Changing face of fine arts and architecture

Changing face of fine arts and architecture

Karan Gupta takes you through the changing face of fine arts and architecture education overseas


For the longest time fine arts have been viewed as courses done by academically weak students. And most students who wished to study fine arts wondered if they would get a job after their course. Over the last few years the perception of fine arts has changed rapidly and several students look to study this field at overseas institutes.


Traditionally fine arts have included painting, sculpture, architecture, music, poetry, theatre and dance. Today fine arts include film, photography and visual arts. The most popular fine arts chosen by students who wish to study abroad include architecture, film making and photography. The reason seems obvious – these fields have better job prospects as compared to sculpture and poetry.


Architecture is offered at the Bachelors and Masters level by several institutes in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and several countries in Europe. Typically a Bachelor’s program can be completed in 5 years and while students should have Math as a mandatory subject, study of Sciences is also preferred. A Master’s degree in Architecture can be completed in 2-3 years and generally requires students to have a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture or a related field. Some of the top Architecture colleges in the world include Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Melbourne, Yale University, Delft University of Technology, University of Cambridge and Harvard University. It is important to note that if you plan to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture abroad, you should make sure that the course and university is accredited by the Council of Architecture or else you would not be a recognized Architect when you return back home.


With the strong influence of Bollywood, it is no surprise that a large number of students are keen to get in to Film Making. Universities abroad offer several courses in Film Making including Digital Editing, Cinematography, Online Screenwriting and Digital Filming. Some of the most popular institutes offering Film Making include American Film Institute, University of Southern California, University of California LA, and New York University. Students who study Film Making almost always return back home as getting jobs abroad in this field is difficult.


Students who wish to pursue a career in Photography will study classes such as Visual Voice in Analog Photography, Contemporary problems with Digital Photography, Capturing Light and Writing for Visual Arts. The top universities in the world for Photography include Yale University, University of California LA, School of Visual Arts and the School of Art Institute of Chicago.


Performing Arts include Dance, Theatre and Music and all these streams can be pursued as degrees at the Bachelors and Masters levels. Julliard School, University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Royal College of Music, University of Oxford, Royal Academy of Music and the University of California at Berkeley are considered the best schools in the world for Performing Arts. By definition, people who study Performing Arts would perform in front of audiences. Hence, Performing Arts is more suited for people who are comfortable showcasing their skills.


In addition to standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT at the undergraduate level and the GRE at the graduate level, and TOEFL or IELTS in all cases, admissions are largely based on the portfolio that the student prepares. A portfolio consists of your work showing your talent and aptitude for a particular course. In many cases, standardized exams can be waived for admissions and almost the entire admission decision is based on the portfolio. Each institute has a different portfolio requirement which can vary from ten pieces of your work to a short film showing your aptitude and capabilities. In some cases, an interview is also required before admission can be granted.


Fine Arts are chosen by a relatively small percentage of students. It’s a great idea to an internship with someone working in the field of your choice before you commit to a career in fine arts. However, if you have the aptitude and are passionate about what you do you will find ample scope for fine arts wherever you are.

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