Art History Degree Programs and Career Facts

A degree program in art history can help to prepare you for a career as an art critic, auctioneer, gallery owner or museum curator. Learn about degree levels, career opportunities and options for online study. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Art history degree programs are widely available at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. In all of these programs, you'll explore the work of major artists and artistic movements through classroom-based lectures and hands-on experiences. Undergraduate programs can lead to entry-level careers in museums or galleries, while graduate-level training is typically required for work as an archivist or curator.

Degrees Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in art history
Online A few programs are available fully online
Careers Art critic, art educator, tour guide, curator, archivist, historic preservationist

What Will I Learn in an Art History Program?

Degree programs in art history can help you understand how artists and artistic periods developed within a cultural context. You'll become familiar with a variety of major artists, movements and styles while developing your analytical and research skills. You'll also acquire an interdisciplinary background in anthropology, philosophy and political science and study their relationship to art history.

As an art history student, you can attend guest lectures by working artists and critics, learn how to curate for a museum and participate in faculty research projects. You may also have the opportunity to publish articles in professional journals. Career training is available through internships and workshops.

What Are the Requirements?

Associate's degree programs usually take two years to complete and include surveys of major artists and historical periods, along with an introduction to art analysis. Graduates who transfer to a bachelor's program enjoy opportunities for more in-depth studies, as well as access to professional experiences and the opportunity to work on self-guided projects.

A master's program can usually be completed in two years and can include directed readings, seminars and a thesis. Doctoral programs may require 4-8 years of course and dissertation work and provide students with the advanced academic training and scholarship skills they need to pursue positions in research and teaching.

What Are Some Career Options?

Because of its emphasis on interdisciplinary study and research, completion of an art history program can help to qualify you for a number of different careers. Entry-level positions may be obtained with a bachelor's degree, but an advanced degree may be required for more specialized jobs. Career options for graduates of an art history program include:

  • Archivist
  • Art conservator or curator
  • Art critic or writer
  • Art educator
  • Historic preservation specialist
  • Museum director
  • Researcher
  • Tour guide

Is Online Learning Available?

Although limited in number, some schools offer associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs in art history online. Technical requirements include a computer with high-speed Internet access and a current Web browser. Lectures are viewed online, and assignments and exams are received and submitted electronically. Communication with teachers and other students takes place through chat rooms, discussion forums and live video conferences.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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