Asian Art Degree Programs with Course Information

Asian art degrees give students a thorough overview of the history, techniques and culture of artists in the East. Doctoral applicants will need to speak at least one Asian language in order to study this program.

Essential Information

Bachelor's and master's programs may prepare students for work as museum technicians or docents; students who complete additional education-related training may become elementary, middle or secondary school teachers. Doctoral programs are often designed for aspiring researchers or university professors. Taking some time to study abroad is encouraged through most of these programs. To apply for the bachelor's degree program, students will need a high school diploma or GED, while master's program applicants will need a bachelor's degree and GRE scores. Doctoral candidates will also need GRE scores and will require students to have fluency in at least two languages, one of which will need to be from an Asian country.

Bachelor's Degree in Eastern Art

A 4-year undergraduate degree in Eastern art is the starting point for students interested in Asian art. This not only gives students a broader experience in their studies, but it can open doors for job opportunities.

Courses vary program to program, but the following topics are commonly addressed:

  • Japanese art
  • Chinese art
  • Devotional art
  • Raga singing
  • Mindful practice
  • Critiques of modern Eastern art

Master's Degree in Eastern Art

Obtaining a master's degree in Eastern art prepares graduates to address advanced topics and focus on particular areas of interest, such as Buddhist art, museum studies, pictorial art, song painting and more. A master's program typically takes at least two years to complete.

In addition to an extensive study program in an Asian country, students may study the following topics:

  • Auction houses and art markets
  • Museum studies
  • Ritual art
  • Organization and administration

Doctorate in Eastern Art

The doctoral degree is for individuals who can contribute to the academic world of Eastern philosophy, Asian history, art history, politics, culture and language. Most programs will take at least three years to complete.

Doctoral students are expected to take part in several research projects that are of publishable quality. In addition, students will study topics such as the following:

  • Chinese Buddhism
  • Japanese Buddhism
  • Edo and Qing painting
  • Ming literature and painting
  • Song painting and Muromachi
  • Heian and Kamakura

Popular Career Options

With a degree in Eastern art, graduates may go on to many careers, including the following:

  • Artists
  • Art teachers
  • Museum technicians
  • Museum conservators

Salary and Employment Outlook

Museum technician and conservators earned a mean income of $44,880 per year in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

With a master's degree, graduates of an Eastern art program may act as specialists for museums, galleries, auction houses or academic institutions. Many graduates will obtain careers such as curators or archivists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report in May 2015, the mean annual salary for museum curators was $56,990. In the same report, the mean salary for archivists was $53,880.

Graduates of a doctoral program in Eastern art can become full-time university professors or take part in scholarly research projects in the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website, the mean annual salary for full-time university art professors was $76,710 in May 2015. In addition to holding professorial positions, doctoral program graduates may become highly respected authors, organizational leaders, professional consultants and program directors.

Asian art degree programs give students the opportunity to learn extensively about Eastern art, possibly with a study abroad component. Students will learn about many different cultural and artistic practices within Asia and may go on to work within academia or in other culturally-orientated institutions, such as museums.

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