4 Types of Degrees for Artistic Individuals 

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

What types of degrees are best for people who love to be creative? Explore options in design, writing, music, and more.

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A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is one of the most common degrees for artistic people who love to use their hands, minds, or bodies to create things. You might like to paint, sculpt,, dance, sing, or play an instrument, or perhaps you like to express your creativity through writing, digital media, photography, film, or acting. It’s possible to pursue a degree in many areas of artistic expression related to the visual, fine, and performing arts.

Besides a BFA, here are four other majors you may choose to pursue to leverage your creativity. 

Graphic design 

Develop the creative and technical skills you need to enter the design and creative visual media fields. Graphic designers specialize in visual communication that conveys messages using pictures and images, such as in web design, advertising, animation, and computer design.

A Bachelor of Arts, Science, or Fine Arts in graphic design can help combine artistic skills with design principles and the latest technologies. If you're interested in one particular area of graphic design, it’s possible to specialize with a concentration like:

  • Illustration

  • Interactive design

  • Advertising and marketing

  • Print design

  • 3D modeling and animation 

  • Web design

  • Environmental design

Regardless of the path you choose in graphic design, some typical courses you'll take are:

  • Typography

  • Brand identity

  • Art history

  • Drawing

  • Illustration

  • Computer graphics

  • Photography

Before graduating, you'll complete a portfolio of your original designs, which you can use for job applications as you start your career. You might also be required to create an exhibition or complete an internship. For instance, you could present your original designs for your senior thesis at a fine arts museum. Or you could have an internship at a design studio to gain hands-on experience in a work environment.

Your bachelor's degree in graphic design can also be the foundation for pursuing advanced art degree programs. Some examples of master's level graphic design degrees include:

  • Graphic design

  • Visual communication

  • Editorial design and digital publications

  • 3D design for virtual environments

  • Computer graphics and game development

Related careers in graphic design 

With a bachelor's degree in graphic design, you can pursue a career in the advertising, printing, newspaper, publishing, animation, and web design and development industries. You can also work for a studio or company, start your own business, or work as a freelance artist—19 percent of graphic artists are self-employed, according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) [1].

*All projected job growth and salary sourced from BLS as of March 2022

Job opportunities for graphic designers are expected to increase by 3 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than average compared to other occupations. But some professions that require a bachelor's degree in graphic design have a more positive outlook:

  • Special effects artists and animators: 16 percent growth, median salary $77,700

  • Art directors: 11 percent growth, median salary $97,270

  • Craft and fine artists: 14 percent growth, median salary $49,120

  • Web developers and digital designers: 13 percent growth, median salary $77,200


If you love movies, theater productions, or creating videos, consider pursuing a bachelor's degree in film. You may create digital and film productions that can qualify you for entry-level positions in directing, producing, screenwriting, and other film-related careers. 

A Bachelor of Arts or a BFA in film includes courses that teach how the film industry works. You'll combine your creative skills with technical filmmaking aspects and have the opportunity to collaborate with other artists and film professionals. 

You might choose to focus your academic studies on a specialized area. Some concentrations for a bachelor's degree in film include:

  • Motion pictures

  • Cinematography

  • Television and movie production

  • Film studies

  • Production management

  • Digital arts

  • Sound design

  • Animation

The courses you take can cover both the artistic side of film and technical skills, including software and tools. A sampling of the classes you'll likely take include:

  • Film history and theory

  • Documentaries

  • Scriptwriting

  • Cinematography

  • Sound design

  • Post-production

  • Digital photography

  • Narrative and non-narrative filmmaking

  • Film technologies

  • News media and culture

Some colleges and universities form partnerships with businesses, such as Disney, Marvel, and independent film festival groups, to provide you with real-world experiences. As part of your graduation requirements, you might serve an internship with one of these organizations.

After graduation, consider continuing education and keeping your skills fresh by staying up to date on the newest technologies in the film industry. For example, certifications are available for sound engineering and broadcast technicians. Certain companies, such as Adobe Creative Cloud and Final Cut Pro X, offer certifications as well.

You might also pursue an advanced degree in film. A bachelor's degree in film can qualify you to further your studies through earning a master’s degree in:

  • Graphic design

  • Creative writing

  • Technology

  • Illustration

  • Music

Related careers in film 

You may prepare yourself for a job in public relations, advertising, entrepreneurship, camera operations, or broadcasting industries. 

Social media’s rise in popularity has boosted the job outlook for people with a bachelor's degree in film. Advertising, entrepreneurial, and public relations industries employ some of the highest-paid production positions. 

The film and video industry is expected to grow from a $251.92 billion market in 2020 to a $318.23 billion market in 2025, a compound annual growth rate of 6 percent [2]. Here's a look at the professions that typically use a bachelor's in film and have a particularly positive outlook:

*All projected job growth and salary sourced from BLS as of March 2022

  • Broadcast, sound, and video technicians: 21 percent growth, median salary $50,000

  • Producers and directors: 24 percent growth, median salary $76,400

  • Film and video editors and camera operators: 29 percent growth, median salary $61,900

  • Writers and authors: 9 percent growth, median salary $67,120


People who prefer expressing their creativity through writing might enjoy pursuing a bachelor's degree in journalism. Prepare yourself for the journalism field, by learning how to report and write news for social media outlets. Journalism students learn about researching, interviewing, writing, and editing techniques as well as technology. 

You also have a variety of concentrations to choose from when pursuing a journalism degree. Some examples include:

  • Magazine journalism

  • News and features

  • Sports and media

  • Broadcast and digital journalism

  • Convergent media

  • Public relations

  • Investigative journalism

  • Photojournalism

Regardless of the type of journalism degree or concentration you select, some of the core courses you can expect to take are:

  • Interviewing

  • Media relations

  • Broadcast

  • Print journalism

  • Digital journalism

  • Sports journalism

  • Journalism law

  • Global journalism

 Journalism students learn the importance of the free press, the art of storytelling, and the ability to report accurate, factual information. 

Depending on the bachelor's program and school, completing an internship might be part of your graduation requirements. This gives you the chance to translate what you've learned into a job setting to gain experience. You might also need to create a capstone project to showcase what you've learned in school. 

If you are interested in continuing your education beyond a bachelor's degree, your degree in journalism can set you up to pursue a master’s degree in:

  • Journalism

  • Communication

  • English

  • Public relations

  • Media communication

Related careers in journalism

Career fields you can choose to enter include advertising, editing, public relations, publishing, writing, producing, investigative journalism, print journalism, and digital journalism.

The popularity of digital media is good news for journalism graduates. Social media, blogs, podcasts, and videos provide plenty of platforms for you to use your skills. 

But the journalism industry covers many other career fields as well. These bachelor's of journalism-related careers are projected to grow as fast as or faster than average between 2020 and 2030:

*All projected job growth and salary sourced from BLS as of March 2022

  • Writers and authors: 9 percent growth; median salary $67,120 

  • News analysts, reporters, and journalists: 6 percent growth; median salary $49,300

  • Technical writers: 12 percent growth; median salary $74,650

  • Public relations and fundraising managers: 13 percent growth; median salary $118,430


Artistic individuals who love music can pursue a degree in it. Prepare yourself for a career as a professional musician or music educator through music training and classroom learning. 

As with most degrees, you can choose a concentration to match your interests such as:

  • Music technology

  • Music education

  • Performance

  • Music business management

  • Composition

  • Conducting

  • Music Therapy

  • Writing and production

Some of the courses you can expect to take are:

  • Music theory and analysis

  • Ear training

  • Piano

  • Music history

  • Counterpoint and harmony

  • Orchestration

  • Conducting

  • Tonal and post-tonal analysis

  • Electronic/computer music

  • Musicology

  • Musical organizations

Related careers in music

While graduates with a music degree can choose to pursue careers in the music industry, there’s plenty of room for these artists in other industries, including film, software, and gaming. Here's a look at the professions that typically use a bachelor's in music and have a particularly positive outlook:

*All projected job growth and salary sourced from BLS as of March 2022

  • Broadcast and sound engineering technicians: 21 percent growth; $50,000 median salary

  • Music directors: 6 percent growth; $52,250 median salary

  • Music teachers: 8 percent growth; $62,870

  • Musicians and singers: 11 percent growth; $31.40 per hour median pay

Additional artistic degree options

You can take many directions depending on whether your creative interests lie in music, theater, dance, writing, or the visual arts. Consider these additional degrees you could pursue in the arts:

  • Art history

  • Digital cinematography

  • Game art and development

  • Fashion merchandising and management

  • Digital photography

  • Graphic design and media arts

Continue improving your art skills

As you continue your artistic path, learn more about how to earn your bachelor’s degree online from a top university.

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Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Graphic Designers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/graphic-designers.htm.” Accessed March 18, 2022.

2. Research and Markets. “Film and Video Global Market Report 2021: COVID-19 Impact and Recovery to 2030, https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/5238077/film-and-video-global-market-report-2021-covid.” Accessed March 18, 2022.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.