Fine Arts and Design Programs In America
Areas of Study
The study of fine arts and design provides a wide variety of educational and career options for creative-minded students. Whether it's in a fine arts or design College or School at a general education university, or at a university or college specializing only in fine arts and design, you can enter the first year of the bachelor's program directly from high school.
Colleges devoted exclusively to fine arts and design often offer a variety of degree programs, and large universities and 4-year colleges sometimes have Colleges or Schools dedicated to fine art and design fields. These Schools may have different names, so be sure to look carefully! Whichever kind of 4-year college you choose, you can expect to find the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS) degree options with majors in design- and applied arts-related fields, as well as the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree with specialization options in areas like graphic design, industrial design, multimedia design, fashion design, game design, architectural design, digital/ multimedia design, visual communications/ communication arts, advertising, ceramics, fiber arts, illustration, metalsmithing and photography. The BFA in Film with specializations in areas such as production, editing or cinematography is also sometimes available in fine arts, multimedia or communications Colleges or Schools. As well, more career-focused 2-year associate's degrees are often offered at 4-year colleges and universities, such as the Associate of Arts (AA) or Science (AS) in many of the majors and specializations mentioned above. Some 4-year colleges also offer certificate programs in digital design, print design, web design, home interior design, and more.
Many community and career colleges also offer fine arts and design programs, with some colleges dedicated solely to this field. Their programs are usually 2-year associate's degrees including the Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS) and Associate of Fine Arts (AFA) degrees in areas such as fashion design and marketing, costume design, footwear design, visual communication, interior design, and more. Shorter diplomas and certificates may also be available. These programs prepare students for employment, but usually also qualify for university transfer credit.
Most university- and college-level programs combine theoretical, historical and cultural learning with academic research skills and practical studio or lab work and major creative projects. Programs often culminate in public shows or performances of students' work. Students generally take core foundation courses before selecting a major. Field trips and study abroad sessions are sometimes optional, sometimes compulsory, so that you are exposed to important examples of fine art and design works "live." Class sizes are generally small, thereby providing an intimate and personal education that encourages exploration and development of your own artistic vision--vision that is reflected in the professional portfolio built up during the course of study. Co-ops and industry internships are also often part of the curriculum.
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