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What Is the Curriculum of an Art History Degree Program?

Art history degree programs are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Read below to find out more about the typical curriculum of an art history degree program, including descriptions of a couple common classes.

Art History Degree Programs Overview

A degree program in art history introduces students to the historical relevance of art and provides them with the tools necessary to analyze both classical and modern works of art. While artists most often pursue the degree, an art history degree may also be attractive to non-artists who have a keen interest in history. Such a program equips students with the skills necessary to seek employment in a variety of positions, such as museum curator, art restoration specialist, art buyer and college professor.

Most bachelor's degree programs require students to complete general education coursework as well as foundational art classes covering form, space, color and artistic elements. Students take a set of major art history courses and round out their studies through a selection of electives. Master's degree students may have a few required courses, though they have more freedom in designing their curriculum, and they may even be able to select a specialization.

Important Facts About Art History Degree Programs

Concentrations Architectural studies, history of art and architecture
Possible Careers Historian, art consultant, art teacher, associate editor, corporate librarian, event coordinator, executive assistant, research assistant, special events associate
Prerequisites Generally, a high school diploma or it's equivalent with standardized test scores for a bachelor's
Degree Fields Art history and visual studies, art history and criticism, art history and archaeology
Median Salary (2020) $63,100 (for historians)*
Job Outlook (2019-2029) 3% (for historians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Introduction to Art History

This course is designed to provide students with a broad overview of art history. While the art of many cultures is studied, most courses focus mainly on Western Europe art. Many time periods are investigated, including Renaissance and Medieval. Great emphasis is placed upon the variety of perspectives from which the history of art may be studied.

Methods and Theories of Art History

In this art history course, students are introduced to the many critical writings that have helped form the history of art. Texts written on a variety of topics are examined, including feminism, social history and gender studies.

Specializations

Art history specializations and elective areas include Asian art, Latin American art, art and architecture, portraiture, impressionism and digital art. Students may also have the chance to complete an independent study, study abroad and intern at the museum. Below are descriptions for a couple of core courses typically included in an art history degree program.