Everyone is familiar with the fine arts: painting, writing poems, reading classic literature, and all of that jazz. But what if we told you there is more to it than that? By pursuing a bachelor of fine arts, you can see for yourself how vast the world of fine arts truly is.
In this guide, you will find out just exactly what a bachelor of fine arts is, what some of the most common programs are, what to expect from the degree, and ultimately, if this is the right degree for you.
What Is a Bachelor of Fine Arts?
A bachelor of fine arts, otherwise known as a BFA, is a degree that focuses on the arts and requires many credit hours of studio workshops. BFA programs are designed to help artists hone in on and perfect their skill, whether it be filmmaking, scriptwriting, poetry, photography, or even sculpting.
Often confused with a bachelor of arts (BA), a BFA is meant specifically to focus on the actual intensive work put into perfecting your art, whereas a BA focuses more on art and its history in a broader context. Basically, a BFA is the degree you choose if you want to make a living as an artist.
Common Bachelor of Fine Arts Programs
There are many different programs available for those interested in earning a BFA. In fact, there is a program available for just about anything you can imagine, including dance, music composition, metalworking, printmaking, etc. However, some of the most common BFA programs include creative writing, film production, and photography.
Creative writing is a degree pursued by novelists and journalists alike. Though many writers end up with more specific degrees, it is not uncommon for writers to pursue a BFA in Creative Writing.
BFA programs encourage writers to focus on their craft and better their writing skills. The most common focuses of BFA in Creative Writing programs include screenwriting, creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, making it a somewhat versatile degree. Not to mention the ease it provides in being accepted into an MFA program.
For those interested in studying the art of filmmaking, a BFA in Film Production is an awesome degree to pursue. While enrolled in one of these programs, students learn about every aspect of the filmmaking process.
These programs are designed to educate students about the art of filmmaking and production, from the history to the culture of the study. As is the case in any BFA program, students will be given ample opportunity to practice and perfect their film production skills.
Photography is a common hobby for people to have, especially with social media apps such as Instagram that require a photo to make a post. Believe it or not, there are still professional photographers out there and earning a BFA in Photography is one of the best ways to become one.
Whether you plan to do wedding and family photography or nature and wildlife photography, pursuing this degree will allow you to choose a focus on work with experienced faculty until your work is the best it can be.
BFA Programs: What to Expect
It can be confusing for college students to enroll in any program that isn’t simply a bachelor’s degree. Knowing what to expect before enrolling in one of these programs is the best way to eliminate that confusion and the anxiety that often accompanies it.
To enroll in a bachelor of fine arts program, students will need to have an associate degree completed before applying. It is generally best to have completed a degree in the area of study you wish to enroll in, but it is common for students to complete transfer degrees instead.
Either way, you will also need to provide a portfolio of your work and sometimes an audition. Portfolios will include samples of your best work, while auditions are typically reserved for those enrolling in singing, dancing, or acting programs.
It is often believed that bachelor of fine art programs cannot be completed except in on-campus formats, but it is becoming more and more common for schools to offer mostly online or hybrid formats to provide their students with flexibility.
Many programs are online and use programs such as Zoom to conduct peer reviews of work, while other programs require online students to attend a certain number of on-campus seminars.
Almost any career in the arts is an option for graduates of BFA programs. Though it may take a higher degree-level and more training to become a famous actor or singer, there are always smaller jobs available until you can make the dream happen.
As for artists who use writing, poetry, painting, sculpting, or any other medium to create, you really don’t even need a degree. Since artists often end up working for themselves, their careers are available to them as soon as they want them to be.
Though the pay will vary greatly depending on if you are working for yourself or employed by a company, the national average pay for BFA holders is around $55,000 per year. It is common for self-employed artists to make much less or much more than this, and the pay can fluctuate greatly. So, if having a set salary is your goal, you should consider a job in a traditional work environment.
Should You Pursue a BFA?
If you intend to make a career for yourself as an artist, pursuing a BFA can be a great way to perfect your craft. College degrees may not be beneficial to every artist, but if you think you could use some advice and mentoring from experienced teachers, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree may be beneficial to you.
A BFA is worth it to some and not so much to others. If the details of the degree in this guide enticed you, you should definitely pursue a BFA. But, if you are still unsure of it, go with your gut as you know yourself best.