Best Schools with Art History Degree Programs

Jul 24, 2018

Learn about degree programs in art history, which typically include the study of painting and sculpture from prehistoric times through the present day. Find out what some of the top schools have to offer in terms of content and reputation, as well as what's available at other schools that offer programs in art history.

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  • 0:04 School Overviews
  • 0:42 University of Pennsylvania
  • 1:20 Brown University
  • 2:14 New York University
  • 2:52 Baylor University
  • 3:26 Top Art History Programs

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School Overviews

Some of the best schools with art history programs include the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, New York University, and Baylor University. Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees are available from these programs. The four universities profiled here include two Ivy League institutions. All four offer undergraduate programs in art history, while two also offer graduate programs. Special program features include the opportunity to study historical manuscripts and multicultural art or study abroad. All four schools are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

University of Pennsylvania

This Ivy League university in Philadelphia, also known as Penn, tied for 8th on U.S. News and World Report's 2016 list of top national universities. The Department of the History of Art offers a Bachelor of Arts in the History of Art. Students study paintings, sculptures and manuscripts from prehistoric times through modern day. Penn also offers a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy in the History of Art. In conjunction with the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Arthur Ross Gallery, student seminars and student-organized exhibitions are available at this university.

Brown University in Providence, RI

Brown ranked 14th on U.S. News and World Report's 2016 list of America's top national universities. The History of Art and Architecture Department offers an undergraduate history of art and architecture major and an undergraduate architectural studies major. Students in both programs study a foreign language and have the opportunity to participate in a 5-week study abroad program. Courses are offered in art and design and can help students acquire an understanding of museum work, historical preservation, and architecture.

Brown's graduate program in art history culminates in a PhD in the history of art and architecture. The art history department at Brown offers numerous educational resources to students, such as collaborations with the David Winton Bell Gallery, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, and the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design.

New York University in New York, NY

New York University (known as NYU) is located in New York City's island borough of Manhattan. NYU is ranked 36th on the 2016 U.S. News and World Report list of national universities. The Department of Art History offers a BA in art history and a BA in urban design and architecture studies. Students study works of art and become familiar with the historical terminology used in teaching and museum work. Students also have the opportunity to join the University's Fine Arts Society, which organizes museum tours, symposia, and film screenings for students and other art enthusiasts.

Baylor University in Waco, TX

Baylor University tied for 71st place on the 2016 U.S. News & World Report list of the country's best national universities. The school offers an undergraduate art history program and students can take advantage of multiple study abroad opportunities offered by the art department. Research opportunities are available in this program in areas including archaeology, and world-renowned scholars, historians, and researchers are brought in by the department to lecture students. The Martin Museum of Art is on campus and occasionally showcases student and faculty art.

Top Art History Programs

Other top schools with art history programs include these institutions:

School Name Location Distinction
Dartmouth College Hanover, NH Offers a study abroad program in Rome for art history students
Duke University Durham, NC Offers two PhD programs, a Master of Fine Arts, a Master of Arts, and a dual JD/MA in various art history fields
Stanford University Stanford, CA The art department has four galleries in which students can work and show their own artwork
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA The on-campus Fisher Museum of Art displays works from 16th-century through contemporary local artists
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN Offers annual art history lectures sponsored by the Goldberg estate
Yale University New Haven, CT Has numerous libraries, museums, and centers related to art and art history

Aspiring art historians can consider programs at top schools, which include features like study abroad and research opportunities. Other benefits of these programs include facilities like museums and galleries and the opportunity to study a foreign language.

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