View Full Version : For all you b.s. majors, the importance of liberal arts

01-01-2004, 08:21 AM
I know a lot of people on this board got into programming because they hate regular school work, and like the applied theories that computer science and programming offers. But I've also read a lot of posts on this message board from people saying how school is a waste of time and they feel that a lot of "regular" courses are worthless.

I thought the same way, and I was going to get my b.s., but I decided to switch over to a b.a. instead. Many employers prefer people with b.a. (especially in the long run) for positions in computer programming and other other technology related companies because of their ability to think critically and see the whole (worldview) picture.

So if your school offers you the choice of a b.a. or a b.s. in your major, you might want to consider getting the b.a. over the b.s.

That's just my suggestion. I'm only posting this because I've seen a lot of people say negative things about the general education that high schools and colleges provide. In the long run, that general education will help you become a better thinker, and a more well-rounded individual.



01-01-2004, 10:43 AM
I couldn't disagree more. At my school, getting a BA means one has to take foreign language courses and I think a few more humanities courses. Keep in mind that people forget much of what they learn, so a few extra english or social science courses aren't going to make much of a difference in the long run. I fully understand that foreign language courses are great for those who want to learn another language, but I plan on working on software in the U.S., so that wouldn't benefit me much.

Of course, holding a BA doesn't necessarily mean that one is well rounded, and holding a BS doesn't necessarily mean that one is not. My view on it is as follows. I'm attending my school to major in mathematics and computer science. I want to take lots of courses in my majors. That is my primary reason for attending the school. That is the college's responsibility to ensure that I have the oppurtunity to become competant in those areas. As for becomming a well rounded individual, that is my responsibility. Because of that, I regularly become involved in many extracurricular activities and cultural events throughout Philly as time and resources allow. For example, I'm an active member of my Philosophy Club, and I'm an editor and writer for my school's newspaper. Drexel makes sure I know math and CS; I make sure I am a well rounded citizen. So far, so good.

01-01-2004, 12:40 PM
Amen joshdick, amen.

I just wish I don't have to take all these bogus classes in High School. I have to get one credit of physical education just to graduate! All p.e. is at my school is gym class. The coach forces you to play dodge ball every day, and he actually encourages people to hit other people in the face. He plays with us as well! He can bench over 400 lbs., and the strongest guy in our class can only do 200, and the coach thinks it's equal? He throws the ball as hard as he can, and he cheats! If he gets hit he doesn't go out. He'll say "you didn't hit me" and then throw the ball at you while you're telling him he's cheating and force you to go out.

01-01-2004, 01:03 PM
In the end, whether B.A. or B.S. it will boil down to the person's own natural ability for communication, so to speak.

01-01-2004, 03:54 PM
Just make sure you leave with honors. The colleges I'm looking at transfering to require a butt load of community service and other stuffs to get honors or high honors along with the gpa and all that jazz.

01-01-2004, 04:08 PM
I am starting school again this spring in my goal is a four year bachelors degree. I agree there are extraneous courses that I will have to take.
Because I am not confident I will be able to complete my bachelors in CS, I will look into stepping first towards a Bachelors of Science that should only take me two years and requires less math.

Also I may look into a b.a because I am also interested in such things as computer generated art, web design, and networking some of which requires courses not specificly in the CS program. Thanks for the suggestion.

01-01-2004, 06:43 PM
You won't ever get turned down for having a BS, but some jobs do turn you down for having a BA, especially military or defense contracting companies. At all of the schools I've looked at, getting a BA is ensures almost the same job outlook once you get the degree, but is basically just an easier set of courses. I've spoken with several computer science professors and done quite a bit of research on the subject, because I was looking at a BA in computer science at the university of maine, orono.

01-01-2004, 08:38 PM
Best argument yet, Silvercord.

01-01-2004, 08:42 PM
Most BS classes also throw in quite a few humanities courses and stuff to ensure a well-rounded degree. I just finished my BS in Computer Engineering, and I took at least 40 credits of humanities. Hell, I had 12 in my last term alone.

01-01-2004, 08:44 PM
I applied for computer engineering. Was it as hard as I think it's going to be? (i'm expecting it to thoroughly spank me, especially the higher level courses, judging from conversations I've had and course manuals I've read)

01-01-2004, 08:46 PM
It's not like you jump right into the high level courses; by the time you get there, you've had plenty of preparation.

It's difficult, but the important thing is to remember that it's just another school. Study, do your homework, and go to class (this sounds easy, but it's so tempting to just stay home from classes), and you'll do fine.

01-01-2004, 08:57 PM
I really hate the fact that they force you to take humanities courses in an engineering degree...you're doing humanity enough of a favor by making stuff work, so what's with the hippie stuff?

01-01-2004, 09:58 PM
Where I plan on going next year, they have two different CS degrees, a BMath majoring in CS, or a BCS. I'm probably going to go with the BCS, because there are a few less math courses, and a couple more CS courses. For my electives, I'll probably take a combination of business and religious studies courses (no flame wars, please).


01-02-2004, 02:34 PM
nothing wrong with that, i've only heard good things about waterloo

01-02-2004, 08:41 PM
My university offers a bachelor's degree in computer science either as a bachelor of science or as a bachelor of arts. The B.S. is through the College of Engineering, and it requires a significantly more challenging courseload: a minor in mathematics, a series of science courses (choose between physics, chemistry, and biology mainly), and a few more actual computer science/computer engineering classes than the BA. The BA, on the other hand, is offered through the College of Arts and Sciences, and it is easier in that it requires much less math and more humanities courses.

Originally, I was willing to tough out the difficult courseload of a BS in CS, but now I'm considering the BA or even a minor in computer science if I find another major more interesting. I'm happy enough that I didn't fail Calculus I after all, and I'm less and less looking forward to all the mathematics I will have to strive through for the BS.

01-02-2004, 09:07 PM
I definitely don't think there's anything wrong with a BA, I think probably a lot of the computer programming jobs out there don't even make use of heavy science and mathematics, and it's unreasonable and unfair to force courses like multivariable calculus onto people that just want to take computer science.

EDIT: although I personally like complicated mathematics

01-02-2004, 09:23 PM
>> although I personally like complicated mathematics
I have a friend doing a double degree at Waterloo, Honours Applied Mathematics and Honours Pure Mathematics. He's nuts. :p

01-03-2004, 05:48 PM
>Hell, I had 12 in my last term alone.

A well planned out four year degree I'd say, considering that I enjoy humanities coursework, and would try hardest to fit in those breadth, er "GE" as I guess most would call it, courses whereever I could, as spread as I could.

>you're doing humanity enough of a favor by making stuff work, so what's with the hippie stuff?

Well that's a rather unfair generalization right there, regarding the hippy stuff hm? While I agree completely and could not have put it better that we are doing humanity a favor, I do hold that those courses as has been mentioned are there to make sure your degree is rather well rounded. Also I like to take the approach to that coursework as a nice change of pace so far as technical and non-technical goes. Frankly electives are so diverse in topic and to a lesser extent their pedagogy that I don't see who would not enjoy them. But then here we are...