A Guide to BA Art Degrees and Future Careers

If you want to make it as an artist, art and design courses can be a way to let your creativity and imagination run wild whilst also giving you the chance to find a suitable career path.

There are a range of different arts degrees that universities offer, which combine practical and theoretical ways of learning, depending on which type inspires you most.

Are you better at working with clay, painting on canvas or creating spectacular sculptures?

Perhaps you prefer learning about art movements, analyzing works and reading critical theories of aesthetics?

Here, we look at the different BA degrees you can take and which careers can stem from these.

Which BA art courses can I choose from?

Fine Art

Perhaps the most popular of the arts degrees as it allows for highly creative art projects, Fine Art usually covers three years at university but can stretch to four in certain institutions. Fine Art courses are primarily focused around studio work and are more practical; you can specialize in subjects such as painting, photography, sculpture or installation. The majority include a theoretical or critical element, however, the concentration is on cultivating your artistic skills.

Art History

You may have a keen interest in art but lack the creative skills to demonstrate your love of the subject. Art History allows students to develop their understanding of art through the ages, analysing and applying critical theories to artworks and artifacts. This subject uses different schools of thought, such as historical, philosophical and cultural, and applies them to art.

Digital Arts

With the rise of digital media and the graphic design industry, Digital Arts is becoming increasingly popular as a BA course. It incorporates state-of-the-art technologies and practices with theoretical and practical experience. The manipulation of images and interactive design through the use of computers means students can experience a whole new world of art.

Specialist Courses

There has been a rise in art degree courses that specialize in certain niches, such as photography, graphic design, animation and illustration. If you are determined to follow a career in one of these areas, it is worth researching the specialist courses that universities have to offer.

Which art-based roles can I apply for?

Professional Artist

This is the dream for many prospective students as they apply for Arts degrees, however, competition is vast so be prepared with another career plan if being a professional artist doesn’t pay the bills!


Many art students go on to teach at schools or lecture in their chosen subject. This can be great for both practical and theoretical art students as they can choose which area of art to specialize in when teaching.

Art Curator

Art curators have the chance to develop and display exhibitions at galleries or museums. This role can include choosing artworks and artifacts for collections, as well as tasks such as preparing budgets, managing staff and public relations.

Specialist Roles

Specialist degrees will lead to a limited amount of roles to choose from e.g. a BA degree in Illustration will only give you experience in illustrating. Digital Arts courses can also lead to specialist careers in, for example, television advertising or video game design. Be sure of your career path if you choose a specialist degree subject.

Of course, these are only a handful of careers to look into when you finish your BA Art degree. You may also find you loved your course so much that you want to stay in education and progress to a Masters or even a PhD in Art!

Richard Hammond

I am the founder of 9Mousai and am deeply interested in creativity and what inspires it. My main passions are writing, film and music but I have huge respect for the arts. I'm also an animal lover and have a little cat called Winston and enjoy the occasional whiskey.

Related Articles

Back to top button