Choosing a Studio Art Degree: BA vs. BFA

The BFA degree is for students who are serious about pursuing careers as artists or art professionals. The BFA in Studio Art is a pre-professional degree leading to the MFA or directly to a career in the visual arts. While studio intensive, the BFA at UNCG is also a liberal arts degree with a solid grounding in the humanities and sciences.

The BA in Studio Art is a flexible degree, which combines a strong liberal arts education with studio practice. In addition, a BA is ideal for those students interested in a range of post-graduate fields and art related professional careers.

Depending upon the chosen secondary field of study, both the BA and the BFA studio degrees allow some flexibility for students to complete a double-major.

How do I choose which degree is right for me? These questions can help:

What do I want to do after I graduate?

Students who wish to do the following should pursue a BFA:

  • Attend graduate school in art (earn an MFA)
  • Work professionally as an artist
  • Teach art at a college or university— Students interested in teaching art at a college or university must complete an MFA to be qualified for such positions.
  • Teach art in K-12 schools (requires teaching licensure) –a BFA in Art Education leads to K-12 Art teaching licensure in NC
  • Work in a variety of arts-related professional fields such as commercial arts, arts entrepreneurship and community development, arts organizations or non-profits, like museums and galleries.

Students who wish to do the following should pursue a BA:

  • Attend graduate school in a non-studio art field
  • Engage a broader selection of fields
  • Combine the visual arts with other career aspirations

I’m interested in working in a commercial setting, do I still need a BFA?

Yes, in most cases. The BFA prepares you to be a professional artist, which also means in commercial settings.

Students with BFA degrees are prepared to do any of the following professional, commercial art careers, depending upon their area of degree concentration (Photography, New Media and Design, Sculpture, Painting and Drawing and Printmaking):

Photographer, metal fabricator, foundry owner/operator, sculpture technician, mold maker or sculpture construction, muralist, art supply specialist, art mover, web designer, graphic designer, motion graphics designer, printer, independent art instructor, gallery owner, museum or gallery preparator, videographer

I’m interested in focusing on more than one area of studio art, which degree should I choose?

The BA will enable you to focus in more than one area, however, within many of the BFA degrees you have enough art electives where you can create a secondary area.

Remember, the most important, overriding decision in terms of choosing a degree is what you want to do when you graduate. If you wish to go to graduate school in art and/or work professionally as an artist or art teacher, you should choose the BFA.