Differences between the undergraduate art degree concentrations at ASU Online

February 24, 2022 · 5 min read · By ASU Online
ASU offers several types of art degrees online. Discover our art concentrations that focus on various creative interests and the differences between them.

An art concentration can shape your future by enabling you to study a particular area of interest within your undergraduate degree. These types of art degrees deliver in-depth explorations into distinct artistic disciplines, such as art history, digital photography and museum studies.

Earning an art degree online can lead to a fulfilling career with a multitude of employment options. You’ll have the opportunity to cultivate new skills under the guidance of experienced art professors and establish a network of professional mentors. Additionally, pursuing an undergraduate degree with an art concentration can allow you to:

  • Analyze historical, cultural and symbolic context — then apply it on a larger scale.
  • Be resourceful when solving problems on a limited budget. 
  • Familiarize yourself with experimenting and receiving constructive criticism.
  • Harness your creative flow by bringing abstract concepts to life.

According to a study by Small Business Economics, art majors are likely to become entrepreneurs and innovators, as majoring in the arts more than doubles the likelihood of working in an entrepreneurial occupation.

ASU Online offers three art degrees:

These art concentrations share an overlapping foundation in art studies, as each one will allow you to develop creative thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, verbal communication and quantitative reasoning skills. However, each art concentration maintains a specific focus:

  • Art history teaches you how to interpret, analyze and critique all forms of artwork.
  • Digital photography refines your photographic eye, empowering you to conceptualize aesthetics and develop a portfolio. 
  • Museum studies explores the design, organization and ethics necessary for museum management.

To decide which online art major is right for you, review the courses and focus areas of each one. Then, select the type of art concentration that best aligns with your academic interests and professional goals. Pursuing your art degree at ASU Online will provide you the flexibility to complete your studies at a pace that accommodates your schedule while receiving the same advantages as on-campus learners.

Will my diploma state my art degree concentration?

Your diploma will state the art degree you earn: Either a Bachelor of Arts in art or a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art. Your concentration will not appear on your diploma, but it will be noted on your transcripts.

Additionally, Arizona State University’s diplomas don’t specify whether you earn your degree online or in person. All diplomas and transcripts simply say “Arizona State University.” That’s because ASU Online students learn from the same faculty and receive the same course content as in-person students receive.

Bachelor of Arts in art – art history

The Bachelor of Arts in art with a concentration in art history provides an in-depth understanding of cultural expression by analyzing some of the most famous pieces of art and literature across the globe. This art concentration is well suited for students interested in working at schools, universities, art galleries or museums. It allows you to develop and refine the art history knowledge, as well as the communication and research skills, necessary for careers in academics and consulting.

Some of the most common careers that art history graduates pursue, along with their median salaries per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, include:

By emphasizing effective research, thoughtful analysis and persuasive communication, you will learn how to investigate visual culture and apply your findings to other disciplines.

Featured courses:

  • Art from Prehistory Through Middle Ages.
  • Art of Asia.
  • History of Photography.
  • Research Methods.


Bachelor of Fine Arts in art – digital photography

The courses in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in art with a concentration in digital photography program center on digital photography, visual art, aesthetics, printmaking and conceptual thinking. This type of art concentration is ideal for those looking to pursue careers creating, editing or animating photography and video work. The concentration supports these career aspirations by developing visual literacy competencies and teaching students how to operate graphic design and video editing software.

Career opportunities for students who choose to pursue digital photography, along with their median salaries per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, include:

This type of art degree is based on a studio model — a hands-on learning environment instead of a traditional lecture-style approach — so you can build valuable experience working in a creative environment and receiving feedback on your assignments. The program culminates in a final portfolio review and cohesive artist statement, which you can use in your career search or when submitting to exhibitions.

Featured courses:

  • Advanced Digital Photography.
  • Photo Editing.
  • Traditional Genres: Photographing Place and Space.

Learn about representation and identity in photography

In ASU Online’s Representation and Identity in Photography course, learn how culture and society are influenced by images. You’ll gain an understanding of your responsibility and power in capturing the experiences of different communities.

Bachelor of Arts in art – museum studies

The Bachelor of Arts in art with a concentration in museum studies builds a comprehensive understanding of how museums are designed, organized and managed. By studying global, historical and theoretical museum elements, you can compete for jobs at local, national and international institutions, such as historic centers, botanical gardens, zoos, preservation societies and cultural institutions. 

Some of the most prominent careers graduates pursue, along with their respective median salaries per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, include:

Similar to the art history program, this concentration in museum studies involves becoming proficient in artistic concepts. The key differentiator within this program is the application of these concepts to museum operations. 

Featured courses:

  • Art from Renaissance to Modernism.
  • Curatorial Activism.
  • Museums: Meaning and Function.
  • Upper Division Professional Practice/Museology.


Selecting the right art concentration for you

Art is a broad field, and each of our programs differ in their focus areas, key courses, career outcomes and more. When determining which one is right for you, consider:

  • Your career objectives: Where do you want your degree to take you?
  • Your current skill set: What do you excel in?
  • Your personal interests: What are your passions, and how can you apply them to your future career?

Our ASU Online advisors can help you navigate this decision and understand how you can make the most of your studies.

We’re proud to offer several artistic programs in addition to these three distinct art concentrations for those looking to become creative professionals. If you’re interested in learning more about the different online programs ASU offers, explore all of our art and design degrees.


About ASU Online

Earn your degree completely online from the nation's most innovative university. ASU Online offers more than 300 degree programs and certificates in high-demand areas such as nursing, engineering, business, education and more. Explore all of our areas of study.

Our offerings include:

  • Elite expertise and research.
  • Innovative curriculum design.
  • Superior student support services.

Learn more at our about us page. And follow ASU Online on Facebook, YouTube, X and Instagram, and connect with us on LinkedIn.

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