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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Art History

Majors Overview April 9, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in art history and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Art History

Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in art history are taught about the ways in which politics, culture, and history can influence the production of art.

They learn about analyzing a piece of art, understanding the artist, and explaining the cultural and historical significance of the work. Accordingly, coursework includes topic areas such as economics, cultural studies, politics, and history.

Students also learn the most effective methods of applying contemporary methods and knowledge related to art created in the past. Art history students enrolled in many programs are required to take courses in sculpting, drawing, or painting that are aimed at helping them develop a keener grasp of artistic techniques.

With a bachelor’s degree in art history, a graduate can seek employment in numerous art-related jobs at the mid-management or entry level. They are commonly employed by newspaper or magazine publishers, art galleries, and museums, among others. Continuing education in graduate school would enable graduates to advance their opportunities for study abroad, teaching positions, and research.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, in addition to submitting a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and standardized test scores. Preference for admission is given to those making strong personal statements that show an aptitude and appreciation for art, in addition to having past involvement in the field.


History and theoretical classes are typically available among the courses in this degree program. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Medieval art
•Body art
•Renaissance painters
•Chinese art

Career Choices

Advanced degrees are requirements for the pursuit of many of the most sought-after careers in this field; hence, the option of enrollment in graduate school is often preferred by graduates with a bachelor’s degree. Graduates may also choose other positions in the field of art. These include:

•Art critic
•Art website or journal editor
•Tour guide
•Museum curator
•Museum administrator

Continuing Education Choices

Advanced degrees may be available for those who aspire for leadership positions. Graduate degrees in art history at the master’s and doctorate level are available through some schools. Research is the primary focus of these programs, as is the case with several graduate degree programs in the humanities.

Students in some top programs are required to participate in study abroad programs to learn about various types of art. While master’s degree program graduates may commonly seek occupations in museums, doctorate degrees holders often pursue teaching careers.

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