Individuals with a creative streak and gift for  design are more likely to consider a Bachelor of Arts (BA).  While this can be a good pick, a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) may actually be a better fit. If you’ve been under the impression that these two are the same, we are here to clear things up!

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)  vs Bachelor of Arts (BA)

A typical BA degree includes a comprehensive range of arts which usually includes streams like linguistics and history. In contrast, a BFA course comprises not only the exhaustive arts curriculum but also a hands-on approach to the visual arts. This exposure paired with extensive studio work lets students polish their artistic finesse. Generally, this degree can be completed over a span of three-four years, however time spent in the studio can prolong that deadline.  

What is a Bachelor of Fine Arts?

A bachelor of Arts in India is sometimes considered a rather non-traditional academic degree as compared to other streams like Science, and Commerce. However, what you should remember is that a Fine Arts degree is considered an artist’s professional degree, as BFA courses are more focused for the creative fields. This degree can also be known as a Bachelor of Visual Arts in India or a Bachelor of Creative Arts in the United Kingdom. UK has some great arts schools one of which is University of the Arts London boasting arts-focused degrees.

There are many different art forms that can be studied in a Bachelor of Fine Arts program; stage management, musical theater, acting, animation, dramatic writing and visual effects. Other streams are related to creating pieces, such as sculpture, ceramics, drawing, printmaking, metalworking and illustration. Television and film production are also aspects of the fine arts, as is interior design and technical arts. The study of music can also fall under Fine Arts, adding to the vast number of different art forms. The US is home to a wide variety of colleges catering to the needs of creative -minded students. To name a few Dean College has a dedicated school of Performing Arts, and California College of Music help students launch a solid career in the music industry.

A Side-by-Side Comparison of a BA vs BFA


Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Subjects covered

Includes subjects like Literature, Linguistics and History

Studio based work and a focus on visual arts

Degree Type



Who Should Get a Bachelor of Fine Arts?

If you’ve got the creative flair to take lead in the artistic field, a Fine Arts degree would most certainly suit you. Schools with a good Arts faculty are able to provide better guidance with a more personalised approach, but this also means there is most likely to be a limited quota for that course. So preparation is key! High school results will make your application more impressive and have a better chance of being selected. Oxford University’s Ruskin School of Art requires that students have already studied art a A-level, Higher Level in the IB, Advanced Higher or equivalent. But don’t just stick to academics and grades, an artsy profile with demonstration of your work could equally balance your application towards getting acceptance in some schools.

You would be surprised to know that some of the big screen youth icons trending today have cranked their acting career up a notch with an arts degree. Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor studied acting at School of Visual Arts in New York and the all-time versatile actor Irfan Khan polished his drama skills at National school of Drama in New Delhi. Anushka Sharma is also an arts graduate from Bangalore. If acting isn’t your pic , there is so much more you can do with an arts degree. Similar to large number of arts professionals you need to listen to your calling and discover where  your passion lies, and you could make a decent living out of it.

What Jobs Can I Get With a Bachelor of Fine Arts?

One of the major benefits of this degree is that students can turn something they enjoy and love doing into a career. While acting and stage work are great fields for Fine Arts graduates, there are a variety of other ways you can use your talents as a job. There are multitude of ways you can make a decent living out of the talents you possess.

  • Animator: Do you like to doodle or draw? Animators can take those skills and use them to create the pictures and visuals for video games, movies, books and television. Much of the animation is computer-generated, but artists are still needed to create the initial sketches by hand.
  • Musician: If you enjoy composing pieces and writing out catchy tunes, you can find several opportunities to use your skills to earn a salary. Composers are needed to develop the background music for video games, commercials and stage productions.
  • Curator: Those who do not want to rely on their creative skills to earn a salary can apply to be a museum or gallery curator and still remain deep in the field of art.
  • Teacher: You can do what you love and teach others to do the same if you become an art teacher. This could include fine art fields, like sculpting and painting, or general art for any level.

A plethora of fields come under Bachelor of Fine Arts degree that one can choose to study, which makes it tedious to determine an average pay scale and job prospects of each field of study. According to a US study, Creative directors on an average earn the highest, followed by Art Directors and Graphic Artists and Designers. If you feel pursuing career in these fields is your call, then a Bachelor of Fine Arts can certainly be a perfect match.

For more information on how you can get started, search for a Bachelor of Fine Arts program in your country on SchoolApply.

About the Co-Author: Mustafa Sutarwala, originally from Mumbai, India lives in the UAE and studied marketing in Dubai. He currently works as the creative Ninja for SchoolApply's content team.