Art History Graduate Programs
An art historian collects, restores, and studies works of art from ancient to contemporary times. Since the scope of human history is vast, art historians usually specialize in a particular time period’s art or a specific style. Some may focus on the works of art produced by a location, such as Easter Island’s statues. From the creation process to the final products, art historians are dedicated to preserving everything for future generations. A majority of art historians publish their efforts through books, scholarly papers, and scientific journals.
Art history graduate programs are usually enjoyed the most by the same kinds of people. Applicants should have an interest and love for both art and history. They should be willing to work through occasionally dry and boring research in order to discover something relevant. Travel may be occasionally required to visit foreign libraries, museums, or universities for research. Although they may work alone when publishing their research, most art historians work as a part of a team. For art historians who specialize in restoration efforts, they will almost always be working with others.
Art history graduates with master’s degrees and doctorates will have the best job opportunities. Art history does have positions for those with bachelor’s degrees, but these are mostly high school teaching jobs or entry-level assignments. Entry-level positions can include research assistant or similar jobs. Jobs with advancement opportunities will require a master’s degree at minimum.
For high level teaching positions at universities, a doctorate is required. Most museums will ask for applicants seeking lead positions to hold a doctorate as well. High level positions often require a certain amount of research to be published each year. Museum positions may ask art historians to be able to give interviews or publicize their findings to the media to some degree.
Most art history graduate programs will be able to link students with internships. An art history internship may not allow students to actually handle works of art, but it will give valuable experience. Nearly all museums have a need for entry-level workers and interns to be able to organize and rotate their collections.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects jobs for art history degree holders to grow about 11 percent from 2008 to 2011. This is about average when compared with other occupations. There are relatively few jobs outside of government positions. Museums and universities are popular alternatives. However, with a limited pool of art history jobs, competition will be intense. Art history degrees can be applied to some niche occupations which may not be advertised for art historians. Policy, research, and writing positions can apply for since most art historians have been educated to think analytically and write their conclusions.