The Bachelor of Fine Arts (abbreviated BFA or B.F.A.) is a four-year undergraduate degree in visual (drawing, painting, design, etc.) and performing (dance, music, etc.) arts offered by colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. In other countries the equivalent to the Bachelor of Fine Arts is the Bachelor of Creative Arts (BCA), or as is the case in Great Britain, Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts. In Australia and much of Europe, the Bachelor of Fine Arts is only awarded for degrees completed in the visual arts, where specific degrees such as Bachelor of Drama, Bachelor of Music, or Bachelor of Drama are awarded in the performing arts on a specialty by specialty basis. In india, a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is more commonly known as the Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA).
In the United States, the Bachelor of Fine Arts is often confused with the Bachelor of Arts, but the two undergraduate degrees are very different. A Bachelor of Arts degree focuses on the liberal arts and the majority of coursework consists of social studies, humanities, and history classes, complimented with a few arts classes. The Bachelor of Fine Arts includes a component of liberal arts but the majority of the program consists of practical studio courses and education in visual and performing arts. In the United States, the typical BFA programs consists of one-third liberal arts studies and two-thirds study in the arts. Conversely a Bachelor of Arts degree might include two-thirds liberal arts studies and one-third study in the arts.
The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), a national accreditor of university level visual arts programs, explains that the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) offers intensive study in the visuals arts complemented by a general studies component, where the Bachelor of Arts (BA) is a liberal arts degree that offers art and design education within the context of a comprehensive general studies program.
The majority of Bachelor of Fine Arts programs require that students select one area of focus, such as acting, theatre, drama, ceramics, painting, cinematography, computer animation, creative writing, dance, drawing, screen writing, stage management, film production, visual effects, graphic design, computer animation, illustration, industrial design, visual communication, interior design, music, multimedia, metalworking, printmaking, photography, and sculpting. A few programs do not require students to focus on just one arts discipline, rather students are provided a broader education in a variety of visual and performing arts disciplines.
Unlike the Bachelor of Arts degree where a majority of coursework is completed within a classroom/lecture setting, a Bachelor of Fine Arts requires a substantial amount of practical studio work. Consequently, many BFA programs that are considered four-year degrees actually take longer than four years to complete.