Fine art, or also known as «the fine arts», is the creation of aesthetically pleasing or conceptually driven works without regard to or emphasis on utility. This kind of philosophy is also known as «creating art for art’s sake». As old as civilization itself, art began as depictions of images on cave walls, the design of buildings, decorations on pottery, and the creation of jewellery. At first, the study of fine art was only limited to architecture, sculpture, engraving, and painting, but in the advent of modern times, the range of fine art has increased to encompass a wide variety of disciplines. The following are a list of various majors and specializations one can find in today’s fine arts departments and faculties of fine art: studio systems, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, stained glass, installation/public art, art history, music, dance, film, cultural studies, theatre, art education, creative arts therapies, design and computation arts, advertising, animation, comic art, furniture design, graphic design, illustration, photography, print paper book, web and multimedia environments, jewellery, set and costume design, production/screenwriting, stage playwriting, and creative writing.

Some of the above listed categories can be found in regular arts programs or in specialized programs of their own. However, the «fine» signifier in «fine arts» describes the purity of form or discipline and places particular emphasis on studio work—hours spent creating as opposed to studying another’s work and dissecting it. For example, to obtain a degree in music, a prospective student may go to the Department of Music of their university, though the actual diploma would certify them as having a Bachelor of Arts. However, another university may have a Music major option both in Fine Arts and in the Arts. The difference between the two is that there’s more theory in the regular Music BA and more practice in the Music BFA. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music option is meant to prepare the student in a professional performance career, so the courses are geared towards honing and excelling their craft for public consumption and as a livelihood.

Fine Arts degrees are usually awarded in three levels: Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral. Primarily English-speaking countries, such as those found in North America, Britain, and Australia, have various criteria on awarding these degrees. Some countries even have a Bachelor of Creative Arts as the equivalent of a BFA. Others, particularly in Britain, have a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts. Australia is known for narrowing Fine Arts to just the visual aspect and have different specific degrees for other disciplines like dance or music. Undergraduate Fine Arts degrees should take four years for completion, though the amount of studio work required may extend that period. Masters in Fine Arts usually do not extend three years of study and typically have specializations in the performing arts, visual arts, film, and creative writing. MFAs are usually considered a terminal degree, but there are a few select programs that offer PhDs in that field. Some of these Doctoral Fine Arts programs either are a combination of studio work and theory, or require a substantial body of work created to be finished within three to five years.