Study fine arts abroad

5 things you need to know about studying Fine Arts abroad

Last Updated on August 25, 2021 by iSchoolConnect

Bored of tedious and lengthy subjects like Chemistry, Physics, and Math? Reckon you have more creative bones in your body than analytical ones? If that is the case, Fine Arts have got you covered. Learn about what the world of education has in store for the right-brained humans!

If you are reading this, you are most likely passionate about having a future in Fine Arts. This article will review some of the best Fine Arts courses and highlight the career options that come with them. Read ahead to know all the programs offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees pertaining to Fine Arts. 

What is Fine Arts?

Not to be confused with Liberal Arts, Fine Arts is a creative course that essentially converts your imagination into something tangible. It is a channel for people with a passion for activities like singing, dancing, writing, acting, sketching, etc., to create careers out of these passions. 

If you’re interested in honing your skills in a specific art or craft, whether it is Copywriting or Industrial Design, almost every university in the world offers a course for it

Most of these courses are very specific with regards to requirements and expect students to have a natural bend towards visual or performing arts. They also expect students to have established skills in the areas that they wish to pursue a career in.

There is a myriad of courses available to choose from for pursuing a Fine Arts degree.

Now that you have a brief idea about the Fine Arts program, let’s look at the 5 important things you should know about it. 

1. Types of Fine Arts courses

The Fine Arts are sub-divided into Visual, Creative, and Performing Arts. There are various practical subjects ranging from Painting, Illustration, and Photography to Art History, Dance Sculpture, Film-making, and Theatre. 

Some of the major courses available under the Fine Arts paradigm are-

  • Animation and Motion Graphics
  • Sculpture
  • Dance
  • Theatre, Musical Theatre
  • Film and Television
  • Creative Writing
  • Sound Production
  • Film Production
  • Painting
  • Design (Illustration, Visual Design, Industrial Design, Graphic Design, etc.)
  • Photography
  • Printmaking
  • Art History and Art Appreciation
  • Game Design
  • Composition Painting
  • Carving (Stone and Wood)
  • Textile Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Advertising
  • Music

As you may have guessed by now, these are specific courses, and you may get into these only after completing the general education courses prescribed by your Fine Arts college.

From France to Italy, USA to UK, Japan to Singapore, academic institutions offer various Diplomas, Undergraduate (Bachelor of Fine Arts), or Postgraduate (Master of Fine Arts) programs in Fine Arts.

2. What exactly is a BFA and an MFA?

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is an Undergraduate degree for anyone interested in Fine Arts. You can start your BFA after completing your High School Diploma. This degree is also categorized as a Bachelor of Creative Arts (BCA) or a Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA) in some countries. 

Remember that a Bachelor of Fine Arts is different from a Bachelor of Arts (BA). BFA focuses on the fine arts, whereas BA focuses more on the liberal arts. 

BFA and MFA are creative course degrees and are entirely different from BA or MA degrees.

A BFA degree usually takes 3-4 years to complete. The first two years of a BFA deal with the basics, where the fundamentals of art such as drawing, painting, or sculpting, are the main focus. 

By the third year, you will be selecting a ‘concentration,’ such as ceramics for sculpting, acrylic/glass for painting, and so on. 

Also, around this time, you would most likely be preparing for your specialized career by completing internships. We strongly recommend you to take up internships as these provide valuable experience to showcase in your resume. After graduation, you can choose from various career options or go for a Post Graduate program. 

What about MFA? 

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is a Postgraduate degree for anyone interested in Fine Arts. You can start your MFA immediately after your BFA or after gaining some work experience. As long as you have a bachelor’s degree, you don’t need a BFA to pursue MFA. 

An MFA allows you to study fine arts in far more depth than a BFA. Most MFA programs require specialized work in complex areas such as visual arts, creative writing, filmmaking, or the performing arts like theatre or dance. 

As with the BFA and BA difference, an MFA degree also differs from an MA degree. MFA degree is centered around your practice in a particular field, whereas an MA degree demonstrates that you have done a scholarly or critical study of a certain field. 

Also, bear in mind that the MFA is a terminal degree. That means it is the highest degree you can achieve in this program. Although some Universities have implemented Ph.D. programs in the fields of visual arts theatre, the MFA remains widely regarded as the final step.

3. Eligibility for admission to a Fine Arts program

One of the most important things to remember is that although it is readily available as a degree to pursue, Fine Arts is one of the most competitive programs in any university. Understandably, the requirements for a BFA and an MFA differ. 

Go through the eligibility criteria for BFA and MFA carefully to simplify your application process.

Let’s go through these individually.

Eligibility criteria for a BFA

  • A minimum aggregate of 60% marks (or an equivalent of first division achievement) must be obtained in 10+2 from a recognized and accredited board.
  • Portfolio showcasing a collection of your best work, thus highlighting your skills.
  • Some universities may require a passing score in SAT, or TOEFL, or IELTS, or a combination of these three examination scores. Make sure clear the required cut-off by the universities to get into your dream Fine Arts course and university.
  • Other specific requirements by the university you have applied to. 

Eligibility criteria for an MFA

  • Official transcripts of previous educational qualifications.
  • A Bachelor’s degree in any field (preferably BFA).
  • A Statement of Purpose (SoP) detailing your reasons to pursue the degree.
  • Portfolio showcasing a collection of your best work, thus highlighting your skills.
  • Letters of Recommendation (LoRs).
  • Some universities may require a passing score in GRE, or TOEFL, or IELTS, or a combination of these three examination scores.
  • Artist Statements / Auditions.
  • Other specific requirements by the University you have applied to. 

One of the most important requirements for admission to a course in a Fine Arts college is your portfolio or a performance audition. This brings us to the next point in the 5 crucial things to know about the Fine Arts degree.

4. How to build your portfolio? 

Your portfolio is most likely the backbone of your application and can act as a dealbreaker. Keep in mind to emphasize your efforts vis-à-vis experimentation, concepts, and a wide range of media used. Try to include a healthy mix of self-directed work and class assignments. 

Here are some points to keep in mind when drafting your portfolio:

  • Your portfolio should include 12-15 pieces of your best (and preferably most recent) work.
  • You should include at least 2 Designs or Direct Observation drawings.
  • Each work of art should have a brief description to go along with it. It should answer the question, “Why did I create this?”

5. Some great career options

Remember how we said earlier that you are here because you probably have a passion for your particular art? Passion is a good thing, but the pertinent question is- how does that culminate into something that supports you financially? 

There are numerous career options that can you explore after completing your Fine Arts degree.

This concern is not unfounded as the unemployment rate for Fine Arts students is relatively high (around 12%) and the competition is fierce.

If all this concerns you, it’s time that you stop being worried! With the advent of the internet and the explosion in the use of digital media, there are a plethora of jobs to choose from after completing your Fine Arts degree. 

These positions could include-

  • Illustrator
  • Sculptor
  • Painter
  • Actor (Theatre or Film)
  • Animator
  • Youtuber (Video Graphics, Video Editor, Film Producer)
  • Photographer
  • Roles in Advertisement Agencies
  • Musician (Singer, Instrumentalist, etc.)
  • Museum Curator
  • Designer (Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Production Designer, UI/UX Designer, Game Designer, etc.)
  • Sound Producer
  • Film Director
  • Creative Writer
  • Dancer
  • Fashion Designer 

Wrapping up

So there you have it—we hope this gives a good gist of all the important information about the Fine Arts course. As always, consult the respective university’s website for details before applying to any of these. 

Research about which program you would like to pursue, as well as where you would prefer to study the arts. If you still have questions about what is fine arts and how to pursue it, reach out to us. We’ll help you figure out the course and the universities you can apply to. If you feel like we missed out on anything and want us to add it, feel free to drop a comment below.

We wish you all the luck in pursuing the fine arts course you’ve always wanted to study!


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