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Art Undergraduate Degree Program Information by Level

Associate and bachelor's degree programs in art allow students to explore several fine arts disciplines, practice a specialty, and develop fundamental skills in one or more areas of art. Learn about these programs, career information, and higher education options.

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Essential Information

Associate's and bachelor's degree art programs are hands-on and require the completion of various art projects. Students in associate degree programs can expect to gain a background in art history, art theory, painting, drawing, and sculpture.


Associate Degrees in Art

The most common associate degree programs in art are an Associate in Art or Associate in Fine Arts. These 2-year programs are designed to teach the fundamentals of fine art disciplines, including drawing, sculpture, and painting. Artists-in-training might also focus their studies on photography, graphic art, or printmaking. In addition to traditional art courses that teach students art history, theory, and art appreciation, students work closely with instructors as they experiment with art materials and produce original works of art. Applicants to the program need a high school diploma or a GED certificate. Art courses teach students about historical and contemporary artists, art theory, and artistic movements across the globe. Other study areas include:

  • Design principles
  • Art terminology
  • Decorative arts
  • Oriental art
  • Two-dimensional art

Bachelor of Arts in Art

Concentration areas available in a bachelor's program include painting, sculpture, graphic arts, art history, drawing, and ceramics. Those interested in teaching at the elementary or secondary levels can choose an art education option. Students learn artistic studio skills, such as painting techniques, sculptural construction, mold-making, and graphics design. Admissions requirements generally include only a high school diploma or GED, though some schools require a demonstration of skills through a portfolio prior to enrollment or within the first year. Art courses cover a variety of topics, such as color mixing or matching, computer graphics, textiles, and illustration. Other topics often covered in an art program include:

  • Visual organization
  • Proportion
  • Expression
  • Concept development
  • Painting collage

Popular Career Options

Graduates may work as independent artists, illustrators, sculptors, sketch artists, or photographers. With appropriate training, other possible specialties include:

  • Multimedia artist
  • Animator
  • Graphic designer

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), craft and fine art positions were expected to increase 2% for the years 2014 through 2024 (www.bls.gov). In 2015, the BLS reported fine artists made the median annual salary of $46,460.

Continuing Education Information

Artists who want to continue their studies can enroll in graduate studies through a Master of Fine Arts program. Graduate students may study art education, design criticism, art therapy, studio art, and a variety of other options. Many states require teachers to earn a master's degree, and bachelor's degree-holders may earn a Master of Education degree through part-time, evening, or online programs.

Earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in art educates students in sculpting, drawing, painting, photography, and more. These programs have several concentrations available to accommodate a number of student interests.

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