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The first university to admit a student to the degree of Bachelor of Science was the University of London in 1860. In the United States, the Lawrence Scientific School first conferred the degree in 1851, followed by the University of Michigan in 1855. Nathaniel Shaler, who was Harvard's Dean of Sciences, wrote in a private letter that "the degree of Bachelor of Science came to be introduced into our system through the influence of Louis Agassiz, who had much to do in shaping the plans of this School.": 48
Whether Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degrees are awarded in particular subjects varies between universities. For example, an economics student may graduate as a Bachelor of Arts in one university but as a Bachelor of Science in another, and occasionally, both options are offered. Some universities follow the Oxford and Cambridge tradition that even graduates in mathematics and the sciences become Bachelors of Arts, while other institutions offer only the Bachelor of Science degree, even in non-science fields.
At universities that offer both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in the same discipline, the Bachelor of Science degree is usually more focused on that particular discipline and is targeted toward students intending to pursue graduate school or a profession in that discipline.
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