Difference Between BFA and BA Courses

Just with a single letter difference, many people surprisingly get troubled while understanding the difference between BFA and BA. Adding the confusions, there is some common material covered under both BA and BFA acting programs or degrees. But as a whole, they highlight some significant differences which make the two bachelor of arts degrees different actually. What's right in the perspective of one student may not be right for another one. So yes, there are some overlapping differences which we will cover in this article.

Both the BFA and BA programs are a part of the College of Arts and Sciences. BA offers a  well-rounded and versatile education in subject areas such as Communication, Computer Science, English, Math, Psychology, and Sociology. On the other side, BFA covers art majors like Drawing, Painting, Photography, Multimedia, Sculpture etc.

Your choice between BA and BFA degree will ultimately structure your educational and career goals. BA focuses on liberal arts courses while BFA focuses more on intensive art and design studies.  So, this article helps you to encounter the main Difference Between BFA and BA based on various parameters.

Degree Type

One of the major differences existing between BA and BFA is their program type. As a liberal arts degree, BA involves studies that help students to explore different areas of their art form so as to discover their interests and talents. BA provides foundational knowledge and creative growth opportunities. While BFA is a professional degree that offers study in a particular field with the goal of mastering a specific art form.

Students who choose liberal Arts have opportunities to combine their interests with science and writing. The course work of BA gives an excellent technical, conceptual, creative and artistic foundation to the students which when combined with other academic disciplines turns them to all-rounded artists and scholars. BFA concentrates on providing professional education that prepares the students with a solid foundation. The in-depth course work of BFA provides development opportunities to the students to discover their own artistic voice and skills.

Focus Areas

In Bachelor of Fine Arts program, two-thirds of the course work focuses on the creation and study of visual arts, and one-third of the course work focuses on liberal arts (history, literature, psychology, etc.). Whereas in Bachelor of Arts, the course work ratios are flipped which means that two-thirds focus on liberal arts and one-third focus on visual arts.


Both degrees cover general classes such as math, science and foreign language classes which is mandatory for students. But BFA has a more specialized curriculum than BA as fine arts is based on exploring multiple artistic areas. Like for instance, the University of Colorado College of Arts and Media requires BA students in theater, film, and television to take electives in all areas. On other hand, BFA students don't take elective courses and mainly focus on studio classes in one interest field.

Areas of Emphasis

Choosing an area of emphasis is one challenging thing about BFA program. A student pursuing BFA has to choose one concentration within their art forms like acting, musical theater, theater production, and scenic design. This emphasis allows students to focus more on professional training rather than the exploration of a BA. While in BA, the student doesn't have to emphasize on a particular area but they can learn an art form in conjunction with another major or minor.

BFA involves more participation in the arts and studio-oriented classes, rather than covering academic subjects. While BA covers education in theoretical science and humanities.

Credits Requirements

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

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

Timeline Required

If you are starting fresh in BA, most of the degrees are designed to be completed in four years. Students can even complete the degree under a minimum of two-three years depending on emphasis, transfer credits and summer school projects. But you have entered into a BFA program, degrees are designed to be completed in four years for students beginning as freshmen. Regardless of summer school or transfer credits, students are able to complete courses over a three- to four-year period due to the sequencing of course subjects and projects.

Future Learning Goals

The last difference between BFA and BA occurs in the form of a student's postgraduate aspirations. BA qualified student is eligible for a number of occupations involving artistic skill outside of professionally practicing their major talents. Like they can work as high school art teachers. While BFA qualified students can seek professional employment in their chosen field or graduate study, such as obtaining a Master of Fine Arts degree.


The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree is listed under the most prestigious bachelor's degree in the visual arts. Aspirants who want to develop their skills and gain experience in photography can go for the BFA program as it majorly consists of sixty credits for photography courses. Students with some less interest in photography and having a desire to minor or double-major in another subject area can opt for BA program which covers only thirty-nine credits for photography courses.

When one pursues BA, they can easily focus in more than one area, however, if you tend to pursue the BFA degree,  you have enough art electives where you can create a secondary area. Always remember to take decisions that benefit you once you complete graduation. If you want to go to graduate school in art and work professionally as an artist or art teacher, you should intelligently choose the BFA.

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Date: 27 Feb 2019

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