The “fine arts” can encompass any number of disciplines, from painting and sculpture to graphic design and film. If you’re interested in a career that falls under this umbrella, a Bachelor of Fine Arts, or BFA, might be for you. It is the standard degree for students seeking a visual or performing arts education. During an online fine arts bachelors degree, you can learn skills and techniques in a number of disciplines while also studying art history and theory. This degree can lead to work in the fine arts world, or continued study at the master’s degree level to further hone your skills.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
Through a bachelor’s of fine arts, students have the opportunity to gain both an arts education and develop their skills. Whether they’re first-time freshmen or have earned an associate degree in fine arts, they can develop a foundation in arts theory and history as well as focus on a particular area of interest. They can develop their craft under the guidance of a professor, as well as before an audience of their peers. This can provide valuable feedback. A bachelor’s degree can also open the door to a number of careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many positions in the fine arts field, such as art directors and graphic designers, usually require a bachelor’s degree.
Getting Into a Bachelor’s Degree Program
Application requirements will vary from school to school. Though generally, this is what you may be expected to have:
- High school diploma or its equivalent
- GRE or ACT score
- Sample of work
- Letters of recommendation
Inside a Fine Arts Bachelor’s Degree Program
Bachelor’s degrees are designed to take about four years to complete. An online fine arts degree program would generally consist of a mix of both history courses and foundations in different art practices, such as drawing, painting, and 3-D design. Programs typically require a specialization, such as painting, graphic design, photography, or fashion, which would further dictate what types of courses students take. By the program’s end, students will have a portfolio of original work.
The course materials needed for fine arts programs go beyond textbooks. Online students will have to make sure they have access to any requirement materials, from paint to computer programs, as well as a place to make their art. Given the heavy studio nature of fine arts programs, students may only be able to take some courses, such as in theory or art history, online, while attending the rest in-person.
What’s Next for Fine Arts Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
What life looks like after graduation will depending greatly on the students’ area of interest and specialization. Those who focused on graphic design may go on to work as a graphic designer for a design firm, magazine, advertising agency, or freelance, while the painters or photographers may find work at as a gallery assistant, art director, or assistant to an artist, helping with his or her studio practice. Prospects are mixed and depend on the strength of the economy. For example, according to the BLS, employment of graphic designers is expected to increase by 13% from 2010 to 2020, while employment of art directors is expected to increase by 9% during that same time period.
Like many liberal artsˇdegrees, graduates are also prepared for further study at the graduate level. This could mean a master’s degree in art history, or continued studio art practice through a Master of Fine Arts. Students interested in running a gallery or museum, teaching at a college or university, or continuing to hone their craft would want to pursue higher education.