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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degree Program

Majors Overview April 16, 2015

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degrees are professional degrees that help students get an education in performing or visual arts. Various majors are available in B.F.A. programs, such as interior design, photography, filmmaking, and dance.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Degree Programs

Students enrolled in Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree programs are prepared for entry-level careers as professional artists in numerous fields, including theater, visual art, or music. Applicants to most programs are required to participate in an audition or display samples of their work.

Coursework varies by major. While classroom activities and lectures are a component part of the curriculum, students spend most of their time in the studio. General education courses are also completed by students in topic areas such as English composition and mathematics.

Basic foundation courses mark the start of most programs that aim at making students familiar with the concepts and tools of their craft, nurturing nascent skills, and encouraging independent thinking. Their B.F.A. degree is completed by many students within four years of full-time study. However, they could often take longer to complete the degree owing to the amount of project work and studio work they need to complete.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require the submission of an admissions essay, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and high school transcripts. Application for the college or university requires a separate admissions application to many B.F.A. programs.

Evidence of their artistic abilities is also required to be demonstrated by applicants. Applicants to a visual arts program may be required to submit a portfolio. Applicants to a dance or acting program may have to participate in an audition.


A broad B.F.A. degree program encompasses many degree program options, with each having its associated curriculum. Students may choose from popular majors such as:

•Graphic design
•Theater arts
•Interior design

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, job growth rate of three percent have been predicted for craft and fine artists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, fine artists brought home an average annual wage of $44,380 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Students seeking continuing education commonly pursue the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree that is devised to help students enhance their knowledge of the craft. Armed with an M.F.A. degree, students may also seek careers in positions such as an art instructor at the postsecondary or secondary levels or as an artistic director.

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