Online Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree Information

Oct 20, 2021

Essential Information

Through a fine arts degree program, students learn to create artwork in their specializations of choice, which can include illustration, photography, ceramics, interior design or jewelry design. Online degrees in the field are somewhat rare, though many in-person programs offer some online courses.

A small number of schools offer online bachelor's degree programs in the fine arts, though hybrid programs with some distance-learning components are more common. These programs require some special equipment and software. For example, to submit art pieces in an online program, students will need image-capturing equipment - such as a digital camera or a scanner - so they can upload pictures of their creations. Although art critiques and coursework can be completed online, some fine arts programs may include an in-person internship among their course requirements.

Although holding a degree is not necessary for many fine artists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, completing a formal program can help budding artists hone their skills. Certain artist positions, like graphic or interior designer, do often require a bachelor's degree.

Bachelor of Fine Arts

The online Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is intensive to the arts, and through it, students take a wide variety of artistic and creative courses. Concepts cover basic drawing, design and painting techniques. Students acquire skills in many art media and develop those skills to become proficient in painting, illustration, design and printmaking. To be eligible for the online bachelor's degree program, students must have at least a high school diploma or the GED equivalent.

Information and Requirements

Typically, the fine arts degree program takes four or five years to complete, and online programs are usually offered through a hybrid format, combining distance learning with on-campus classes. Some programs require that students complete an internship or a field experience in the fine arts.

To take classes, students log onto the schools' Web-based applications, where they can watch instructional videos which demonstrate specific techniques in their concentration of choice. The videos train students to do everything from shade to choose colors. To turn in assignments, students must have a digital camera and a scanner to share photos of their completed work. Also online, students can interact with professors and classmates via online Web chat.

To complete the online program, students must have working computers and reliable Internet access. They must also have Adobe Reader, Flash and Photoshop, along with a media player such as Apple Quick Time. Certain courses may require other software or hardware, as well.

List of Common Bachelor of Fine Arts Courses

Students completing the online Bachelor of Fine Arts take general education classes, core classes and courses specific to their specialization. They upload completed projects to Photoshop and turn them in.

Painting a Still Life

Through this course, students begin to understand the basics of painting, by emulating the way a light source affects an image with shadows and light. They become familiar with cool and warm colors and common painting styles and techniques. They also have the opportunity to create their own styles.

Portrait Illustration

Students explore the history of illustration and begin capturing people using illustrated portrait techniques. They will then create their own versions of people, illustrating their key features. Then, they transfer the illustrations to Photoshop to add color and turn in.


In this class, students use different media to start creating prints. Etching, monotype, silkscreen and lithography are used to create a project of each print.

Career Information

A degree in fine arts can lead to a number of artistic careers, including opportunities as a graphic designer, interior designer, photographer, sculptor or illustrator. The following table lists the projected job growth and median annual salary for these occupations, according to the BLS:

Occupation Projected Job Growth, 2019-2029 Median Annual Salary (May 2020)
Graphic Designers 4% (decline) $53,380
Interior Designers 5% (decline) $57,060
Photographers 4% (decline) $41,280
Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors and Illustrators 1% (slower than average for all occupations) $52,340

A small number of fine arts bachelor's degree programs are available to study online, but programs that are a blend of online and in-person study are generally more common. Over the course of the programs, students will learn a wide range of artistic techniques to improve their own skills and build an impressive portfolio.

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