In general, fully-online master's-level art history degree programs are rare. Online master's programs in art education or painting are available. It is possible to find online bachelor's degree programs in art history, though they aren't nearly as common as campus-based programs in art history. Applicants to an online bachelor's program may need an associate's degree in art history or an equivalent number of credits in order to enroll. These programs cover a variety of artistic styles and eras, and students learn to analyze works of art with a critical eye.
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Bachelor's Degree in Art History
Online bachelor's degree programs in art history are very rare. Those available are degree-completion programs for students who have earned an associate's degree in art history. Students in an art history program study the artists and patrons who defined particular epochs or artistic movements. They also learn to analyze works of art in terms of their form, subject matter and purpose while keeping abreast of current trends in art criticism. Additionally, students sharpen their research and communication skills, both written and verbal.
Program Information and Requirements
Not all courses in an art history bachelor's degree-completion program may be completed online; some are only available in a traditional classroom. Online course content is presented through illustrated lectures, videos, slide shows, readings and online chats. All materials are accessible through a school's website at a student's convenience. However, students must complete assignments by specified deadlines.
Schools may use educational content management systems, such as Desire2Learn, to facilitate their online art history courses. Students need a multimedia-enabled personal computer, Internet access and basic productivity software to take part in an online program.
List of Common Art History Courses
Online bachelor's degree programs include a general education component, core art history courses and electives. Students may also have to study a minor or a foreign language.
Ancient to Medieval Art
This course surveys the forms of architecture, painting and sculpture produced in Europe from the pre-Hellenic era through the Middle Ages. Art is analyzed in terms of its iconography, symbolism and aesthetic value.
Native American Art
Students in this course examine the art created by indigenous peoples of the American continent - North, Central and South - from the pre-Columbian era to the present. Art forms covered include architecture, crafts, painting and sculpture.
The pottery, painting, architecture and other art produced in Japan, China and India are the subject of this course. Coursework emphasizes major styles of art and central influences to the Oriental aesthetic.
This course engages in a comprehensive examination of art from the 19th century to the present. Using the work of significant artists as reference points, the syllabus focuses on aesthetic value, cultural context and major artistic movements.
Career Information for Art History Graduates
An online bachelor's degree in art history does not correspond directly to any particular career. Entry-level administrative support positions as museum technicians or art gallery assistants are among the likely employment options for those who have just graduated. In time, these could lead to positions as archivists and curators.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment of archivists would increase 7%, employment of curators 8%, and that of museum technicians and conservators 5% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, as of May 2015, the median annual salary for archivists was $50,250, while museum technicians and conservators earned a median of $40,340 and curators earned a median of $51,520.
Continuing Education Information
People holding a bachelor's degree in art history who want some form of career in the arts can improve their career prospects if they earn a master's degree or a doctoral degree in art history. Schools are unlikely to offer these degree programs online, however.
Fully online programs in art history are more common at the bachelor's degree level, and cover topics in modern art, ancient art and various cultural arts. Graduates of these programs can find work as archivists, curators and museum technicians, or may choose to pursue a graduate degree in the field.