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I asked a lecturer to tell us once and for all whether BAs are actually worth it

‘It is as if you’re kind of a waster if you do the arts’

Here we go again, another academic year comes around with its promises of getting your shit together. This basically means being responsible with money and going to all the classes – here we, here we, here we go again.

The age old question, will again be asked: Which is better, BA or BSc? You've probably seen the articles: "It's time to admit BAs are harder than BScs", "We need to agree that BScs are worth more than BAs", or "Why are we bickering amongst ourselves when we need to realise the government is absolutely fucking us over?" and those articles are fine but really, who actually cares what your degree is worth? It's not worth £9,000, that's for sure.

So I decided to ask a lecturer what they thought was worth more, in order to settle this debate once and for all, to truly see whether BAs are worth the minimal contact hours and extortionate book bill, to see whether it really matters what degree you study.

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Hi, let's cut to the chase, is it worth students paying £9,000 for a BA?

The question sounds like it wants an economic answer really.

Well, let's have an answer in economic terms and in terms of what the student will get out of the degree, is it worth it?

There is a perception that if you do an Engineering degree or a science degree you're better off in terms of career and the money will be better. However, my experience of knowing people in something like Engineering is that it's not really the case. There aren't tonnes of jobs, you are going to walk straight into a job, then there's the feeling that these jobs will be well paid and they're not. Your generation, what are you? Millennials?

Yeah I think the cut off point is 1998 to be a millennial

Well there's a lot of graduates on the market, and graduates can't get graduate jobs, which must mean there are too many graduates really, and that will obviously mean that salaries are depressed. That goes for BSc as well as BA. How old are you? 21?


There's a whole group now at your age who spend their twenties just finding out about things and who you want to be. A cynic might say you haven't grown up yet, but it means that question "is it worth it?" doesn't apply anymore. If you finish at 21 and go straight into a job then it applies, but now if you finish at 21, you've still got another ten years to find yourself.

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They say your teenage years last until you're 25

That is how it's talked about now, yeah. People used to think you'd go into uni a child and come out a fully formed adult, but now there's a middle period where you're still growing up.

BA or BSc? I have a nephew who's just finished an Engineering degree and it's not that he hasn't been offered jobs, but he can't work out what he wants to do so he's doing a Masters.

The thing is unless you're going for an obviously professional job like a lawyer or a doctor, I don't think there's much in it [the difference between BA and BSc].

I have a friend, she did Biochemistry, and you'd imagine that's the kind of job where you'd go "my God, you're going to make a fortune", and she found it the most boring thing and left that field.

So it depends on the student?

Absolutely. Think of the number of people who do BAs, they do the subject they like to do, like English, and then they can just do a conversion course to Law or something at the end of it. Unless you want to be a doctor or a specialist Engineer then I don't really see any difference anymore.

I let my kids do what they want to do. I was pushed down the BSc route with Engineering because the feeling was that if you were good at sciences then that's where you should go. There is that subtle pressure to not just do the arts, it's as if you're kind of a waster if you do the arts. That just causes problems down the line. Just follow what you're interested in, what's the point in fretting when there's that ten years where you're still deciding what to do. Is that an answer?

A great answer.