Your Guide to the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) Degree

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

If you’ve already earned some college credit or military credit, then completing your bachelor’s degree with the BAAS may be right for you.

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The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) is an undergraduate degree typically designed for those who have earned their associate degree—or who have previously earned college credit or military credit—and now wish to pursue their bachelor’s. As such, BAAS programs are considered completion degrees because they take your prior learning into consideration, offering a way to obtain a bachelor’s faster and for less money. In that way, BAAS degrees are similar to the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS)

In this article, we’ll discuss how BAAS degrees work, what you can study, the benefits of earning this unique degree, and some of the careers they may prepare you for.   

What is a BAAS degree? 

A Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) is a type of bachelor’s degree that requires you to apply any previously earned college, workforce, technical, or military credits toward the completion of a fully accredited undergraduate degree program. BAAS programs accelerate how quickly you can earn your degree and decrease the overall cost of your education by using your prior learning to fulfill course requirements. 

Typically, BAAS programs offer flexible, career-oriented coursework that prepares you for a variety of real-world career paths, such as business administration, hospitality, or data analytics. They tend to be well-suited for working adults who already possess prior credits and wish to obtain a bachelor’s without putting their careers – and lives – on hold.   

Time to completion and cost

A typical bachelor’s degree takes between four and five years to finish. Completion times for BAAS degrees will vary based on the number of prior credits you’re able to transfer, but typically you can expect to finish in one to three years. 

For example, the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences from the University of North Texas requires applicants to possess at least 30 prior credit hours from an accredited institution to qualify for the program but notes that students often transfer much more toward the degree’s 120-credit requirement. Despite their potentially different completion times, BAAS students are well-positioned to complete their degrees sooner than the typical undergraduate thanks to transfer-friendly policies.  

Similarly, the cost of a BAAS program will vary based on the number of credits a student transfers and their state residency status. Nonetheless, BAAS students are likely to pay much less than the average cost of college due to their pre-existing credits, which reduces the overall number of credit hours required to complete the degree. 

Read more: How Many Years Is a Bachelor’s Degree: Factors That Impact Timing


Generally, students in BAAS programs choose to concentrate (or major) in an area of study designed to prepare them for a particular career path. These concentrations vary from one program to another, but they all tend to be more career-oriented than typical college majors, which usually focus on particular academic fields.  

Examples of concentrations found in BAAS programs include: 

  • Administration 

  • Leadership and communication

  • Organizational supervision

  • Social wellness and community

  • Media innovation

  • Consumer behavior 

  • Data Analytics

  • Physical and life sciences

Types of coursework 

Like many other kinds of undergraduate degree programs, BAAS programs usually include two types of coursework: core degree requirements that all bachelor’s degree-seekers must complete and subject-specific coursework that only those studying a particular concentration (or major) must complete. While traditional bachelor’s programs usually consist of about two years' worth of core requirement courses and two years' worth of major-specific courses, the number of courses BAAS students take will depend on the number of transfer credits they’re able to apply to their program. 

Although the types of subject-specific courses a BAAS student can expect to take will vary based on their particular concentration and program, some examples include: 

Who earns a BAAS degree? 

BAAS degree programs are designed for individuals who have already earned some college or military credit but haven’t earned their bachelor’s degree. While other undergraduate programs may require students to start their studies with no prior credits, BAAS programs are more flexible and usually accept previously awarded college, technical, workforce, or military credits so that students can apply their prior learning rather than starting over. 

This means that BAAS programs are particularly well-suited for adult learners who have accumulated credits and would like to earn their bachelor’s degree. Similarly, they may also be ideal for working professionals who already possess an associate degree and would like to use their prior credits toward a bachelor’s degree. 

What are the benefits of a BAAS degree? 

There are many benefits to obtaining a BAAS degree. 

From a career perspective, bachelor degree holders generally earn more and have lower rates of unemployment than those without them. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers with a bachelor’s degree in 2022 earned a median weekly wage of $1,432 and had an unemployment rate of just 2.2 percent. By comparison, workers who had some college education but no degree during the same period earned a median weekly wage of $935 and experienced a higher 3.5 percent unemployment rate [1]. 

Furthermore, BAAS programs also provide some unique benefits to degree-seekers that aren’t found in many other bachelor’s programs. In addition to usually taking less time and money to complete, BAAS programs are also typically more flexible than other undergraduate programs, allowing many learners to take their courses completely online and at their own pace.  

Read more:  Is a Bachelor’s Degree Worth It?

What jobs can you get with a BAAS degree? 

BAAS programs prepare students for a variety of different jobs that are aligned with their particular concentration. Some of these jobs include: 

The precise jobs that you may qualify for will depend on your BAAS concentration and work experience, among other things. 

Next steps 

Interested in a bachelor’s degree program that accepts credit you've already earned? Consider the University of North Texas’ Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences. In addition to offering numerous career-focused concentrations, UNT’s completely online BAAS program is transfer-friendly and features fall, spring, and summer start dates. Learn more today. 

Article sources

1. US Bueau of Labor Statistics.Education Pays, 2022,” Accessed February 26, 2024.

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