Art & Design Bachelors Degree Program Information

Oct 13, 2019

There are two types of bachelor's degree programs in art and design and both prepare students for art-based careers. A Bachelor of Fine Arts program offers a liberal arts base, while a Bachelor of Science program focuses on architecture-related topics.

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Essential Information

Both B.F.A. (Bachelor of Fine Arts) and B.S. (Bachelor of Science) programs in art and design offer additional areas of concentration for students to choose from. For example, many B.F.A. programs offer two or more areas of focus that can include studio art, jewelry and metalsmithing, printmaking, graphic design, and illustration. On the other hand, B.S. programs offer areas of focus in architectural theory, design computation, and more.

In order to apply to these programs, students are required only to have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent qualification. These programs generally take four years to complete. Students earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts can go into a number of different artistic fields or move into higher levels of education, while students earning a Bachelor of Science can pursue further education toward becoming an architect.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Art and Design

Students that are interested in a professional visual arts career may find that a Bachelor of Fine Arts program in Art and Design aligns with their goals. Programs are intended to cultivate a student's creative abilities and are built on a foundation of liberal arts courses.

Although most programs encourage students to choose a minor, or emphasis, and some schools require it, there are common core courses required for every program. These often include:

  • Color and design
  • Digital photography
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture and ceramics
  • Two- and three-dimensional drawing

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Art and Design

Graduates of the B.S. program are not eligible to become licensed architects, but the program is intended as a foundation for further professional architectural studies or for other architecture-related job opportunities. Core courses required include:

  • Foundations and integrations of architectural design
  • Basics of building technology
  • Basics of design computing
  • Basics of visual arts
  • Foundations of architectural history and theory
  • Foundations of art history

Continuing Education

Careers in art and design do not require licensure or certification, nor is continuing education a requirement. However, there are opportunities to take further classes or attend seminars relative to each career. Some students choose to earn a graduate degree in their specialty.

To actually become an architect, graduates with a B.S. in Art and Design would need to continue their education in a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). This would make it possible to pursue a professional license, which is required in every state. Many states require students to have their degree from an NAAB-accredited program. Biennial license renewal requires 16 professional development units (PDU).

Popular Careers

Career opportunities for those with a bachelor's degree in art and design are varied. A student's chosen specialization will determine many of the career options available. Some general careers in art and design include:

  • Art director
  • Illustrator
  • Multimedia artist
  • Painter or sculptor
  • Product designer

Employment Outlook

Job opportunities for architects are anticipated to grow by 8% from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( However, competition for new architects entering the field is anticipated to be strong. To gain an edge over the competition, it is recommended that students find a job with an architectural firm while still in school.

A bachelor's degree program in art and design gives students the foundational knowledge and skills to pursue professional careers in the world of visual arts. The B.F.A. program focuses on artistic techniques to maximize a student's creative potential, while the B.S. program is more technically-driven and may suit students looking to pursue jobs in architecture and related fields.

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