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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Art and Design

Majors Overview April 9, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in art & design and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Art & Design

Schools offer two major types of bachelor’s degree programs in art and design. While the focus of a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program is on architecture-related topics, a liberal arts base is the dominant feature of a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) program.

Choices of additional areas of concentration are available in both degree programs; a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) may entail career choices in numerous artistic fields or continuing education at higher levels. The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) could entail continuing education leading to a career as an architect.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) Programs in Art and Design

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Art and Design is the most suitable option for students seeking a professional visual arts career. Two or more areas of focus are available in most programs; these include illustration, graphic illustration, printmaking, jewelry and metal smithing, and studio art.

A student’s creative abilities are intended to be cultivated and built on a foundation of courses relating to liberal arts. Students who complete the program may either seek art-related careers or continuing education. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma.


While the choice of major or emphasis is available to students enrolled in most programs, core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Graphic design
•Digital photography
•Two- and three-dimensional drawing
•Color and design
•Art history

Career Choices

Holders of a bachelor’s degree in art and design can choose from various career options depending on the student’s chosen specialization, including general careers in art and design such as the following:

•Multimedia artist
•Product designer
•Art director
•Painter or sculptor

Continuing Education Choices

Certification or licensure are not mandatory for careers in art and design, which also don’t need continuing education. However, schools offer continuing education opportunities as well as seminars pertinent to each career choice. Some students may pursue a graduate degree in their specialty.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Programs in Art and Design

Five areas of focus are available in bachelor’s degree programs in art and design; they include architectural design, building technology, design computation, history and criticism, and visual arts architectural theory. Completion of the program will not suffice the needs of those aspiring to become licensed architects. The program only aims at providing a basis for continuing professional architectural education or other architecture-related careers. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma.


Common coursework in all five areas of focus cover topic areas such as:

•Foundations of architectural theory and history
•Basics of design computing
•Foundations of art history
•Integrations of architectural design
•Foundations of architectural design
•Basics of building technology
•Basics of visual arts

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, much-faster-than-average job growth rates of 17% have been predicted for architects (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). However, the field is expected to be strongly competitive. Finding a job with an architectural firm while still in school would provide graduates with a competitive edge.

Continuing Education Choices

Those who hold a B.S. in Art and Design and seek to become architects would have to pursue further education by enrolling in a National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) – accredited program, whereby they may be able to seek professional licensure that is mandatory in all states. A degree from an NAAB-accredited program is also a requirement in many states. Sixteen professional development units (PDU) will be needed every two years by a student that seeks to renew licensure.

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