History of Art Degree

Art has always played an important part in society, and art history can reveal a lot to modern day students. From the very first recording of humanity, there is evidence of art. Although the purpose of the art is interpreted differently by each generation, its integral part in the world around us remains consistent. Everywhere you look, there is something that has been influenced by an artistic movement, from Art Deco and Bauhaus buildings, to modern art installations at art galleries and museums. Art can be used as a form of unique expression, whilst also acting as a social commentary on the artist’s life, or the world surrounding them. Studying the history of art can allow you to discover a lot of things about the time at which it was first created.

Highlighted courses and degrees in History of Art


An undergraduate degree in history of art will give you a good foundation of knowledge in the area. You will study modules that teach you how to analyse art, and therefore allow you to understand the time in which it was created. You will learn to understand what different areas of the world was exposed to at different times in history. As well as this, you will further explore the types of medium used by artists from all over the world, and how this affects their art.

Your degree will be delivered through a mixture of modes. These will include lectures and seminars, as well as incorporating practical sessions. You may also have opportunities to go on field trips to art museums and galleries, allowing you to expand your knowledge of works of art. Depending on your institution of choice, you may also be presented with the opportunity to take part in a work placement module or year, which will give you a chance to apply your skills in a real-world environment.


Depending on where you choose to study, you may be able to specialise towards the end of your degree. This specialisation can influence the area in which you choose to work after you have graduated, as well as helping you to choose your area of further study, if you wish to study for another degree. Common specialisations include:

  • Visual Culture
  • Fine Art
  • European Art
  • Renaissance Culture and Art
  • Roman Empire Art
  • Gothic Art
  • Art Movements through History
  • Contemporary Art

If your degree requires you to write a dissertation or submit a major research project in your final year, this will give you the opportunity to further research a favoured area of the history of art.

Accreditation and Certification

The accreditation of your degree will be dependent on where you choose to study. Different countries have different accreditation systems. Typically, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (BA) for an undergraduate degree. In some cases, if your degree is heavily weighted towards fine art, you may be awarded a Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA).

Depending on your career path once you have graduated, you may be able to gain further professional or academic qualifications and accreditations that will progress your career, as well as adding to your knowledge.

Timeframe and Further Studies

Generally, an undergraduate degree in history of art will take three to four years to complete. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can last up to two years, when studied full-time. Your institution may offer part-time or online study options, which may change the duration of your degree.

Once you have successfully completed your degree, you can choose to either seek employment in your chosen area, or further your studies. Continuation of your studies could be in the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate.

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Entry Requirements for Degrees in History of Art Degree

The entry requirements for a history of art degree will depend on where you choose to study. Some universities may require you to sit an entrance exam, where others might rely on previous exam results. Some universities may prefer you to have studied certain subjects, and others might consider previous relevant work experience.

You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their history of art programmes.

If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.

Typical entry requirements:

  • UK6.5 IELTS, essay based subjects preferred
  • USA3.0 GPA

Fund Your Studies

Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary greatly from institution to institution. You should make sure that you are aware of how much your degree will cost you.

You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section to read more about funding your studies.

Typical course fees (per year):

  • UK£12,000
  • USA$35,000

Career Options

Graduates of an art history degree will find that there are a variety of career options available to them. Job roles can be related to your degree, but you are not limited to the creative industries. If you do choose to work in a role directly related to your degree, jobs could include an archivist, a conservator, a curator at a museum or gallery, or an art gallery manager. If you choose to work in a role not directly related to your degree, jobs might include a museum education officer, a higher education teacher, an academic librarian, or an estates manager.

You will have gained a wide range of transferable skills throughout your time studying the history of art. These skills will mean that you are highly employable in many different industries. They may include critical thinking, effective written communication, project management, and time management.

Guides to related subjects

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