Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina
A master’s in art and art history is a gateway into the art world, from museums and galleries, to graphic design and academic research. Art history equips you with a strong historical framework coupled with the analytical, critical analysis, and communications skills necessary to make informed interpretations of artistic developments. These interpretive decisions guide curatorial outcomes, market values, and investigative analyses that dictate the contemporary art market. In terms of job outlook, the growth of related carriers in curation, archives, and museum work is projected at 13% between 2016 and 2026, nearly twice as fast as the average job growth according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS
Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Art and Art History Degrees
|1||Northwestern State University of Louisiana||Natchitoches, LA|
|2||Azusa Pacific University||Azusa, CA|
|3||Lindenwood University||Saint Charles, MO|
|4||University of Nebraska||Kearney, NE|
|5||Fort Hays State University||Hays, KS|
|6||Radford University||Radford, VA|
|7||Maine College of Art||Portland, ME|
|8||Minneapolis College of Art and Design||Minneapolis, MN|
|9||Savannah College of Art and Design||Savannah, GA|
|10||Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts||Philadelphia, PA|
What Else can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Art & Art History Program?
Art history master’s degrees online are highly individualized programs, and the specifics of the curriculum depend on the focus area you choose. Most coursework focuses on a particular time period or cultural specification, and many programs require qualifying foreign language exams to prepare students for independent research. The following sections explain the types of general coursework and key characteristics to expect in an online degree in art and art history.
What are the requirements for an online master’s in art history degree?
- Undergraduate degree – A degree in a related field from an accredited institution will usually be required. Some schools will also expect a minimum GPA, ranging from 2.75 to 3.0.
- Letters of recommendation – Two to three letters of recommendation will be required at most institutions.
- GRE scores – Students should expect to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) before applying
- Statement of intent – Whether referred to as an artist’s statement, statement of intent, or cover letter, students should expect to write a statement of what they intend to do in the program.
- Writing sample – Most schools will want a writing sample that covers art or art history topics, or a related topic like aesthetics.
Curriculum for an Online Master’s Degree in Art & Art History
Most master’s level coursework addresses historical and cultural movements or specific communities, such as the Victorian era, 1960s Pop culture, or art of the African continent. Even so, foundational coursework exploring theoretical methodologies and art criticism are integral to the field, regardless of one’s particular specialization. The following list details common courses and the resulting skills typical in art history programs.
- Art Historical Methodologies: Delve into the evolving history of art history, from its beginnings in symbolic and iconographic interpretations, through the political and psychological approaches now dominating the discourse. This class introduces you to field founders like Hegel and Kant, Panofsky and Warburg, and more contemporary theorists like Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan that shape our modern view of the past.
- Art Historical Criticism: Gain a deeper understanding of art historical discourse through the foundations of art criticism. This course trains students to identify and break down arguments, and form counterarguments. Students edit and refine texts to build critical analysis and composition skills, which are integral to many jobs in the art world.
- Master’s Thesis: Research: Work closely with a small cohort of classmates and your academic advisor to execute individual research for your final thesis. This class will keep you on track as you identify a research topic, compose and submit a thesis proposal, and begin independent explorations.
- Master’s Thesis: Writing: Write independently or in groups in this second half of the thesis process. Expand your thesis proposal into a publishable research presentation, and hone your communication and writing skills in the process.
How much money can you make with an online master’s in art history degree?
With an art history degree, you can move on to work in various museum and gallery roles. Common job titles within the field include museum curator, archivist, museum technician, and conservator. The median salary for workers in this field in 2018 was $48,400 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Museum curators tended to draw higher salaries than other personnel.
The job outlook for museum personnel is relatively good. Current data projects 13% growth in museum jobs between 2016 and 2026, which is higher than average.
Online Master’s in Art & Art History Careers
Earning your art or art history master’s online qualifies you for advanced occupations in art museums, education, and media and design. While a bachelor’s degree may be the minimum requirement for some entry–level positions, employers prefer candidates with a master’s education and graduate experience in their area of expertise. For curators and college professors of art or art history, a master’s degree is typically required. Below are just a few job options for graduates of an online art history master’s program.Curators and Museum WorkersArt curators gather and present collections of artifacts and/or works of art for a cultural institution. Museum workers, including registrars and conservators, preserve the items in a museum’s collection and keep records of acquisitions, loans, and methods of safeguarding for each piece. While some positions require only a bachelor’s degree, most prominent museums in major cities require a master’s in art history, especially for curator positions.
- Median Annual Salary: $47,230
- Projected Growth Rate: 13%
Postsecondary TeachersPostsecondary teachers of art and/or art history are required to have an advanced degree in the subject to teach at the college level. While most professors at four-year colleges and universities are required to have a Ph.D. in their area of expertise, students with a master’s in art and art history are eligible for teaching positions at a community college or vocational school. Additionally, some employers will hire master’s degree holders who are current candidates for a Ph.D. program.
- Median Annual Salary: $75,430
- Projected Growth Rate: 15%
Art DirectorsArt directors create the overall look and style of a project, including print publication layouts, films and TV shows, and advertising and marketing campaigns. While many positions require only a bachelor’s degree in fine art or graphic design and relevant industry experience, candidates aspiring to a managerial role should have a master’s degree or MFA.
- Median Annual Salary: $89,820
- Projected Growth Rate: 7%