Careers Career Paths Music Majors: Bachelor of Music vs. Bachelor of Arts BA, BM, or BS... Navigating Music Degrees Available at College Share PINTEREST Email Print Hero Images / Getty Images Career Paths Music Careers Technology Careers Sports Careers Sales Project Management Professional Writer Media Legal Careers US Military Careers Government Careers Finance Careers Fiction Writing Careers Entertainment Careers Criminology Careers Book Publishing Aviation Animal Careers Advertising Learn More By Jackie Burrell Jackie Burrell Jackie Burrell is an expert in music-related careers. Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 09/30/19 There are a few types of college degrees available to music majors. When looking for the right music degree program and making career decisions, it is important to know the difference. Two of these include the Bachelor of Music (BM) and the Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA-Music). Understanding Music Degrees If you have a young musician on the college tour circuit, they are going to be checking out music conservatories and music schools on college campuses. Along the way, you have likely run into the BA, BM, and BS conundrum. Some schools offer a bachelor of arts degrees in music, others do it as a bachelor of music. Still, others offer a bachelor of science degree while some will even offer all three. What's the difference? Each of these degrees will vary from one school to the next. The degree programs available will have different philosophies as well as course and credit requirements. It is important to look at the requirements of a specific university or conservatory. The Basic Differences in Music Degrees Bachelor of Music (BM) degree at a university is more similar to the depth and rigor required by a conservatory.Bachelor of Arts (BA) is a liberal arts degree with a concentration in music.Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees can lean in different directions, depending on the school. BM vs. BA at San Francisco State At San Francisco State, for example, a student's course load for a bachelor of music degree must include 73 units of music coursework. This includes stringent requirements for music theory, music history, and performance classes. Only 50 units are required for a bachelor of arts. These 50 units will not translate to 10 or 12 classes, by the way. Music departments are notorious for bestowing very few units per class. Orchestra, for example, can be a single unit. BM at Lawrence University Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin is one of the schools on Loren Pope's "40 Colleges That Change Lives" list. Their bachelor of music is considered a "professional degree," and music classes account for a minimum 144 out of the 216 units necessary to graduate. BM vs. BA at NYU At NYU's top-ranked Steinhardt School, a bachelor of music entails more music theory, music history, aural comprehension, and keyboard classes than a bachelor of arts degree. It is worth noting that out of the 128 units needed to graduate with a bachelor of music in vocal performance, for example, 80 units are required music courses. Students will also need to take 48 different classes to earn those 80 credits. What About a Bachelor of Science? Some schools offer a bachelor of science in music degree. This is a professional major aimed at career paths in music publishing, software, and music technology. Temple University's Boyer College of Music in Philadelphia is a perfect example. By contrast, at Indiana University, a bachelor of science in music includes a secondary emphasis in another field. This could be music technology, jazz studies, composition, or even a focus unrelated to music.