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Art History Universities and Colleges in the U.S.

Instruction in art history is typically offered through a university or college's fine arts department or through its college of liberal arts. In these programs, students may be trained in art criticism, aesthetics or museum curation. Students selecting an art history school often take into account the degree levels offered, potential areas of specialization and degree requirements.

Art history is a broad-reaching field of study that is offered through many programs at a great number of schools. Credentials for art historians are commonly available at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

Top Fine Arts Schools

According to US News, seven of the highest-ranked schools in the country for fine arts are:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
Yale University New Haven, CT 4-year, private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Postgraduate Certificate $47,600
University of California--Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $12,763 in-state, $37,471 out-of-state
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA 4-year, public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $12,772 in-state, $31,464 out-of-state
Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI 4-year, private Bachelor's, Master's $45,840
School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL 4-year, private Bachelor's, Master's $43,960
Columbia University New York, NY 4-year, private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, Postgraduate certificate $53,000
Alfred University - New York State College of Ceramics Alfred, NY 4-year, private Bachelor's $26,261

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics and school websites

School Selection Criteria

When selecting a school for art history, students may also consider:

  • There are many areas of study within art history and so students should choose a school with a curriculum that is relevant to their interests.
  • Degree requirements may vary from school to school; for example, some art history programs require students to take coursework in at least one foreign language.
  • Some schools may have learning abroad opportunities for art history students.
  • Some universities have on-campus art museums and galleries, so potential students may look for schools with collections that align with their interests.

Art history degree programs can be found at a number of universities and curriculums can vary widely. Students should choose an art history program based on a number of relevant factors, such as location, tuition rates, and access to galleries and related artistic institutions.

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