Art History & Library Science Dual Degree

Aug 05, 2019

Those wishing to become a librarian with a specialization in art history may consider a dual art history and library science degree program. Learn more about the common coursework and entrance requirements for dual degree programs of this type.

If your career goal is to become a librarian with a focus on art, then attending a dual degree program in art history and library science may be the perfect choice for you. These types of dual degree programs will earn you both a Master of Arts (MA) in Art History and Master of Library Science (MLS). In this article, we will take a close look at some of the core coursework you may take during your dual degree program and at some of the common entrance requirements.

Common Coursework for Art History and Library Science Programs

It's important to note that your exact coursework will probably vary with each school's program. While there are some common classes across the MA in Art History and the MLS degree, which we will discuss below, you will also need to take various electives across both degrees that could be in a number of different topics.

Methods in Art History

A methods of art history course might explore the critical writing, visual, reading, and analysis skills you need for studying and writing about art in an academic setting. This is usually a wide-ranging course that aims to prepare you to succeed in your other graduate art classes by teaching you the various theories of art history. You could cover a wide range of topics, including gender theory, post-colonialism, race studies, aesthetics, and formalism, and how to apply these theories to different works of art.

Problems in Art History

Problems in art history is a course that could cover a range of different topics in the realm of art history, including a particular artist, artistic movement, or type of art. The exact subject of the course will depend on the course offerings of your program, and you sometimes will need to take this type of course several times with each offering focusing on a different topic. One example of a representative topic could be the problems in American art with a focus on American monuments and the controversies surrounding them. In this course, you might examine literature, theories, and case studies that examine the role of American monuments, especially Confederate monuments, in modern times.

Topics in Ancient Art

You most likely will take a course on ancient art that could focus on Greek paintings and architecture, Roman sculptures, monumental paintings of Greeks or Romans, or Mycenaean art and architecture. The exact topics covered in this kind of course will, again, vary by individual program, and the format of the class might be lecture-based. You could also cover specific artworks and movements in pre-history, Egypt, and the far east.

Organization of Information

For your MLS degree you will most likely need to take a course on the organization of information, which will focus on the different principles, theories, and tools of organizing large sets of information. The purpose of this class may be to address the basics of cataloging and indexing information, including bibliographic data. Some of these courses will also take a look at specific cataloging systems, including the Dewey Decimal Classification, the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, the Dublin Core, and the Library of Congress Classification.


A course that focuses on the different concepts and parts of metadata, including database documentation and bibliographic descriptive cataloging, is another common piece of the MLS degree. This kind of course might provide in-depth exploration of how to develop knowledge systems that are routinely used in library science. You might also study new and emerging standards and practices for metadata development and application.

Human Information-Computer Interactions

Finally, you could take a class that closely studies the way humans interact with and use technology and computers to access information. You might look at the cognitive and social factors that affect the way people interact with computers. Other concepts you may study include the usability of library-related technologies and how a library professional acts as a mediator in the human-computer interaction.

Common Entrance Requirements

To apply to a dual MA in Art History and library science degree program you will typically need to submit an application, transcripts, personal essay, and resume. You will commonly also be asked to submit GRE test scores. For most dual degree programs of this type, you will apply to and be accepted by both programs separately. Some, but not all programs, will allow you to apply for the dual program after you've been accepted to the other or have already done some coursework for one program.

Dual MA in Art History and MLS degree programs often have a somewhat similar set of core coursework, and you will usually need to meet the requirements of both degrees. These programs also have similar entrance requirements where you will need to apply to each degree program separately.

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