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    Hi, student here applying for undergrad next year at my local university. My goals after four years are to pursue postgrad in Astrophysics/Theoretical Physics at Caltech or Oxbridge. For now, I need to find the undergrad course that's going to best prepare me for that route.

    My university offers a strong four-year Physics program, but I can't decide whether I should take the BS or BA route. Physics BS from what I understand is more in-depth/harder, but in turn more respected in serious students. But it also proclaims itself as being driven towards a technical career, while I'm interested in the theoretical side of Physics.

    These are the differences between the two degrees:

    For B.S., eight additional hours of physics are taken which come from a senior-level Lab-type course experimenting in optics, and a QM II course over solid state matter and particle physics.

    B.A. only asks for three hours of addn. Physics electives, while the B.S. asks for six; both offer Astrophysics in their elective selection.

    The B.S. asks for 4 hours of Electrical Engineering, also. The B.A. asks for 10+ hrs of foreign language and culture/gender studies. (Just when I'd nearly forgotten it's a lib arts course)

    The way I see it, the B.S. is a more intensive, rigorous course. Am I right in guessing that it will better prepare me for an Astrophysics degree, or will the difference be negligible? I don't want to spend extra hours on a degree if it won't be worth it.

    Thanks for reading my novel, guys!

    I'm guessing how you describe your universities' system means it's out with the UK. If this is the case then I doubt many of us will be informed enough to help properly. Anyway I'll try; physics degrees in the UK are almost always bachelor of science degrees. Studying physics along side other sciences would be of more help than doing an arts-based subject I would imagine but it's up to you what you would enjoy more.

    The more maths and science you can do the better.

    I'm sure the difference is small and I doubt you will have a great deal more difficultly pursuing a postgrad with a BA in physics over a BS (though I don't know the details of your particular course) but let's state the obvious - extra time in foreign language and culture/gender studies is unlikely actually to help you pursue a physics placement.

    It's up to you. Honestly I doubt it will make that much difference, but if you pick the BA it will help more in terms of personal interest than career.

    If they are both 4 year American degrees then you can probably apply for a PhD with either (providing you get good results).

    The UK system is weird because some unis like Oxford will ask for an MPhys to do a PhD, wheras others like King's College let you go straight from a 3 year BSc to a PhD.

    In your situation it won't matter because an American bachelors in Physics is probably more in depth than the UK equivalent, so basically choose whichever one you like the most.
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