Real Degrees for Creative People
11 Min Read
You can turn your passion into a career-focused education
Are you a creative person?
Whether your preferred medium is paint, graphite, clay, fabric, photo, video, music, or the written or spoken word, you have an inner drive to put something into the world that wasn’t there before.
You might think the only way to express that passion is through a hobby, but creativity is a highly valued skill in the working world, too. For some, it’s a career in art, music, or design. For others, the skills you learn in an art and design degree program could be transferable to a wide range of other fields of work, such as business, marketing, technology, and education.
Your passion is an asset, both for your career and for your quality and enjoyment of life, and the best degrees for creative people are those that cultivate that passion: laying a strong knowledge foundation, sharpening your applied skills, and showing potential employers that you have what it takes to do creative work at a professional level. In short, earning your degree in art and design can help you put your passion to work for your future.
Undergraduate Degrees: BFA vs. BA vs. BS
Most people don’t think too much of the letters after “B” in the abbreviation for their bachelor’s degree, but they make a significant difference in the educational experience you have and the opportunities that experience opens. While they have different strengths and areas of emphasis, all three types of degrees can help cultivate a creative mind.
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is the most specialized and focused undergraduate art degree. The goal of a BFA program is to make sure you graduate with a strong foundation in art and design, and as much training, experience, and skill in your field of artistic specialization as possible.
Typically, a BFA program is a highly specialized experience with general education requirements, general art and design requirements, and coursework in your chosen track or specialization, leaving little room for electives — although there is often still some flexibility in which individual courses you choose to fulfill each set of requirements. The goal of a BFA is specifically to prepare you for a career in the visual and performing arts.
Graduates of a BFA program can become graphic designers, concept artists, multimedia artists, animators, fine artists, industrial designers, actors, musicians, photographers, videographers, or video editors. A BFA also prepares graduates to take on a leadership role as an art director or creative director.
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
The goal of a Bachelor of Arts in a creative subject is to provide a solid foundation in design principles within the context of a well-rounded interdisciplinary education. In other words, a BA gives you the opportunity to tailor your education to your individual interests, whether that means minoring in another subject or taking elective courses across a variety of subjects.
In comparison to a BFA, a BA trades focus for flexibility, leaving room for electives in addition to core classes in art and design. BA programs take a more liberal arts approach that can provide students with experience and coursework across a range of disciplines, compared to students in a more specialized, rigid BFA program.
Art and design Bachelor of Arts programs include:
Bachelor of Arts in Art & Design
A BA in Art & Design program is designed to give students a well-rounded education with a core focus on the principles of design. This program teaches craftsmanship, project development, and mastery of artistic technique, but also skills like teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving that can be applied to a wide range of careers.
Earning your BA in Art & Design could help you pursue a career as a graphic designer, fine artist, art director, multimedia artist, or web developer. Again, the skills covered in a BA program are also transferable to fields outside the arts, or to graduate study.
Discover Lindenwood’s 100% online Art & Design programsView Art & Design Programs
Bachelor of Arts in Art History & Visual Culture
A BA in Art History & Visual Culture explores the meaning of art within culture and the relationships between different cultures within the context of art history. Students in an Art History BA program curriculum may experience collaboration, guest speakers, study abroad opportunities, and other experiences that build a lifelong admiration for the desire to create.
Careers in art history are primarily in academia and museums. A graduate of an art history program may become a historian, museum curator, anthropologist, archivist, or teacher. An art history curriculum also develops skills in research, communication, creativity, and problem-solving that are transferable to many other careers.
Bachelor of Arts in Game Design
A BA in Game Design program takes students from basic programming knowledge to advanced game design concepts in engines such as Unreal and Unity. Students learn how to take a game through the entire development process, including concepting, storytelling, character development, and application, plus foundational principles in aesthetics, immersion, game economics, and usability.
Earning a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design will prepare you for a career in the games industry as a multimedia artist, art director, concept artist, or graphic designer. Game design jobs are expected to grow at 8% or higher, much faster than the national average, from 2019 through 2029.
Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Art Therapy
A BA in Pre-Art Therapy program combines art and design coursework, such as drawing, art history, and digital design foundations, with training in human development and abnormal psychology to prepare students for a career in art therapy.
Graduates of a Pre-Art Therapy program may pursue careers in direct care in a variety of settings, such as summer camps, residential treatment programs, long-term care facilities, social service agencies, and hospitals. A BA in Pre-Art Therapy also prepares you for graduate study in art therapy.
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Bachelor of Science programs in creative subjects tend to have a significant technical or business component. A BS program is typically more flexible than the highly specialized BFA program, more comparable to a BA. However, while the BA focuses on creativity and critical thinking, BS programs focus on analytical reasoning, work habits, and problem-solving.
Creative people who complete a BS program may pursue management roles or hybrid careers that include both art and science. A BS may also prepare you for a more technically focused graduate program.
Bachelor of Science in Fashion Business
A Bachelor of Science in Fashion Business & Entrepreneurship, also known as a BS in Fashion Management or similar, program focuses on the business side of the fashion industry, giving students the opportunity to participate in fashion weeks, mock interviews, and networking in addition to core coursework in subjects like fashion design, fashion marketing, pricing strategy, and the history of costume. Graduates of such a program can pursue careers in the fashion industry as designers, buyers, marketing managers and PR specialists, among other roles.
Much like a BA, a BS degree program usually gives students plenty of flexibility to tailor their coursework and their experience to their individual interests.
Graduate Degrees: MFA vs. MA vs. MS
The distinction between a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and a Master of Arts (MA) is straightforward. An MFA program focuses heavily on advanced applied creative skills (such as drawing, painting, or graphic design) for a career specifically focused on art, design, or performance, whereas an MA program includes those skills but with greater emphasis on academic theory, analysis, and creative thinking — skills that are more transferable to a broader range of jobs.
A Master of Science (MS), like a Bachelor of Science, focuses on scientific, technical, or business topics. Creative MS degrees may prepare students for leadership and management roles, or for further graduate study.
Master of Arts in Art & Design
An MA in Art & Design explores the critical theories and trends behind design, the history of art, and practical application and problem-solving. Students in an MA program will typically choose an area of emphasis, concentration, or specialty, such as digital art, graphic design, photography, project management, or web design.
Graduates of an MA in Art & Design program can pursue careers in the fine arts, photography, graphic design, or web development. Depending on your area of interest, you may be qualified for a role as an individual artist or a manager such as an art director.
Master of Arts in Art History & Visual Culture
Students in an MA in Art History & Visual Culture program explore the history of art and design and the way it has shaped and contributed to different cultures. An MA program in art history may include not only ancient, medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art, but also the history of architecture, photography, and even fashion.
Graduates of an MA program can pursue careers in art history as museum curators, archivists, art historians, librarians, or teachers. A background in art history opens up opportunities in both academia and public service, as the federal government is among the largest employers of historians.
Master of Arts in Game Design
An MA in Game Design program is built to prepare students to thrive in a fast-paced game studio environment. In addition to foundational coursework in storytelling, character development, aesthetics, immersion, and game economics, some programs may include project and portfolio courses threaded throughout, ensuring students graduate with the hands-on game design skills they need to pursue a career.
With game design jobs expected to grow by 8% or more for the next decade, an MA in game design opens up plenty of doors. Graduates of this program can pursue careers as game designers, art directors, developers, concept artists, animators, and more.
Master of Arts in Studio Art
Prepare for a career as a studio artist with a MA in Studio Art program, which covers the principles of studio disciplines, art history, and the practical and problem-solving skills required to create works of art, plus specialized training in specific artistic disciplines such as sculpture, drawing, painting, printmaking, and digital art.
Graduates of a Studio Art program are qualified to both create and teach art at the professional level. Depending on the artistic discipline or area of interest you pursue, you may be able to pursue an art-related career in business, academia, or non-profits.
Master of Science in Fashion Business and Entrepreneurship
Prepare for a leadership role in the fashion industry with a Master of Science in Fashion Business & Entrepreneurship or Fashion Management. Like the undergraduate degree, a master’s program in fashion focuses on both design principles and the business of fashion, preparing students to succeed in the fast-paced fashion industry. Students may have opportunities to travel, attend fashion events, and interact with guest speakers from the fashion industry.
Graduates of a master’s program in fashion may own their own fashion businesses, or become fashion designers, fashion buyers, executives, or art directors. With a strong foundation in both core business principles and fashion design, a wide range of doors in the industry will be open.
The Value of a Creative Degree
People with the right skills and education for a job in the arts can look forward to fulfilling and financially stable careers. In particular, the demand for digital design and animation will likely continue to grow as society moves more and more online; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, digital design and web development jobs are projected to grow much faster than the national average through 2029. Fine artists and studio artists, too, can earn a strong and steady income with the right education, training, and business acumen.
Even if you’re not sure whether you want to be an artist, however, there is great value in an art and design education. Getting an art degree develops your skill in problem-solving, teamwork, and project management, skills that are transferable to a wide range of jobs. Creativity, in particular, is a highly valued skill in the workplace — one study by Adobe found that 94% of hiring managers believe creativity is key when evaluating job candidates.
In short, your passion for creation is a valuable thing, both personally and professionally, and the way to develop that passion is through a robust, interdisciplinary education. Lindenwood University offers a wide range of highly-rated art and design programs, with the high-quality curriculum you need to prepare for success in a creative career and the convenience of the online format. If you’re ready to take your next step toward success in the arts, consider earning your art and design degree online at Lindenwood University.
Learn more about the Art & Design programs at Lindenwood UniversityView Art & Design Programs