Your Guide to the Bachelor of Applied Science Degree

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Transfer students and students who value educational flexibility may benefit from pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science to further their education and career.

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The Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree is an undergraduate program often intended for students who have completed their associate degree (or a significant number of college credits) and wish to further their education with a bachelor’s degree

BAS programs are not as widely available as Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) programs in that not every college or university offers them. When they do, the curriculum can differ. While some schools emphasize a general studies education so you can explore a range of career opportunities, others offer a handful of technical concentrations, such as health care management or mechanical engineering, to help you prepare for a specific career outcome. Choosing one of these areas is similar to declaring a college major, though the curriculum may include more hands-on learning. 

Bachelor’s degree holders often go on to earn more money than associate degree holders and high school graduates, and tend to experience lower rates of unemployment, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics [1]. Besides earning potential, there are many other benefits associated with earning a bachelor’s degree, though it’s important to weigh those potentials against the total cost of college.

In this article, we’ll discuss what it takes to earn a BAS degree, the types of concentrations you have to choose from, and what you can do with the degree after graduation. 

What is a BAS degree?

The Bachelor of Applied Science degree tends to focus more on technical concentrations than you’d typically find in Bachelor of Science programs. For instance, while you can earn your BS in computer science, you can earn a BAS in informatics. BAS degrees also tend to be more interdisciplinary, so you can shape your education to meet your goals. 

For some schools, the BAS degree is exclusively for transfer students who have already earned their associate degree at another institution, or who have accumulated around 30 to 60 college credits. However, a small number of schools offer it as a full bachelor’s degree program you can enroll in as a first-year student, without having previously earned credit elsewhere. 

Length of time + cost

BAS degrees require at least 120 credits to graduate. However, whereas a bachelor’s degree typically takes between four and five years to finish when you attend full-time, BAS degrees are designed to take less time, depending on the number of credits you transfer. As mentioned above, many BAS degrees often operate as transfer-only degrees. 

The cost of earning your BAS degree will depend on what type of school you attend. As of 2021, the annual tuition and fees at four-year public institutions in the United States were $10,740 for in-state students and $27,560 for out-of-state students, while private nonprofit institutions cost $38,070 [2]. But given the accelerated time to completion of many BAS programs, you may find that it costs less to earn your BAS degree. Many schools also charge by the credit hour, which can reduce the overall amount you’ll pay if you can transfer most of your previously earned credits. 

There are also a growing number of online BAS degree options that can reduce your overall cost, given that online degrees can sometimes be more affordable than in-person degrees. 

Learn more: Online Colleges: A Guide


Bachelor of Applied Science degrees tend to offer areas of concentration rather than majors, which are in a limited number of subjects. Concentrations can include: 

  • Creative writing

  • Human relations

  • Justice studies

  • Biomedical science

  • Health care management

  • Informatics

  • Mechanical engineering

With the University of North Texas Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree, available on Coursera, you can concentrate in Administration, Consumer Behavior, Data Analytics, Social Wellness and Community, Media Innovation, and many other areas. 

Types of courses

Depending on how many credits you transfer, you may have to work through some of your general education requirements—the courses that tend to make up the first two years of any bachelor’s degree program. Once you’ve done that, many BAS degree programs emphasize a more interdisciplinary or general studies approach. Your coursework will draw on a range of subjects meant to strengthen your overall skills development. 

The coursework you take will also depend on the area of concentration you choose if your school offers that option. 

BAS coursework can include: 

  • Accounting

  • Economics

  • Marketing

  • Management and entrepreneurship 

  • Communication

  • Quantitative reasoning 

Who earns a BAS degree?

While anyone can earn a BAS degree, programs tend to be geared toward two kinds of students: 

Transfer students: Typically, students earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree when they want to enter the workforce after gaining a scientific or technical education to prepare them for specific roles, such as dental hygienist or accountant. Transfer students can also include other associate degree holders, such as Associate of Science and Associate of Arts students.

Students who want educational flexibility: If you’re not drawn to any one major, then a BAS degree can be a great option to earn your bachelor’s degree while learning about a range of subjects, all while developing your skills in numerous areas. 

What can you do with a BAS? 

You can pursue many fields with a Bachelor of Applied Sciences degree. Depending on your concentration, you may be able to explore roles in fields such as:  

Within the fields listed above, you may be able to pursue the job titles below, though the experience requirements for each can vary. 

Job titlesAnnual median US salary (BLS)
Lodging manager$59,430
Human resources specialist$62,290
Marketing specialist$76,080
Computer systems analyst$99,270
Health services manager$101,340

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. 

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Article sources


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Education Pays,” Accessed December 6, 2022. 

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.