Studio Art Education and Program Information

Oct 24, 2019

Studio art involves the making of visual art pieces and studies in the field focus on techniques and processes of creating art, as opposed to emphasizing art history or interpretation. Most studio art programs offer bachelor's or master's degrees.

Essential Information

The studio arts major is generally broad in order to encompass a wide range of mediums. Some schools prefer that you select a focus, such as ceramics or paint. Degree programs are usually found in fine arts or sometimes in the more generalized arts and sciences departments.

Programs in studio art are available at both the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Many bachelor's programs include the completion of a portfolio as a graduation requirement. All master's degree programs require the submission of this kind of portfolio and many require students to have a bachelor's degree in studio art or a comparable field. Master's programs often culminate in the preparation of a professional grade portfolio or project.

Bachelor of Fine Art in Studio Arts

The bachelor's degree program is designed to introduce you to an array of artistic directions for your particular skills. While some schools require interested applicants to choose a specific discipline, others encourage artists to step outside their usual medium and explore other options. In almost all programs, basic skills are taught in mediums such as drawing, sculpting and photography.

At the bachelor's level, most classes are general in nature to give students a firm foundation and teach refinement techniques. Courses cover subjects such as:

  • Early elements of art
  • Digital photojournalism arts
  • Art history
  • Designing in 3D

Master of Fine Art in Studio Arts

The master's degree program builds on the foundations of the bachelor's program to refine and broaden artistic abilities and critical thinking skills; some still require you to choose a focus.

Classes focus on your particular emphasis or concentration. Other areas covered might include:

  • International contemporary art
  • Project in ceramics or graphics
  • Greek art history
  • Art theory and criticism

Popular Careers

Most artists work on a freelance basis. Some of the more promising career choices once you've earned a bachelor's degree in studio arts include:

  • Advertising design artist
  • Publishing house artist or illustrator
  • Motion picture artist
  • Art teacher

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), competition for fine art related jobs is expected to be fierce ( The BLS predicted an employment increase of 1% for craft and fine artists during the 2018-2028 decade, which is slow compared to the national average. As of May 2018, the BLS reported that the median wages for fine artists were $49,380 annually.

The study of studio art places significantly more emphasis of the act and technique of creating fine art than on the study of art history or particular movements or artists. Studio art graduates can compete for positions in art education or production, or advertising design, although a studio art degree is not required for many artistic vocations.

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