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BA, MA, MBA: What’s the difference?

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Published: 26 March 2020

University of Sunderland in London staff listening to a lecture by external speaker Nai Kalema

When you apply for a degree at the University of Sunderland in London, you have a few options to choose from. Should you do a BA or a BSc? What’s the difference between an MA in Business and an MBA? We’ve broken down what each degree type means so you can apply with confidence.

Bachelor’s degrees

A Bachelors’s degree (or undergraduate) is the most common degree taken after finishing school. It usually takes three years to finish and covers the most important parts of the subject. 

At the University we offer a few types of Bachelor’s degree including:

BA (or Bachelor of Arts)

This type of degree is normally for non-scientific subjects. You can study Accounting and Finance, Business Management and Events Management among others.

BSc (or Bachelor of Science) 

This degree is for science-based subjects. We have BSc courses in International Tourism and Hospitality Management.

Master’s degrees

A Master’s degree (or postgraduate) is the next level up from a Bachelor’s degree. They take one year to finish and cover a subject in more detail than an undergraduate course.

At the University, we specialise in the MSc degree (or Master of Science courses). Like the BSc, MSc degrees focus on the science side of a subject.

We have MSc courses in Engineering, Nursing and Public Health, Oil and Gas Management and much more.

Master of Business Administration MBA

Another type of postgraduate degree is an MBA, or Master of Business Administration. This one-year degree is widely considered the most prestigious business degree in the world. It’s aimed at people with a few years of business experience to develop the skills top employers are looking for. 

At the University, you can choose the main MBA course, or focus on the MBA’s in Human Resource Management, Finance, Marketing and more.


A Top-Up is another kind of Bachelor degree. You can do a Top-Up BA or BSc, both of which take just one year to complete. It’s the equivalent of the last year of an undergraduate degree and is aimed at bringing your foundation degree or Higher National Diploma (or HND) up to a full honour’s degree.

You can Top-Up your degree with us in Accounting and Financial Management, International Tourism and Hospitality Management, Nursing and more.

Foundation degrees

A Foundation Degree is a way of starting your academic journey in an area you might not have the knowledge or experience needed to study for Bachelor’s degree. You will get a basic understanding of the key concepts of a course, with the aim of moving on to a BA or BSc afterwards. 

The University has foundation degrees in Health and Social Care and Business and Management. We also offer Integrated Foundation degrees, which combines the foundation course with an undergraduate degree making a four-year course. You can do an Integrated Foundation degree in Business and Management, International Tourism and Hospitality Management and Events Management.

Wherever you are in your academic journey, there is a degree for you. Take a look through our full course list and get in touch if you want more information. Find out more by following #WeAreSunLon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.