Difference Between BA and BFA

Are you puzzled while choosing between BA and BFA? Here is an article which debunks the differences between BA and BFA to give you a better understanding.

Updated by Sreelekha RK on 1st October 2020

Are you wondering what are the differences between BA and BFA? Because when you just look at it, the only difference you can recognize is that one letter. The BA and BFA both cater to college artists, but provide different emphasis and training. But there is more to it if you keenly research and analyze. 

We do agree that there are many common things, yet it is important to know certain differences between the two bachelor degrees

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) is an undergraduate degree program focusing on arts and sciences. On the contrary, the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is the undergraduate program catering to interests in the field of visual and performing arts. 

When the question arises regarding which is better, the answer is “it depends”. It clearly stands on your perspective and your interests with respect to the subjects and also the career you want to end up in.

Your choice between a BA and a BFA degree will play a major role in achieving your educational and career goals. So here is an article that helps you understand the main difference Between BFA and BA based on different parameters.

What is BA?

A Bachelor of Arts commonly known as BA is a bachelor's degree that is awarded for an undergraduate program student in the arts and sciences. This program generally takes three or four years depending on the country and institution. 

What is BFA?

A Bachelor of Fine Arts commonly known as BFA is an approved undergraduate degree for students in the United States and Canada exploring professional education in the visual or performing arts.

Difference between BA and BFA degrees

We have laid down the most integral differences under the following categories:

1. Degree Standards

It is one of the major differences between them. BA involves education that helps students to explore various areas of their art form and also to determine their interests and talents. 

BA provides knowledge that is considered to be the foundation for master's degree and artistic growth opportunities that gives an excellent technical, conceptual, creative, and artistic foundation to the students.

Whereas BFA is a professional degree that extends study in a particular field with the goal of learning a specific art form and gives various opportunities to the students to discover their own artistic voice and skills.

2. Subjects Concerned

Both the BFA and BA programs are a part of the College of Arts and Sciences. BA offers a  balanced and varied education in subject areas such as Communication, Computer Science, English, Maths, Psychology, and Sociology. 

But when it comes to BFA covers art subjects like Drawing, Painting, Photography, Multimedia, Sculpture, and more.

3. Credits Requirements

  • In a BFA program, 120 total credits are required. General education also covers 34 credits and here 73 major credits are required by emphasis.

  • In a BA program, 120 total credits are required. General education covers 34 credits and 45-48 major credits are required by importance.

4. Duration of the Degree Course

If you are starting as a fresher in the BA program, most of the degrees are intended to be completed in four years but you can even finish the degree within a minimum of two-three years which clearly depends on transfer credits and summer school projects. 

If you have registered into a BFA program, degrees are intended to be finished in four years but you can complete courses over a three to four-year period despite summer school or transfer credits.

5. Course Work Focus

  • In the BFA program, two-thirds of the course work focuses on the conception and study of visual arts, and one-third on liberal arts.

  • In the BA program, the course work focuses two-thirds on liberal arts and one-third focus on visual arts.

6. Curriculum

Both the degrees cover all the general classes such as literature, math, science, and foreign language classes which are considered to be compulsory for all the students. 

But a BFA degree has a more specific curriculum when compared to a BA degree as fine arts is based on exploring multiple artistic areas. 

BA students take elective courses in theater and film and television among others whereas BFA students don't take elective courses and mainly focus on studio classes in one interest field.

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7. Future Career Goals

Students who have pursued a BA program will have various job opportunities that involve artistic skill outside of professionally practicing their major skills, for example, they can work as high school art teachers. Students who have pursued a BFA can seek an acknowledged job in their chosen field of graduate study like obtaining a Master of Fine Arts degree.

Job opportunities for BA graduates

Profession

Median salary


Marketing Manager 

  $61k

Operations Manager 

  $59k


Executive Assistant

  $51k

Account Manager 

  $52k

Marketing Coordinator 

  $42k

Human Resources (HR) Manager 

  $66k

Marketing Director  


   $79k

Job opportunities for BFA graduates

Profession

Median salary

Art Teacher

$60,320

Writer

$71,850.

Fine Artist

$49,380

Art Director

$92,780

Actor

$17.54 (hourly wage)

Conclusion 

  • The Bachelor of Arts is a general degree whereas the Bachelor of Fine Arts is a professional degree.

  • BFA involves more participation in the arts. The BA consists more of studio-oriented classes.

  • BA is considered to be more flexible and BFA to be rigid. 

  • BFA is given for certain performance fields like theatre and music whereas, BA is given for subjects other than performing arts like theoretical science, humanities, and education.

  • The Bachelor of Fine Arts has more course work when compared to the Bachelor of Arts.

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