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Associate Degree in Fine Arts: Program Overview and Information

Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) programs provide basic training in art alongside general education courses. Graduates may pursue entry-level art-related careers or enroll in a bachelor's degree program.

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Essential Information

Through Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) programs, students have the opportunity to study the fundamentals of art and concentrate in their specific medium of interest. Specialization options include studio art, music, graphic design, theatre, illustration, ceramics and sculpture, digital media and photography.

Online fine arts programs are commonly available, but students typically need to purchase supplies and perform artistic projects on their own. Upon graduation, students may be able to apply credit earned in their program to a Bachelor of Fine Arts.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Art
  • Art History
  • Arts Management
  • Ceramics
  • Drawing
  • Metal and Jewelry Art
  • Multimedia Arts
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Weaving and Textile Arts

Associate of Fine Arts

Coursework can vary greatly in relation to a student's chosen area of specialization. For instance, an AFA program that focuses on studio arts includes the creation of both 2- and 3-dimensional art. Students who choose this concentration will be expected to produce ceramics, drawings and sculptures. Regardless of which specialization the student chooses, coursework and assignments completed throughout these programs often result in a portfolio, which students can use when applying to continuing education programs or for employment. Students will also have opportunities to exhibit their artwork. Some courses could include:

  • Color theory
  • Web design
  • Animation
  • 2-D design
  • 3-D design
  • Printmaking
  • Photography
  • Computer applications
  • Music theory
  • Art history

Popular Career Options

Graduates can use their skills to work for a number of businesses, such as publishing companies, advertising agencies and newspapers. Many artists choose to be self-employed. Individuals with the appropriate training can work as many different types of artists, including:

  • Contract artist
  • Photographer
  • Web designer
  • Musician

Continuing Education Information

Students who are interested in advancing their studio arts expertise can pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Those who wish to apply the knowledge learned from an associate's degree program in fine arts to a different art form can pursue a bachelor's degree program in a variety of art fields including theatre and graphic design. Beyond the undergraduate level, Master of Fine Arts programs are also available in a variety of fields, including studio art and creative writing.

Overall, an AFA program can meet the basic educational needs of all aspiring artists, no matter what their area of artistic interest.

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