Online Art History Bachelor’s Degree

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Published July 2, 2019 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Art history programs introduce students to artistic movements, techniques, and trends that have occurred throughout history. Learners examine details of pieces, consider cultural contexts, and analyze artistic works for meaning. Students develop skills that are applicable to professions in the art history field and in other industries.

This guide details common career paths for art history graduates, as well as the skills necessary to secure these positions. Learners should consider their career goals when choosing a school and ensure they select a program with relevant coursework and practicum requirements. The sections below also address the meaning and reach of art history, which learners should understand before deciding to pursue a degree in the field.

What is Art History?

The study of art history covers works from prehistoric cave paintings to modern art. Art history students explore various types of art, including paintings, sculptures, architecture, and photography. Programs may also cover art forms such as comic books, music, and fashion.

The top online art history degrees require coursework on famous artistic movements, such as medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque art. Coursework may also examine art from geographic areas, such as China or Mexico.

Students learn to identify work by period, artist, and medium. Learners also assess famous works for meaning, which requires an understanding of period and artist traits and involves exploring theories and research.

Art history programs often present works within historical and political contexts, which can help learners determine each piece's purpose. For example, Greek works often depict mythical deities, while cave paintings may portray prehistoric hunting areas. The study of art's context introduces learners to religious and anthropological concepts, along with financial and architectural ideas.

Graduates often pursue careers as museum workers, art buyers, art consultants, and nonfiction writers. Art history students gain a strong attention to detail and research experience that are also applicable to roles such as market research analyst, editor, graphic designer, and photographer.

Overall, students earning an affordable fine arts degree online gain insights into other cultures and foundational knowledge in various social sciences, which prepare learners for many different professions.

What Can I Do with an Online Art History Bachelor's Degree?

After earning an online fine arts degree, graduates often pursue careers in art, architecture, writing, and teaching. Online art degree programs typically require students to research and analyze art pieces and write papers. These components help learners become detail-oriented and organized, which can benefit professionals in leadership and management positions. Graduates also excel at tasks that require a strong knowledge of history or art, such as designing museum exhibits.

Skills and Knowledge Gained

Art history bachelor's programs build skills and knowledge applicable to many professional roles. Coursework generally builds communication skills, which are necessary for careers as art consultants and buyers for museums and galleries. Additionally, communication skills are crucial for workers who provide tours at art museums and historic sites.

Students earning an online art history degree enhance their writing skills through research papers. Written communication skills are necessary for professionals, such as museum technicians, who arrange the relocation of art pieces through letters and emails. Writing skills are also crucial for nonfiction authors who write art history books, articles, and blogs.

Art history students gain research skills while exploring primary and secondary sources for exploratory or argumentative pieces. Many professionals in the field need research abilities, including art consultants, who determine the value of artistic pieces.

Analyzing sources while conducting research prepares learners to problem solve as managers and leaders in the field. Art history analysis also requires attention to detail, as students determine artistic eras, techniques, and meanings of art pieces. Graduates can apply this skill to roles as art buyers and consultants. Museum technicians and buying agents also use analytical skills when inspecting art pieces for damage.

Since the art history field explores various eras, techniques, and concepts, students should choose a program with coursework that is relevant to their professional goals. For example, students who aspire to work in art history museums should consider programs that focus on paintings and examine various artistic periods.

Many programs require electives, which students can use to prepare for certain careers. For example, aspiring purchasing agents can take an elective course on financing. Learners can also pursue internships in settings that relate to their career goals, such as museums or historic sites.

Careers and Salary Potential

Earning an online art degree prepares students for art-related careers in various fields. Graduates often work as museum tour guides and art gallery event planners. Art history programs also prepare learners to advise organizations on artistic and historic concepts for stage performances, artwork purchases, and architectural designs. Learners develop research, communication, and analytical skills that apply to positions outside the field, including roles as advertising, promotions, and marketing managers.

Museum Technicians

Annual Median Salary: $48,400

Museum technicians oversee artistic pieces by maintaining records, handling insurance details, and ensuring pieces are moved safely. These workers interact with museum visitors and communicate with organizations about borrowing pieces.

Museum Director

Annual Median Salary: $48,209

Museum directors protect art pieces by implementing or altering museum policies. These professionals may also tend to budgets, acquire new museum pieces, and supervise programs and exhibits.

Event Planner

Annual Median Salary: $49,370

These planners organize events for clients. They handle event plans including decorations and scheduling, and they may also manage event finances. Museums often hire event planners for fundraisers and exhibit openings.

Purchasing Manager, Buyer, or Purchasing Agent

Annual Median Salary: $67,600

These individuals may choose and negotiate prices for new museum pieces. Additional responsibilities include communicating with sellers concerning damaged products. They also handle delivery, recordkeeping, and contracts.


Annual Median Salary: $62,170

Writers and authors can create nonfiction art history works for traditional or self-published books, articles in scholarly journals, or blogs. Authors may also use art history knowledge to create fiction pieces, such as movie scripts and historic novels.

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