No one at The Index was quite sure what to make of the news that a Bachelor of Science degree had been created for the philosophy and religion major. When deciding on a degree, the vast majority of students at any university are given a choice between two options: a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. At Truman State University, the options exist in many majors with little distinction between the degrees. Students can pursue a Bachelor of Arts in technical fields like math and physics and a Bachelor of Science in non-technical fields like history and philosophy and religion, and beyond one distinction, students have little knowledge of why multiple choices exist at all. Thus the deciding factor for most students comes down to a choice: additional math classes or additional foreign language.
We, The Index Editorial Board, feel the distinction between Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees seems arbitrary, and the separate courses of study should be made more different or abolished. At a school that emphasizes the liberal arts and sciences so much, the fact that the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science tracks are so indistinguishable seems out of character.
One of the major rationales for allowing a Bachelor of Science degree in philosophy and religion was to increase enrollment in the department. If the practical difference between the two degrees is simply a few extra math credits or a few extra language credits, is it worth having these barriers keep students from pursuing degrees?
Either students are horribly mistaken about the differences between a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts or there are no significant differences beyond extra math or foreign language credits. Either way, this is a problem. If students are taking Bachelor of Arts classes, they should know why they are important for their degrees, and the same goes for Bachelor of Science classes. For the small number of degree programs that do not yet have both a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts track, students should understand why they are only able to get one degree or there should be no distinction at all. At a school where you can get a Bachelor of Arts in math and a Bachelor of Science in philosophy and religion, there is clearly something more fundamental going on. Truman should either make the labels mean something or do away with the labels altogether.