What is an Applied Science Degree?

If you’re the type of person that prefers a technical, hands-on type of career, pursuing an applied science degree might be the way to go. The curriculum for an applied science degree differs from other science degrees in that the focus is on the practical side of science versus the theoretical side. Therefore, many of the classes are hands-on experiences rather than theoretical exercises.

Applied science can include disciplines in healthcare, engineering, technology or mathematics. The most common courses in applied science are: botany, ecology, environmental science, genetics, biochemistry, and biotechnology, which open up areas for further study in biology, organisms, cells and DNA, taxonomy, data and analysis, and lab work.

Some popular applied science careers include: blueprint drafter, medical technician, medical sonographer, dental hygienist, veterinary technician, computer repair technician, physical therapist assistant, construction foreman, systems engineer, and radiologic technologist.

Program Options

Applied science degrees are offered at colleges and universities throughout the US and Canada at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and even doctoral levels. The programs will vary in each school, as will the credits necessary to complete the degree.

Associate Degree in Applied Science - Two Year Duration
Associate in applied science degree programs offer both technical and practical teachings in a variety of fields, and are designed to prepare students for entry-level careers. This type of degree is for someone who prefers to get into a specialized type of job as soon as possible.

Examples of courses in an applied science degree program are: introductory information systems, digital data communications, physics and technology, mechanical and electrical equipment, medical terminology, and hospital maintenance and sanitation.

There are many associate degrees available in applied science. Examples are: aviation support; business administration (in either accounting, entrepreneurship, management, or marketing; computer studies; construction and facilities support; cosmetology; criminal justice; dental hygiene, drafting, electronic studies, electrical-mechanical systems and maintenance, emergency management; fire protection technology; graphic design; web design; health studies; health information management; mechanics and maintenance; medical assisting; multidisciplinary technology; nursing; occupational safety and health technology; petrochemical process technology; and welding.

Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science - Four Year Duration
Those who have an associate degree in an applied science are prepared to immediately enter the workforce. However, some students may wish to continue their education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree (a bachelor’s degree is necessary if seeking a career in management).

Each university or college has its own list of majors associated with a bachelor of applied science degree. Before taking classes that apply directly to your technical field, however, you will need to complete prerequisite courses in science, math, or other coursework that applies to your specific major. Once these are complete, you can take classes in your field of choice.

Students who earn a bachelor of applied science may pursue careers in project management, supervisory management, business management, economic analysis, sales, and health care administration (just to name a few).

Students can specialize in many fields, such as:

  • Applied Physics
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Architectural Science
  • General Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Biological Engineering
  • Biochemical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Engineering
  • Communication
  • Applied Physics & Electronic Engineering
  • Criminal Justice
  • Criminology
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Engineering Science and Mechanics
  • Engineering Management
  • Engineering Science
  • Geological Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Information Management
  • Integrated Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Management of Technology
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechatronics Engineering
  • Mining Engineering
  • Nanotechnology Engineering
  • Forensics
  • Astrophysics
  • Software Engineering
  • Sound Engineering
  • Systems Engineering
  • Business Management
  • Social Science
  • Business informatics

Master’s Degree in Applied Science - Two Year Duration
While the master’s in applied science (MAS/MASc) designation is not that popular in the United States (it is more common in Canada, Australia, and other Commonwealth nations), there are several American schools that offer MAS degrees in very specialized areas of study.

The main focus of an applied science master’s program is understanding what the practical applications are of scientific research and theories. The following list shows some of the more common areas of focus for a master’s in applied science:

  • Master of Science in Applied Analytics
  • Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Analysis
  • Master of Science in Applied Biological Sciences
  • Master of Science in Applied Communication
  • Master of Science in Applied Computing
  • Master of Science in Applied Economics
  • Master of Science in Applied Food Science
  • Master of Science in Applied Mathematics
  • Master of Science in Applied Physics
  • Master of Science in Applied Statistics
  • Master of Science in Applied Urban Science and Informatics

Doctoral Degree in Applied Science - Three to Five Year Duration
Doctorate in applied science (DAS) programs are quite uncommon, but they do exist. These programs typically focus on science and engineering fields, and involve extensive research. This degree ends with a final exam and with the completion and defense of an original dissertation. Some common applied science topics include: database design, computer networking, probability & statistics, linear dynamic systems, and multimedia technology. A doctoral degree in applied science can help graduates obtain an advanced position at a technology-oriented job or go into academics and research.

Degrees Similar to Applied Science

Biology is an exciting field. It is one that is intertwined with other disciplines that study life and living organisms, such as anatomy, pathology, ecology, chemistry, genetics, and botany.

Biology degrees are extremely diverse – ‘biology’ or ‘biological sciences’ covers a wide array of subjects. Course options available for those interested in pursuing studies in biology are extremely wide, and can range from anatomy to ecology and microbiology to zoology. Degrees are offered at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

Public Health
There are many areas in which public health graduates can work. Some of those settings are with the public, in education, in private settings, and in the non-profit sector. Careers include: health informatics specialists, health care administrators, epidemiologists/research analysts, public health project managers, and health and safety engineers. Degrees are offered at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels. For most careers in this field, a master’s degree is preferred.

Engineering is a diverse subject, and has many different disciplines, such as chemical, civil, mechanical, aeronautical, marine, electrical, and petroleum (just to name a few). Engineers are naturally curious, critical, and creative. Because of that, they choose this line of work to make people’s daily personal and professional lives more comfortable, safer, and easier to navigate. Degrees are offered at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

Skills You’ll Learn

Applied science graduates learn many transferrable skills, such as:

  • Problem-solving
  • Critical analysis and observation
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Project management
  • Ability to look at problems from various perspectives
  • Ability to collect, analyze, and interpret data
  • Ability to conduct research
  • Information gathering
  • Organization
  • Ability to design experiments

What Can You Do with an Applied Science Degree?

Career Paths

Learn about your career prospects after graduation.

Read about Career Paths