Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree Program Options

A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree is designed to lead students to a career in the visual or performing arts. Learn about the many specialization options, curriculum, employment outlook and salary for artists, and master's degrees in the fine arts.

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Essential Information

BFAs offer a variety of specialization options, including dance, theater arts, interior design, filmmaking, animation and photography. Although curriculum varies by program, courses typically include lectures and classroom activities, with the majority of the student's time spent in the studio.

Applicants to a BFA program will need a high school diploma or GED, letters of recommendation, sufficient standardized test scores and an admissions essay. Many BFA programs also require completion of a supplemental admissions application in addition to the one required by the college or university. Additionally, most programs require applicants to show evidence of artistic abilities through an audition or portfolio.


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

Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree

Most programs start with foundational courses that nurture nascent skills, encourage independent thinking, and familiarize students with the tools and concepts of their craft. Many individuals complete their BFA degree in four years of full-time study. However, the degree can take longer to finish, often due to the amount of studio work and projects that need to be completed. Although a BFA is a broad degree encompassing many program options and required courses, all students must complete general education courses in topics such as mathematics and English composition. Popular majors include:

  • Dance
  • Ceramics
  • Acting
  • Animation
  • Graphic design
  • Interior design

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for craft and fine artists are expected to grow by about 2% between 2014 and 2024. In 2015, the median annual salary for fine artists was $46,460 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

For students who want to continue their education, the most obvious path is the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. An MFA is ideal for those who want to take the knowledge of their craft to the next level. The MFA degree can also function as the educational pathway to careers such as artistic director or art instructor at the secondary or postsecondary levels.

A Bachelor of Fine Arts introduces students to the techniques and methods practiced by professional artists and performers. Students take classes on a wide variety of art forms and have the opportunity to specialize in their preferred form of expression.

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