BA or BFA: Which One is the Best for You?
Written by Elizabeth Thornton
October 9, 2019
If you’re a junior or senior in high school who’s looking forward to college, picking the right school for you is already a hard choice. Do I stay in-state, will my dream school accept me, did my transcript make it into the right hands? If you’re going to college intending to be a theatre major, social pressure another daunting question. One big decision you have to make is picking a BA or BFA program. What do those letters even mean? Hopefully, this will help make things a little easier.
The BA Program
So, BA stands for Bachelor of Arts. Traditionally, BA programs aren’t focused on one specific field of theatre but are designed for students to be exposed to different disciplines of theatre. BA programs are usually considered a liberal arts degree and allow students to take more curriculum outside of theatre classes. Most BA programs will require students to take a certain number of acting, technical, and production classes, and offer different theatre electives depending on your interest. If you know you are only interested and you only want to focus on one discipline, you may want to look at doing a BFA. You’ll usually be taking more general education classes with a BA, so you can see how art and theatre can be implemented into different disciplines. BA programs typically allow for you to double-major in a separate area or at least have a minor. If you are interested in multiple fields of theatre, a BA may be the right choice for you.
The BFA Program
The one letter makes a big difference; BFA stands for Bachelor of Fine Arts. BFA programs are more hyper-focused on one discipline in theatre so that you won’t be learning or focusing on other areas. If you are passionate about musical theatre but want to learn about lighting, you may not be able to take classes on it. BFA is considered professional programs and has more particular qualifications required to enter the programs. If you know that you only want to do acting, look into receiving your BFA. There is typically a more competitive atmosphere surrounding BFA programs, and the audition process can be more intense and require more than a BA. Since BFAs are considered a professional degree, there are expected to train and prepare you for the professional world. That being said, you don’t need a BFA to be successful in theatre!
The Bottom Line
BA Program: a liberal arts degree. Useful if you are interested in more than more area of theatre, broad focus, more time to spend studying things not theatre-related
BFA Program: a professional degree. Useful if you only want to focus on one discipline, narrow focus, less or no time studying non-theatre related classes.
So What Do I Choose?
There is no right answer to what you should choose. Each type of program has pros and cons that you should take into consideration. No matter what program you end up in, do your research! Each BA and BFA are different, and you will find one that works for you! Don’t be afraid to get in contact with programs and ask them questions- the right program for you is out there!
Need some advice? We’ve got you covered.
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