History of art degrees
History of art degrees are among the more traditional and academically established arts courses offered by universities. Courses typically cover artworks from a range of different cultures and historical periods, training students to analyse artefacts in terms of their relationship to artistic movements, social context and historic importance. This could mean ‘artworks’ in the most traditional sense – paintings on display in a gallery – but also a much broader approach to what constitutes art, from architecture to cartoons.
History of art students may choose to specialize in a particular region and/or historical period, or may pursue an interest in a particular aspect of art’s relationship to society – perhaps looking at the relationship between art and philosophy, or art and politics, for example.
Fine art degrees
Where history of art courses are about analysing artworks, fine art degrees are about creating them. Fine art programs typically combine a mixture of theoretical and practical requirements to nurture students in developing their own artistic work. Usually fine art students specialize in a particular medium, such as painting, sculpture, photography, film, animation, illustration, print-making or ceramics.
In addition, it’s possible to find entire degree courses specializing in each of the media mentioned above – and many more besides. For instance, you could take a degree specializing in comic art, or in community arts practice. It’s also possible to choose an art degree which focuses on art in a particular region or culture – such as Asian art or European art.
Then, of course, there’s the whole related field of design, encompassing subjects such as fashion, textile design, graphic design, interior design, advertising design and product design.