the curriculum unique. The first is that the focus is on career-readiness. The second is that the degree can be customized. A B.P.S. degree program offers students the opportunity to gain real world skills for career enhancement and focus on market-sensitive areas of study that match their interests. 

For example, at the College of Professional Studies, a student could major in Cybersecurity Administration while also completing a minor in Project Management. Another student could major in Business Management while completing a minor in Cannabis Studies. 

  1. Why should a hiring manager be impressed by a candidate who has a B.P.S. degree?

A hiring manager can be assured that a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree holder is a future-ready professional with an established set of competencies to achieve success in a variety of industries. They dedicated their time in college to making sure they have the tools and skills necessary to hit the ground running in a new job.

  1. Is a B.P.S. degree program good for transfer students?

A BPS degree program allows students to maximize transfer credits. At Syracuse University, students can transfer up to 90 credits earned at other institutions toward their undergraduate degree, which reduces time spent in the program and the cost of tuition.

  1. Is there a certain type of student who is best suited for a B.P.S. program?

High school graduates of all ages and levels of experience can enroll in online undergraduate degree programs at the College of Professional Studies. While a bachelor of professional studies degree would be beneficial for any student looking to enter the workforce, it is specifically designed with the needs of busy people in mind.

If you are career-focused and interested in gaining a new skillset or becoming more marketable in an increasingly competitive market, a bachelor of professional studies degree might be a great option for you. If you want to earn a B.P.S degree part-time and online at a university who is ranked among the nation’s best online bachelor’s programs, the College of Professional Studies might be the perfect option for you! 

If you want to learn more, contact one of our supportive and knowledgeable Enrollment Advisors who can walk you through all of your options.