Students interested in obtaining a Master's or a Ph.D. in Egyptian Art History need at least a bachelor's degree, often in a related field like art history. Throughout the program, attention is almost equally divided between ancient Egyptian art and language forms such as hieratic, Coptic and Demotic scripts. The culture of ancient Egypt is also highlighted because so much of the artwork of the time is related to religious and political propaganda. Most programs also have language prerequisites in either German or French, while others require one of the Near-Eastern languages.
Master's Degree in Egyptian Art History
To study Egyptian art, students need a background that enables them to understand the political, social and religious implications of the artists' work. This master's degree program paints a holistic picture, including the languages of the earliest researchers and historians. Lessons cover Greek and Roman influences on the mid to latter eras of ancient Egyptian art. Some schools require the student to perform an internship in either art or archaeology platforms. Acquiring a master's degree is generally considered a stepping-stone to completing a doctoral degree program.
Aspiring students may apply for acceptance after demonstrating a foundation in a related topic, such as art history, archaeology or history. Ancient Greek and Latin studies are not required, but encouraged. One school requires would-be students to pass a monument identification examination.
Courses include such topics as:
- Ptolemaic era, Pharaohs' Egypt
- Old-Middle Kingdom Egyptian art, ancient Egyptian literature
- History of the Near East, Egyptian religion and mythology
- 1- and 2-dimensional Egyptian wall art, cultural uses of ancient Egyptian art
- The roles of women in ancient Egyptian society
Ph.D. in Egyptian Art History
There are very few colleges or universities in the United States that offer doctorates in Egyptian art history, but there are programs in related disciplines. These degrees focus on archaeology, Eastern history or art history while including Egyptian art history as part of the degree package. Study of art and archaeology teaches the student skills in identification, preservation and research. Fieldwork is encouraged in these programs. Courses for this program are interdisciplinary and primarily are conducted as a combination of seminars and directed fieldwork either in museums or architectural dig sites.
Classes cover such topics as:
- Dynastic archaeological research
- Archaeology in the Near East
- Art conservation
- Wall paintings of ancient Egypt
- Art history teaching
Graduate degrees in Egyptian art history can lead to careers beyond art historian. Some career possibilities include:
- Egyptology specialist
- Museum curator
- College professor
No employment information is currently available for Egyptian art historians; however, related fields offer some insight. Museum curator and conservator jobs are expected to increase by 9% from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Employment for college professors is predicted to increase by 11% for the same time period. Competition is predicted to be keen for these jobs, and those with Ph.D.s are expected to fare better overall.
Programs in Egyptian art history are limited, but students interested in the subject can pursue a master's degree or a Ph.D. The demand for curators, conservators and college professors with these advanced degrees will grow over time.