While many people believe that they have the capacity to define what art is, it is much harder to pin down than it might seem. The general definition of fine arts says, only, that it is the production of “beautiful objects.”
To add more substance behind this definition, we can look at the three most common branches of art: visual arts, performing arts, literature. While there is a lot of borrowing that occurs between the three disciplines, it is the first two that are often used in referring to a master or bachelor of the arts.
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Types of Art Degrees and Programs
The most common type of art degree you are likely to receive in any university will be either a bachelor of fine arts, or BFA, and a master of fine arts, an MFA. Like the definition of fine arts, the subjects that these degrees over is also quite broad. People who are receiving degrees in this field can be anything from art theorists to ceramics-makers.
Fine Arts Degrees
Being a scholar in the fine arts will often mean encountering both new movements as well as new artists that challenge your ideas, giving you access to a wide array of ideas. This is reflected in the diversity of subjects within fine arts programs.
Here are some ideas of some fields that you can specialize in and can help you narrow down your future college of art:
- Art design
- Drawing and Painting
- Studio arts
- Digital media
Film School Degrees
While specializing in film can come with the same title as other fine arts degrees, depending on what kind of university you attend, film school degrees offer an incredible range of art programs. While some young artists choose to attend art universities dedicated to film and film production, students can also receive degrees in subjects like film theory from liberal arts colleges.
The types of degrees you can expect from film schools cover traditional topics like editing, other technical skills, and screenwriting – or some other, contemporary subjects like game art.
Some programs that might be worth checking out if you’re interested in what film school can offer you are:
- Computer animation
- Film and television production
Art History Degrees
Art history degrees are ideal for people who are interested in curatorial work, museums, galleries or art auctions. While many people often think of art degrees as pertaining to creative fields, it can also mix with subjects such as business, finance and history. If you are interested in how these two worlds interact, specializing in art history – regardless of your artistic inclination – can be for you.
Art history degrees and the courses they offer will differ from program to program. Some degrees structure their degrees around specific movements in art while others allow for more of a focus on one specific period in art history. It is a field as broad as any in the art world, so make sure to identify which moment in art history – baroque, pop art – interests you the most.
Types of Design Subjects
Getting an art and design degree can be different from regular degrees in fine arts because of their highly interdisciplinary nature – coordinating subjects like the visual arts and physical composition. Because the majority of design products are physical, many young artists who go into this field can also open up their own retail or artisanal store.
Here are some of the most common programs you are likely to be awarded if you go to a college of art and design.
While fashion design subjects can seem like a narrow field, composed of only designing and producing apparel – fashion design degrees encompass everything related to the fashion industry. The subjects that it covers can range anywhere from jewellery making and graphic design to illustration and printmaking.
While you are likely to find courses within schools of art that are related to the fashion world, many students interested in this field normally choose to attend a university that is specifically for fashion design. One such example is the London College of Fashion, which offers undergraduate degrees in subjects like design or product and furniture design.
While you may not realize it, the design of everything from hospital rooms to malls have been designed with a specific purpose or goal in mind. The rooms and spaces you encounter on a daily basis are studied in the subject of interior design.
Interior design requires the study of many different subjects, and is closely linked to the field of project management. The Royal College of Art offers courses like 3D design or branding and communication.
Thanks to the explosion of ever-more affordable smartphones, photography is now one of the most accessible fields. The advantageous part about studying photography relative to other arts subjects is that many beginners courses and art programs in high school or at the undergraduate level can sometimes lend cameras and equipment out to their students.
Depending on what type of photography you’d like to pursue, you’ll have to get different equipment. For example, the types of cameras needed for wildlife photography are naturally going to be different from the ones used at an event’s photography company. Falmouth University and the University of Gloucestershire both offer bachelor programs in photography,
Students who study animation can come from a wide range of subjects. Some students who major in film only discover, through the course of their program, about their passion for animation. Regardless of the motivation, students who enrol in animation programs will be taking courses like graphic design, multimedia and more.
If you’re interested in getting a degree in animation, it can be useful to start by checking out De Montfort University or the University of Edinburgh. Majoring in animation is also a great idea if you’d like to study abroad, as many of the world’s greatest universities have reputable programs in animation.
Graphic design is one of those jobs that bleed into many different aspects of our lives. For example, while there is a team of graphic designers working behind the latest video game – they can also be found working for companies and organizations.
This art program is also great for people who enjoy freelancing. Some of the best universities for graphic design are the University of Brighton and Arts University Bournemouth. Graphic design is for people who are seeking to combine their two passions: computer software and visual arts.
Programs in architecture will be slightly different from any of the other art and design degrees. While many people don’t often consider architects to be fine artists, architecture has often either followed or preceded all of the major movements in art. Incidentally, this is also why architecture is so important for art history.
Getting a degree in architecture will mean that, for the majority, you will be awarded with a Bachelor of Science (BS), dependent on what field you decide to specialize in. Some of the topics you will be able to study in this field are Sustainable Design, Metropolitan Design or Industrial Design. If you’re interested in checking out some degree programs in the UK, make sure to check out the University of Sheffield and Newcastle University.
Types of Jobs You Can Get with an Art Degree
It can be difficult to find out what you’d like to do as your career, especially because of the fact that today’s economy is influencing people to have more than one career over the span of their working lifetime. What is always good to be, however, is prepared – be sure to check out what types of jobs and salaries your degree can get you with the right preparation.
The dream for many artists is to be able to live off of their art alone. This can include having their artwork on display for galleries or museums, of simply collaborating with local coffee shops and businesses. If you are interested in selling your own work, running your own gallery and collaborating with other artists, this might be a good field to look into.
One thing to note is that there is a very small percentage of artists that manage to support themselves on their artwork alone. As with any other artist, like performing artist, it is often necessary to have more than one job if you decide to try and live off of your art in order to earn a decent income.
While you may have never heard of the field of arts administration before, you have definitely been at the receiving end of their services. Jobs in this world can be found anywhere from NGOs, galleries to museums. This field doesn’t so much deal with the production of your own art but of facilitating the movement of art from people and places to another.
Some of common careers you are likely to encounter in this field are in art institutions, national libraries, or galleries. Arts administration can combine your love of art and other subjects such as finance, project management and art history.
While it is impossible to go through all the possible careers you can attain with an art and design degree, here are some more jobs you will likely encounter on your job hunt:
- Art teacher
- Film industry
- Performing Arts industry