Courses and Curriculum
As a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) student, you’ll have access to a broad range of courses taught within the College of Liberal Arts and have choices from throughout the School of Arts and Sciences. Upon acceptance into the program, you will be assigned an advisor who will help you choose your coursework.
To earn the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Penn, you must complete the 90-credit, three-year program at PAFA, as well as a minimum of 16 course units (c.u.)* at Penn.
Curriculum requirements at Penn include the completion of four course units chosen from within the History of Art Department and 12 free electives chosen from throughout the School of Arts and Sciences.
Participation in the joint Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program is a unique opportunity designed with specific curricular goals. As a result, some types of courses cannot be counted toward your degree. These include:
- Other Penn courses outside the School of Arts & Sciences (the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Wharton School of Business, the School of Nursing, etc.)
- Studio-based courses offered by or cross-listed with the Fine Arts department at Penn
- Courses from any other educational institution
As a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree student, you may wish to complete a minor chosen from within the School of Arts and Sciences offerings. The number of courses required to complete a minor varies between departments but is usually between six and eight courses. If you would like to explore the possibility of minoring, please be sure to consult with your academic advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and an advisor in your minor department of interest. Once you have declared a minor, you will have a minor advisor assigned to you, who will provide guidance with appropriate course selection to meet requirements.
*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). Generally, a 1 c.u. course at Penn is equivalent to a three or four semester hour course elsewhere. In general, the average course offered at Penn is listed as being worth 1 c.u.; courses that include a lecture and a lab are often worth 1.5 c.u.s.