What Exactly Is an Art Bachelor’s Degree? (And Five Jobs To Try)

An art bachelor’s degree may be something that those who appreciate creating works of art like paintings or sculptures are interested in pursuing. An art degree can assist aspiring creatives in developing important professional abilities like communication, analytical thinking, and organization in alongside artistic techniques. Finding out more about this degree might help you determine if getting one is the correct choice for you.

In this post, we define an art bachelor’s degree, compare different types of art degrees, outline the typical courses for this program, and provide a list of common careers for art school grads.

What exactly is an art bachelor’s degree?

An undergraduate degree in the visual arts, such as sculpting, drawing, photography, painting, and graphic design, is known as an art bachelor’s degree. While producing their works of art, students pursuing an art bachelor’s degree gain knowledge of common design ideas and methods. Universities occasionally refer to undergraduate arts programs as visual arts or design programs.

The name “arts” can be deceptive because, in actuality, a BA degree can be earned in a wide variety of areas that are not necessarily considered arts. An art bachelor’s degree can help you become ready for a profession in marketing, business, or healthcare administration, for instance.

Bachelor’s degree in Arts vs. Bachelor of Fine Art

A Bachelor’s degree in Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts are two distinct degrees, despite the way the titles sound. An art degree is a particular course of study or major. An art bachelor’s degree requires students to learn about visual arts and their corresponding techniques. A type of college diploma is a bachelor of arts. Students who enroll in an art bachelor’s degree program in the liberal arts—including sociology, history, philosophy, writing, and foreign languages—get a well-rounded education. To obtain this degree, students can major in any number of subjects, including psychology or English.

Syllabus for an art bachelor’s degree

The academic requirements for this kind of degree vary depending on the institution, the nation, and whether or not you’re studying a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Fine Arts. The following are some possible subject areas for your art bachelor’s degree coursework:

  • Printmaking
  • Design fundamentals
  • Metalworking, including the manufacturing of jewelry
  • Visual arts
  • Painting
  • Critical concepts
  • Photography
  • History of art
  • Graphic design
  • Art instruction
  • Artwork installations
  • Modern artwork

What are the requirements for an art bachelor’s degree?

An art bachelor’s degree normally requires four years of study. By deciding to study part-time, you may extend it. You typically concentrate on doing homework for the initial two years of college in a variety of areas, including social sciences, fine arts, humanities, mathematics, languages, and sciences, aiming to provide you with a broad background in knowledge.

You’ll concentrate mostly on coursework related to your major during your final years of study. When choosing a university, keep in mind that each university will have various lists of majors.

If you are interested in two different subjects, you might be able to major in both, which is known as a double major, or you could add a minor, which is a specialty but requires fewer credits than your major. If you’re interested in getting an art bachelor’s degree, follow these steps:

1. Obtain a GED or high school diploma.

You must have a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) before you may enroll in college. While some universities accept students straight into their programs, others require that their students undergo the standard university admissions procedure. If the school you want to enroll in requires general admissions applications, you might also need to submit samples or meet minimal GPA criteria, among other things.

2. Develop your visual arts skills

It can be easier to get accepted into an art bachelor’s degree course of study in art if you know the many visual art techniques and techniques. It can also be easier for you to succeed once you’ve begun your degree program. Find visual arts lessons online, at your high school, the local community center, or at small companies like a glassblowing or pottery workshop. You could also look for a position or internship in the visual arts. You could, for instance, work as a freelance photographer, an assistant to an art director, or an intern in graphic design.

3. Create a portfolio

Some undergraduate art schools, usually those leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts, request portfolios of applicants’ creative work. In most cases, the program prefers that you provide pictures or reproductions of your artwork rather than the originals. Make an effort to include a variety of your artistic hobbies and skills in your portfolio.

4. Finish assembling your application.

Depending on the school, program, and whether you want to pursue a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts, there are different admission criteria for an art bachelor’s degree. In addition to portfolios, the following items are frequently requested by admissions offices or art professors:

  • Forms requesting basic details like your name, address, and email
  • GED or high school transcript
  • Application essay
  • Artist Statement
  • Recommendation letters
  • Standardized exam results, such as those from the SAT or ACT

Entry requirements for an art bachelor’s degree

By the program and the college, different qualifications are needed for admission to a BA. In general, you need to have a certain GPA and provide a personal statement or statement of purpose, transcripts of your academic records, a CV, and your SAT or ACT results. If you’re traveling from overseas to study in the US, you might need to pass an English language test. 

What abilities are developed during an art bachelor’s degree program?

A BA is intended to assist you in acquiring transferable abilities that you may apply to the workplace once you graduate. These highly valued interpersonal skills, which are necessary for the majority of professional tasks, can be developed thanks to the diverse study topics The following are some crucial abilities you might acquire while pursuing this degree:

  • Giving constructive criticism: Art students often share their opinions on the works of others they collaborate with. Students obtaining art bachelor’s degrees are taught to provide constructive criticism.
  • Critical thinking: Students are taught numerous approaches to consider and assess the artwork of other artists in undergraduate art schools. Students who study art may view art and other settings with a flexible but deliberate mind by being aware of these many ways of perceiving and interpreting.
  • Putting together exhibitions: First-year art students frequently help with or are totally in charge of showing their pieces to the public. As a result, art students get knowledge on how to plan exhibitions and shows, including how to budget, advertise, and visually arrange the pieces in a venue.
  • Visual communication: Art students seeking an art bachelor’s degree discover many ways to express meaning via their works of art. These can assist students in using color, composition, and other design components to communicate a message or theme.
  • Improving creative thinking: Art bachelor programs seek to offer students alternative methods for thinking about their visual creations. Students tackle their work with greater originality when they are aware of numerous facets of the history of art, art concepts, and artistic processes.
  • Communication: Earning a degree requires collaboration with others, exchanging ideas, making presentations, and composing papers. You may apply these crucial communication skills in the workplace.
  • Leadership and project administration: As part of your degree program, you will occasionally lead teams via projects. You will learn to assign tasks, take everyone’s interests into account, and make choices.
  • Problem-solving: A degree improves problem-solving ability while testing theories and designing solutions.
  • Time management: Earning a degree teaches you how to work independently, organize your time, and think independently. You could also need to balance employment and school, which will lead you to important time management techniques.
  • Resilience: Earning a degree teaches you to accept failure, make corrections, and acknowledge that not everything works as planned the first time. You develop perseverance and the ability to effect the needed changes.
  • Self-assurance: Obtaining a degree can help you feel more assured in your subject knowledge, your capacity to collaborate with others, and your ability to handle novel situations.

What careers are available to those with an art bachelor’s degree?

If you have an art bachelor’s degree, check out these positions.

1. Illustrator

National average yearly wage: $45,498

Primary responsibilities: Illustrators produce high-quality images for publications such as magazines, books, technical manuals, movie storyboards, and commercials. Illustrators discuss creative ideas with their clients, take into account aesthetic elements like colors and size, create images either manually or digitally, and guarantee the quality of the final printed images. While illustrators often have a more distinctive visual style than graphic designers, they share many of the same duties and abilities.

2. Photographer

National average yearly wage: $51,946

Primary responsibilities: A photographer uses digital or analog cameras to create professional images. Photographers use methods like lighting and editing to produce artistic photo compositions. Photographers frequently focus on one type of photography, like portraits, landscapes, or images for press magazines. While some photographers operate as freelancers, others are employed by certain businesses, including newspapers or event-planning firms.

3. Art instructor

National average yearly wage: $56,235

Primary responsibilities: Teachers of art develop curricula and instruct their pupils in the principles, practices, and diverse visual mediums of art. Younger students can learn basic art techniques from an art teacher, while more seasoned students can take more difficult and specialized classes like ceramics or photography. The duties of an art teacher to their students include providing them with constructive criticism, grades or progress reports, and encouragement to appreciate the visual arts.

4. A graphic artist

National average yearly wage: $59,073

Primary responsibilities: A graphic designer skillfully mixes text and graphics. For logos, websites, brochures, and other digital or printed products, graphic designers create graphics. Although many graphic designers use computers to create their visual compositions, some prefer to draw by hand. A graphic designer employs photo editing software, tests visuals in various media, decides on the visual layout according to requests from their client or supervisor, and then revises photos in response to comments.

5. Art director

National average yearly wage: $68,827

Primary responsibilities: The visual elements of newspapers, merchandise labels, magazines, fashion designs, video games, movies, and other media are chosen, edited, and managed by art directors. They often oversee a group of illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, and artists. For their team, art directors construct a unified artistic vision. They also establish or oversee timetables and budgets, produce publishing style guides, and assess or provide input on the material.

What can I do with an art bachelor’s degree?

An arts bachelor’s degree can open doors for employment in numerous sectors, including business, science, law, and the arts. Not only are college graduates paid much more than non-graduates, yet they are also more probable to find jobs. Despite the epidemic, the average beginning pay for an art bachelor’s degree holder was $55,260 in 2020, an increase over the prior years.

Obtaining a degree often displays the appropriate amount of education and acquisition of transferable abilities that many businesses are seeking. Job chances will frequently depend on your major.

Graduates are more inclined to accept managerial responsibilities, seek graduate employment, and participate in internships designed to advance individuals to more senior posts. For instance, Walmart is actively accelerating recent graduates into lucrative executive positions.

Some majors could result in greater salaries. One of the highest-paid professions is technology. The average income for a post-graduate degree in information technology for the class of 2020 is $85,766.

Are there specialties available for art bachelor’s degrees?

Some undergraduate art programs permit students to focus on a particular artistic medium. Students who attend institutions with specialization programs often select a branch of visual art to concentrate on, like painting, glass art, metalsmithing, printing, or installations. You can eventually pursue a more specific visual arts degree if you obtain this degree. Students can frequently focus on specific art media in master’s and doctoral degrees in the visual arts.

Pursuing an art bachelor’s degree requires a combination of artistic skills, technical abilities, and critical thinking. Here are some essential skills needed to succeed in an art degree program:

Artistic Talent and Creativity

Having a natural artistic talent and a strong creative drive is fundamental for pursuing an art bachelor’s degree. This includes skills such as drawing, painting, sculpting, or any other form of artistic expression. Cultivating creativity allows you to generate original ideas, explore new concepts, and develop a unique artistic style.

Visual Perception and Observation

A keen sense of visual perception and observation is crucial for artists. This skill involves the ability to analyze and interpret visual elements, such as composition, color, form, and texture. Developing a keen eye for detail and the capacity to see beyond the surface is essential for creating impactful and visually compelling artwork.

Technical Proficiency

Art students should acquire technical proficiency in various art mediums and tools. This includes understanding and practicing techniques such as drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, digital art, or photography. Mastering the technical aspects of your chosen medium enables you to effectively execute your artistic vision and communicate your ideas.

Critical Thinking and Conceptualization

Artists need to develop critical thinking skills to analyze, interpret, and conceptualize their artworks. This involves the ability to think critically about your work, art history, cultural context, and the ideas you want to convey through your art. Developing the capacity to articulate your artistic intentions and engage in meaningful artistic discourse is essential for artistic growth and expression.

Research and Art Historical Knowledge

A solid foundation in art history and art theory is vital for art students. Understanding different art movements, artists, and historical contexts helps you place your work within a broader artistic and cultural framework. Research skills are also important for exploring new ideas, finding inspiration, and deepening your understanding of art history, contemporary art, and relevant cultural influences.

Communication and Presentation

Artists need effective communication and presentation skills to articulate their artistic concepts and engage with viewers, peers, and instructors. This includes the ability to discuss your work, provide constructive feedback, and articulate the artistic choices you have made. Additionally, learning how to professionally present your artwork in a gallery or exhibition setting enhances your ability to connect with an audience.

Time Management and Discipline

Art bachelor’s degree programs often involve numerous projects, assignments, and deadlines. Developing strong time management and discipline skills is crucial for meeting project requirements and maximizing your creative potential. Effective time management allows you to balance studio work, research, and other academic responsibilities, ensuring a productive and successful artistic journey.

While possessing these skills is beneficial, it’s important to remember that art education is a continuous learning process. Art bachelor’s degree programs provide opportunities to refine and further develop these skills, and they also introduce students to new techniques, ideas, and artistic approaches. Aspiring art students should be open to learning, experimentation, and embracing the challenges that come with pursuing a degree in art.

What opportunities are there to pursue further education?

Many graduates who have earned a Bachelor of Arts go on to earn an MA or MS in the field of their choice or a closely related discipline to further their knowledge of the topic. This may present chances for more specialized positions requiring a master’s degree.

A graduate degree or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) is another choice for continuing your education if you want to work in business or pursue a profession in medicine, law, teaching, the arts, or architecture.


Obtaining an art bachelor’s degree is a transformative journey that equips individuals with a wide range of skills, knowledge, and perspectives. It goes beyond the development of artistic techniques and creative expression, fostering critical thinking, research abilities, and effective communication. Through intensive studio work, art history studies, and engagement with peers and mentors, students refine their artistic vision and gain a deeper understanding of their place within the broader artistic landscape.

An art bachelor’s degree not only prepares individuals for careers in various artistic fields but also nurtures their capacity for self-expression, cultural engagement, and lifelong artistic growth. It is a testament to their dedication, creativity, and the endless possibilities that unfold when passion and education intertwine in pursuing artistic excellence.

Frequently Asked Questions about art bachelor’s Degrees

  • What career opportunities can I pursue with an art bachelor’s degree?

A Bachelor’s Degree in Art opens up a diverse range of career opportunities. Graduates can pursue careers as professional artists, illustrators, graphic designers, art directors, art educators, museum curators, gallery managers, and art therapists, or pursue further studies in art-related fields like art history, art administration, or arts management.

  • What are the advantages of earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Art?

Earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Art provides numerous advantages. It offers a structured curriculum that enhances artistic skills, provides exposure to art history and theory, encourages critical thinking and conceptual development, fosters collaboration and networking opportunities, and often provides access to professional studio spaces, resources, and exhibitions. Additionally, a degree can lend credibility and open doors to job opportunities that require a higher level of education.

  • How long does it take to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Art?

The duration of a Bachelor’s Degree in Art typically ranges from three to four years of full-time study, depending on the program and country. Some universities may offer accelerated or extended programs. It’s important to check the specific requirements of the educational institution you plan to attend to determine the expected duration of the program.

  • Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Art necessary to pursue a career in the arts?

While a Bachelor’s Degree in Art is not a strict requirement for pursuing a career in the arts, it offers several advantages. It provides a structured learning environment, exposes students to a diverse range of artistic disciplines, offers mentorship opportunities, and allows for critical feedback and growth. Moreover, certain art-related careers, such as teaching positions or positions in art institutions, may require a minimum level of education.

  • Can I specialize in a specific area of art during my Bachelor’s Degree program?

Yes, many Bachelor’s Degree in Art programs offer opportunities for specialization or concentration in specific areas of art. Common specializations include painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, illustration, graphic design, ceramics, and new media. Specializing allows students to develop their skills and expertise in a specific medium or discipline, preparing them for focused career paths within the art industry.

It’s important to note that specific answers to these questions may vary depending on the educational institution, program structure, and regional context. Prospective students should research and consult with academic advisors to obtain accurate and detailed information about the specific Bachelor’s Degree in Art programs they are considering.