Online Bachelor’s in Fine Arts

The "fine arts" can encompass any number of disciplines, from painting and sculpture to graphic design and film. If you're interested in a career that falls under this umbrella, a Bachelor of Fine Arts, or BFA, might be for you. It is the standard degree for students seeking a visual or performing arts education. During an online fine arts bachelor's, you can learn skills and techniques in a number of disciplines while also studying art history and theory. This degree can lead to work in the fine arts world, or continued study at the master's level to further hone your skills.

Why a Bachelor’s Degree?

Through a bachelor’s of fine arts, students have the opportunity to gain both an arts education and develop their skills. Whether they’re first-time freshmen or have earned an associate in fine arts, they can develop a foundation in arts theory and history and focus on a particular area of interest. They can develop their craft under the guidance of a professor and before an audience of their peers. This can provide valuable feedback. A bachelor’s can also open the door to a number of careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many positions in the fine arts field, such as art directors and graphic designers, usually require a bachelor’s degree.

Inside a Fine Arts Bachelor’s Degree Program

Bachelor’s degrees are designed to take about four years to complete. An online fine arts program would generally consist of a mix of both history courses and foundational work in different art practices, such as drawing, painting, and 3D design. Programs typically require a specialization, such as painting, graphic design, photography, or fashion, which would further dictate what types of courses students take. By the program’s end, students will have a portfolio of original work.

The course materials needed for fine arts programs go beyond textbooks. Online students will have to make sure they have access to any requirement materials, from paint to computer programs, as well as a place to make their art. Given the heavy studio nature of fine arts programs, students may only be able to take some courses, such as in theory or art history, online, while attending the rest of their courses in-person.

What’s Next for Fine Arts Bachelor’s Degree Holders?

Students who focused on graphic design may go on to work as a graphic designer for a design firm, magazine, advertising agency, or on a freelance basis, while the painters or photographers may find work as a gallery assistant, art director, or assistant to an artist, helping with his or her studio practice. Prospects are mixed and depend on the strength of the economy. For example, according to the BLS, employment of graphic designers is expected to increase by 1% from 2014 to 2024, while employment of art directors is expected to increase by 2% during that same period.

Like many liberal arts degrees, graduates are also prepared for further study at the graduate level. This could mean a master’s in art history or continued studio art practice through a Master of Fine Arts. Students interested in running a gallery or museum, teaching at a college or university, or continuing to hone their craft would want to pursue higher education.