Art History Degree Online: University and Program Overviews

Essential Information

Degrees in art history allow students to examine past artistic works and trends. Degrees are offered at a number of universities at both the graduate and undergraduate level, and many can be found fully online. Some art history courses can be studied as a part of an art education or art history major.

Online students generally work through lessons at their own pace. They use e-mail, discussion forums and virtual course management software to communicate with faculty members and peers and complete assignments. Distance learning tutorials and online student orientations are typically available for new students. Students who are interested in graduate degree programs in art history will need to have already completed a bachelor's degree in an art-related field.

Mansfield University

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania is a public institution that has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1942. According to tuition rates for the summer 2016 session, undergraduate Pennsylvania residents taking online courses could expect to pay $294 per credit, while non-residents were responsible for $485 per credit. Additional education and technology fees applied.

Bachelor of Arts in Art History

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania offers this undergraduate degree-completion program. Since limited general education courses are available online, students should have already completed these and be focused on taking core classes for the major, all of which are available online. Most students enroll in this program part-time, but full-time status may be granted should enough classes become available.


An academic minor is required for online art history majors, although students do have an alternative option to take a minimum of two years of a foreign language with proficiency. In addition, art history students learn about various cultures and eras and pursue studies in the following topics:

  • Aesthetics
  • Eastern and Western philosophies of art
  • History and development of artistic movements
  • Art criticism
  • Art and gender
  • Sculpture
  • Painting
  • Architecture
  • Handicrafts

University of Nebraska-Kearney

In 2016, U.S. News and World Report ranked this institution as 11th among top public schools in the country. For the 2015-16 school year, in-state tuition for online graduate students ran $303 per credit and $468 for non-residents.

With a strong emphasis on art history, the University of Nebraska at Kearney offers a 36-credit-hour online Master of Arts in Art Education with an emphasis option in museum education or classroom education. However, this program is not designed to lead to art teacher certification.

Master of Arts in Art Education

Interested applicants should possess a bachelor's degree in art education, visual arts, art history or museum studies. Throughout this online series, students complete studies in the subjects listed below; to complete this program, a final research paper is also required.


Students enrolled in this program can expect to take courses in the following subjects:

  • Art theory
  • Practice of art education
  • Art criticism
  • Multicultural art
  • Philosophy of art
  • 19th-century art
  • Nebraska art history
  • Women in the arts
  • Special topics in art history

Arizona State University

Arizona State boasts four campuses and a collective undergraduate population of 39,968, one of the largest in the nation. The school also features a formidable online presence - it was ranked as the 11th best online undergraduate school in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. The university offers a wide range of degree programs in a number of academic fields, including art history.

Bachelor of Arts in Art History

Arizona State's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts offers a degree program that features a comprehensive curriculum devoted to the understanding, patronage, and production of art. Courses in this program analyze art history from a number of perspectives, and the school's experienced faculty offer plenty of valuable experience and knowledge.


Topics in the Arizona State curriculum include:

  • Renaissance art
  • Photography
  • Asian art
  • Art in the 20th century
  • Baroque art
  • Art from Oceania

Art history degree programs are widely available to those who prefer online-only study, though some undergraduate programs will require the completion of general education classes that aren't so easily found online. At the graduate level, applicants need to have a bachelor's degree in one of several fields relating to art, such as art education, art history or museum studies.

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