Tue, 13 Apr 2021

Arts Abroad

Posted on Monday, November 20, 2017

Karan Gupta, international education consultant, takes you through the changes in Fine Arts and architecture education overseas in a conversation with Anisha Sahijwala

For the longest time, Fine Arts was viewed as one of those courses done by academically weak students. And most students who wished to study Fine Arts wondered if they would get a job after completing the course. Over the last few years, the perception of Fine Arts has changed and many students are exploring options overseas.

Traditionally, Fine Arts included painting, sculpture, architecture, music, poetry, theatre and dance. Today, Fine Arts includes film, photography and the visual arts. The most popular Fine Arts courses 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 Overseas

Architecture is offered at the Bachelor’s and Master’s level by several institutes in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and several countries in Europe. Typically, a Bachelor’s programme can be completed in five years and while students should have mathematics 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, to name a few. 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 (CoA) or else you would not be a recognised architect when you return home.


­Film Studies

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, New York University, Beijing Film Academy, Centro De Capacitacion Cinematografica (Mexico), Centro Sperimentalde Di Cinematografia (Italy), Film And TV School of Academy of Performing Arts (Prague), The Film Academy (Austria), Film Academy Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany), Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (Russia), Australian Film, Television and Radio School, among others. Students who study film-making almost always return home as getting jobs abroad in this field is difficult.


­Photography Courses

Students who wish to pursue a career in photography will attend classes involving visual voice in analog photography, contemporary problems with digital photography, capturing light and writing for visual arts. Some of the known universities across the globe include Yale, University of California LA, School of Visual Arts and the School of Art Institute of Chicago.


­Performing Arts

Performing arts include dance, theatre and music and all these streams can be pursued as degrees at the Bachelor’s and Master’s 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 some of 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.


­Portfolio Requirement

In addition to standardised tests such as SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) or ACT at the undergraduate level, and the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) at the graduate level, and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) 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, standardised 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 10 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 is chosen by a relatively small percentage of students. It is a good idea to do 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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