Art History Major: Information and Requirements

Art history majors learn how to analyze a piece of art, understand the artist and explain the historical and cultural significance of the work. Students also learn to apply contemporary knowledge and methods to art created in the past.

Essential Information

Earning a 4-year bachelor's degree in art history enables a person to work in a number of art-related jobs at the entry- or mid-management level. Prerequisites include a high school diploma, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and personal statement showing a strong appreciation and aptitude for art.

Common employers of art history graduates include museums, art galleries, and magazine or newspaper publishers. Graduates can also advance their opportunities for research and teaching positions, as well as study abroad, by going on to graduate school.

Bachelor Degree in Art History

Students often take courses in history, politics, cultural studies and economics. They also take classes in painting, drawing or sculpting to help them develop a keen sense of artistic techniques. Courses might include:

  • Body art
  • Medieval art
  • Architecture
  • Impressionism
  • Chinese art
  • Renaissance painters

Popular Career Options

Many of the most sought-after careers in this field require advanced degrees, so graduates with a bachelor's degree often opt to enroll in graduate school. Graduates, however, can work in other positions in the field of art. These positions can include:

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

Continuing Education

Those wishing to secure leadership positions may pursue advanced degrees. Art history graduate degrees are available at the master's and doctoral levels. Like many graduate degree programs in the humanities, they typically focus on research. Some top programs require, and often pay for, students to travel to other areas of the world to study various types of art. Those graduating with a master's degree commonly find employment in museums, while those with doctoral degrees often teach.

A bachelor's degree in art history includes courses in topics ranging from history and politics to medieval art and architecture to prepare students to go on to graduate school or entry-level positions with museums, art galleries or publishers.

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