What is the Difference Between BFA and BA?

If you’ve ever wondered what are the differences between BA and BFA, then you’re not alone.

I’ve always thought, what might be the difference between BFA and BA? Because when you stand afar, you can clearly see many common things about them.

For example, the BFA and BA are both under the College of Arts and Sciences. Also, they both share the same core courses and electives.

Yet I believe there are little drops of differences between them or maybe more.

In this article, we’ll deliberate on BFA and BA, which is better, and differences between BFA and BA.

The table of content below will help you navigate this article easily.

What is a BFA?

A Bachelor of Fine Arts, commonly known as a BFA, is an approved bachelor’s degree for students from the United States and Canada who are exploring professional training in the visual or performing arts.

What is a BA?

A Bachelor of Arts commonly known as BA is a bachelor’s degree awarded to a student of the undergraduate program in Arts and Sciences.

This program generally lasts three or four years depending on the country and institution.

BFA vs BA: Which is better?

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) is an undergraduate program that focuses on the arts and sciences.

While the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is an undergraduate program that caters to interests in the field of visual and performing arts.

When the question arises, which is better, the answer is “it’s under probability.”

It clearly depends on your point of view and your interests in relation to the topics and the career you want to find yourself in.

Your choice between a BA and a BFA will play an important role in achieving your educational and career goals.

So, in this article, we’ll help you understand the major difference between BFA and BA based on different parameters.

Difference between BFA and the BA

Wondering what the differences are between BA and BFA?

Because when you look at it, the only difference you can recognize is this letter.

Both BA and BFA are aimed at college artists but offer a unique approach and training. But there is more to do if you research and analyze carefully.

We agree that there are many points in common, but it is important to know some differences between the two degrees.

To know the differences between BA and BFA degrees, we established their attributes in the following categories:

#1. Standard of Degree

This is one of the major differences between them. BA includes education that helps students explore various areas of their art form and determine their interests and talents.

BA provides knowledge that is considered the foundation for a master’s degree and opportunities for artistic growth that provides an excellent technical, conceptual, creative, and artistic foundation to students.

While the BFA is a professional degree that expands studies in a particular field with the goal of learning a specific art form and provides various opportunities for students to discover their own voice and artistic abilities.

#2. Credits Requirements

In a BFA program, a total of 120 credits is required. General education also covers 34 credits, and here 73 major credits are required for the accent.

In a BA program, a total of 120 credits is required. General education covers 34 credits and prominence requires 45 to 48 major credits.

#3. Subjects Concerned

The BFA and BA programs are part of the College of Arts and Sciences. BA offers a balanced and varied education in areas such as communication, computer science, English, mathematics, psychology, and sociology.

But when it comes to BFA, it covers arts subjects like Drawing, Painting, Photography, Multimedia, Sculpture, and more.

#4. Course Work Focus

In the BFA program, two-thirds of the courses focus on the design and study of the visual arts and one-third on the liberal arts.

In the BA program, courses focus on two-thirds of the liberal arts and one-third of the visual arts.

#5. Course Duration

If you are starting out as a freshman in the BA program, most degrees are supposed to be completed in four years.

But you can even complete the degree in a minimum of two to three years, which clearly depends on the transfer of credits and the summer school projects.

If you’re enrolled in a BFA program, degrees are supposed to be completed in four years, but you can take courses over a three- to four-year period despite summer school or credit transfer.

#6. Curriculum

Both degrees cover all general classes such as literature, math, science, and foreign language courses that are considered mandatory for all students.

But a BFA degree has a more specific curriculum compared to a BA degree, as the fine arts are based on the exploration of multiple artistic fields.

BA students take electives in theater, film, and television, among others, while BFA students do not take electives and focus primarily on study classes in an area of ​​interest.

#7. Career Goals

Students who have completed a BA program will have various job opportunities that involve artistic skills outside of the professional practice of their core skills, for example, they may work as art teachers in high school.

Students who have earned a BFA can seek recognized employment in their chosen field of study, such as earning a Master of Fine Arts.

BFA vs BA: Comparing Them Side by Side

  Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Type of Degree Professional Academic
Time to Completion 4 years 4 years
Type of Coursework Fine Arts Major Liberal Arts
Examples of Courses Depending upon the area of the arts you intend to practice, could be Photography, Theater, Dance, Art History, etc. Math, Physics, English, History, or whatever your liberal arts area of specialty is
Ratio of General Ed to Specialty Courses Focus (in program hours) 30 hours general ed; 60 -70 hours in specialty 50 – 60 hours general ed; rest in liberal arts specialty

Choosing Between the BFA and the BA: Making the Right Decision

To help you choose between BFA or BA, which to go for, we’ll use a photography course to describe what we mean.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is considered the most prestigious degree you can earn in visual arts.

This option is for students who want to gain as much experience and visual skills as possible. Includes at least sixty credits of photography courses.

The Bachelor of Arts (BA) is less comprehensive, but still contains essential foundational courses in all spheres of Visual Arts.

This option is aimed at students with a keen interest in photography and a desire to pursue a minor or double major in another field.

Hence, this allows you to tailor your academic career to your interests. It comprises at least thirty-nine credits of photography courses.

If you don’t know which program will be the best for you, don’t worry, you don’t have to decide now.

Since the two options share basic photography courses and some electives, you will have time to gain some experience in the field before having to choose a specific academic path to follow.

Your educational advisor will be happy to assist you with this decision.

Both the BFA and the BA are part of the College of Arts and Sciences.

This means that you will choose from additional liberal arts courses in other areas (such as Communication, Computer Science, English, Mathematics, Psychology, and Sociology, to name a few) to provide a comprehensive and versatile education.

Most academic advisors are ever willing to help you identify the courses that would most interest you and benefit you the most.

Final Verdict

If you consider the merits of a Bachelor of Fine Arts versus a Bachelor of Arts, the major difference is in the relationship between the liberal arts courses and the visual arts courses for each degree.

Your choice between a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) will depend on your educational and professional goals.

With the bachelor’s degree, you will take more liberal arts courses (general studies such as literature, history, etc). With the BFA, you will focus more on intensive studies in art and design.



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