Online Graduate Degrees in Art History: Learning Options

Get information about online graduate degrees in art history. Read about program requirements, course descriptions and details, as well as career and continuing education options.

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Essential Information

Online master's degree programs in art history are not available, but fully online master's degree programs in art education include some coursework in art history. These programs are sometimes designed for aspiring art teachers, though many are only offered to currently licensed teachers. The minimum admissions requirements usually include a bachelor's degree and a creative portfolio.

Teachers in public schools are required to be licensed, and licensing requirements vary by state. Students should look into state-specific regulations before choosing a program.

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Master of Arts in Art Education

This is a professional degree program designed for individuals who have their sights set on teaching art at the K-12 grade levels. Courses in art history are an integral part of the program. The program operates under the premise that art has an influence on the quality and appreciation of those whose lives it touches. Completion of the program enables graduates to have a hand in the development and enrichment of the lives of young people. By completion of the online master's program, graduates refine their competence as artists, teachers and researchers.

Applicants are required to possess an undergraduate degree and meet the admissions requirements of the graduate school of the university. Depending on the school, there may be a GRE requirement. In most cases, applicants must have evidence of studio experience, which may include a portfolio. In some institutions, applicants must already have acquired a teaching license prior to admission to the program.

Program Information and Requirements

Depending on the program, students may complete the required online regimen in anywhere from 2 to 6 years. The program is presented entirely online, which means no in-person work is required. Students communicate with each other and instructors by way of e-mail, discussion forums, and Blackboard software. Assignments may be posted on the program's Website, appear in printed material, or be accessed through a CD or DVD. In terms of technology, requirements are minimal; students usually only need a computer with Internet access.

List of Common Art History Courses

Courses in art history make up a portion of the requirements for an online master's in art education. A typical program consists of 33-36 credit hours, depending on whether the student opts to complete a thesis. Usually, at least 15 credit hours are devoted to art history.

19th Century Art

This is a survey course of art in Europe and America during the 19th century. Among the schools of art covered are Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Realism, Neoclassicism and Romanticism.

Native American Art

This course deals with how works of art created by Native American artists played a part in the religious rituals and common, everyday life of pre- and post-Columbian North American society. Among the areas stressed are the impact and influence of the arrival of Europeans.

Women in Art

A chronological survey from prehistory through the present, this course examines the artistic roles played by women in various time periods. Different societal issues of each era are analyzed from the point of view of the female's involvement in the world of art.

French Art

This course usually covers French painting from the latter part of the 17th century through the 18th century. Major artists, theories, movements and other issues of various movements developed at the time are examined and analyzed, along with their impact on the development of European fashion and custom on the whole.

Regional Art

Focusing on regional American art of the 19th and 20th centuries, students learn how regional art can relate to the development of Western society. Special emphasis is placed on the unique aspects of regional art and art forms as a reflection of the tenor of the times.


Career Information

Students with a Master of Arts in Art Education who complete a student-teaching experience are qualified to teach art at any level from K-12. Students may wish to pursue additional standalone courses that focus on other historical eras in art. In addition to academia, graduates may be qualified for employment in such areas as museum work, publishing, writing, retail, consultation or government work.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment opportunities for kindergarten and elementary school teachers will increase by 6%, about as fast as the average for all occupations, from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the average annual salary for elementary teachers was $57,730. The BLS reported that employment of museum technicians and conservators is expected to increase at 5% over the same time period. The May 2015 average annual wage for museum technicians and conservators was $44,880 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education

All states require that K-12 teachers be certified and licensed. Certification can be earned by taking teacher preparation courses, which include a period of supervised student teaching, then sitting for the appropriate examinations. Licenses are issued on a state-by-state basis. Further professional development courses are required to keep licensure current.

While students may not be able to find master's degree programs in art history online, it is possible to take courses in the subject as part of an online master's degree program in art education. Students study the art that has been produced in many historical eras and regions of the world; they also gain the instructional skills needed to become school art teachers.

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