DeBlogs > Tyler Esselman > bfa-ba-its-your-choice

BFA vs. BA: It's Your Choice

​So you’ve decided you want to major in theatre, huh? As a wise professor of mine would say, welcome to the group. As you, you budding theatre artist, will find out, if you intend to major in theatre, you’re going to have to choose between pursuing a BA or BFA. The Bachelor of Arts versus the Bachelor of Fine Arts essentially differentiates between a non-conservatory program and a conservatory program. And they each have their merits. 

Let me just preface this description by saying that The Theatre School here only offers a BFA in terms of an undergraduate theatre major. We do offer a theatre studies minor but the BFA’s all we got for majors. Just FYI. Anyway, the inclusion or exclusion of that F in your degree abbreviation is going to denote the volume of curricular theatre work you do. In admissions, we say it’s about an 80/20 split. 80% Theatre School classes and 20% liberal studies classes. In a BA program, that split is going to be slightly closer to even. In addition, the BFA is more focused in a particular field. For instance, the BFA in Acting focuses nearly all of its curriculum in acting related classes with the same being said for the BFA in Lighting Design, Sound Design, Playwriting, etc. You get the picture. The BA is going to have a much broader scope of curriculum. You might have the option to take a lot of classes in a variety of different branches of the theatre. That presents one of the advantages of a BA: it is more flexible and if you want to have a broader education in theatre that might be the option for you. It all depends on the college theatre experience you want to have! 

I’m very happy with choosing the conservatory path because I knew I wanted to have a very focused, pre-professional education in acting and TTS has given me just that. One of the best things about it is that it is a combination of abstract and technical. I am taking a movement class right now that is focused in the Michael Chekhov acting technique which is based on how we move our energy around on stage and how we can use the dynamics of our body and energy to great effect on stage. I’m also taking an audition technique class where we do mock auditions and learn in a very technical sense how to best audition for professional productions. Both are essential to a theatre artist, but very different in terms of how they fit into the actor’s toolbox. 

So you’ll have to decide which path is for you. As we all know, many very important theatre artists come from very different educational backgrounds and some from none at all but, in my opinion, having the hunger to learn the craft is the most important part. 

Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week: 

Some Blur for you this week. This one always gets stuck in my head for a good couple days after I hear it or think about it. Enjoy.