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What Are the Different Types of Art Degree Programs?

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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
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  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Colleges, universities and art schools around the world offer various types of art degree programs. Students can enroll in undergraduate courses or postgraduate doctorate or master's degree programs. Additionally, some classes are designed to prepare people to work as artists while others are aimed at those who wish to teach art or other individuals who have an interest in studying art rather than a desire to improve artistic abilities.

Students can enroll in general undergraduate art courses at many different universities. Enrollees normally learn about different styles of art such as impressionism, renaissance art and surrealism. Typically, some of the classes are focused on art history in which case students learn about the pioneers who developed different styles and techniques. In many instances, general art degree programs include a practical element and students are scored on their ability to create different kinds of art making use of painting, sketching or sculpting skills.

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Rather than offering general art degree programs, some colleges offer more specialized courses that cover topics such as graphic design, creative arts or art history. Those attending graphic design courses learn how to use computer software and modern design techniques to create advertising slogans, logos and pictures that are used by marketing companies or retailers. During a creative arts course, students are often encouraged to think "outside the box" and use unconventional tools and equipment to create sculptures and other pieces of modern or post-modern art. Art history courses may involve nothing but classroom study with a focus on prominent artists and styles of artwork as students in these sessions do not typically have to demonstrate their artistic talents.

To work as an art teacher in a school, an individual may be required to complete a teacher-training course. Some of these courses are full degree programs that combine elements of other art degree programs with general teacher training. Other people take art degree courses and then enroll in short-term teacher training classes that often last for a year or less.

While teachers working with schoolchildren typically only need to complete undergraduate degrees, people involved in post-secondary education normally have completed master's degree programs. These courses normally last for a minimum of one year and typically focus on a specific artist, style of art or period of history. Beyond master's programs, some people also study for Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees which often involve several years of in-depth study on a particular theme. An individual with a PhD in art may be able to work as a department head at a university, while others with these qualifications end up working for museums.

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croydon
Post 3

@Mor - One thing I will caution is that if you can't handle criticism, you aren't ready for art school. Often they have a process of getting students to critique other student's art and they can be very harsh. It's good to develop a thick skin, but if you don't think you can handle that kind of thing you're better off not going to a formal school.

Mor
Post 2

@browncoat - That's not entirely true, especially these days. There are so many outlets for art that, if you manage to tap into what the public wants, you can easily make a name for yourself without having to go to school at all. Many people making a living by art these days are self taught.

And I've had plenty of artist friends who have gone in different directions in terms of schooling. Some have gone to schools that encourage complete artistic expression, while others have been to traditional schools that are a lot more strict and intense. Different kinds of environment suit different people.

browncoat
Post 1

It can be very difficult to make a mark in the art world if you haven't attended a school with a good reputation. They don't just teach you art skills, they also give you connections and help you to get into galleries and things like that.

Selling art is partly about establishing your legitimacy and a good art school will do that for you.

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