As emerging technologies connect people around the world, artists have the opportunity to share their creativity with a global audience. An online art degree provides the tools and skills needed to create and share art with a wide audience. Graduates of online art history degree programs pursue careers in archival studies and curation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the creation of 4,000 archivist, curator, and museum worker jobs from 2014 to 2024. This page provides information to help you choose the best online art degree to nurture your creativity and begin your career.
What Are The Best Online Bachelor's in Art & Art History Programs?
University of West Georgia
|Carrollton, GA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Located 45 miles outside Atlanta, UWG serves over 13,000 students at its Carrollton campus. The public institution also offers web-based degrees through its UWG Online division, including a hybrid bachelor's degree in art history. The program emphasizes visual analysis, critical thinking, research, and writing. Candidates who pursue this online art history degree explore medieval art, historical cultural influences, and critical theory.
The 120-credit program includes 42 credits of general education coursework in composition, mathematics, and natural sciences. Students also complete six foreign language credits. Within the art history major, learners examine Italian Renaissance art, art of the ancient world, and modernist criticism. Students also complete a museum seminar. The program culminates in a capstone course, in which learners compose an original research paper and present it to the department. Art history majors fulfill the 9-12 elective credit requirement with studio art coursework and general art classes in design and drawing.
Applicants should submit their official high school or college transcripts. UWG accepts transfer credits earned at regionally or nationally accredited institutions, and candidates must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA in all transferred credits. Prospective transfer students may receive provisional admission while in the process of completing their 30 transfer credits. Applicants with fewer than 30 eligible credits must submit SAT or ACT scores. UWG accepts new students for fall, spring, or summer start dates.
Tuition rates for in-person and partially online courses are based on student residency. All students pay the same amount for fully online classes regardless of their residency status.
University of Massachusetts-Lowell
|Lowell, MA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 60%||
Founded in 1894, UMass Lowell enrolls over 18,000 students at its campus on the Merrimack River. The university also offers online degrees, including a flexible online bachelor of liberal studies with a concentration in art history for transfer students who wish to complete their bachelor's degree. UMass Lowell's generous transfer credit policy allows candidates to apply up to 90 credits toward the 120-credit program. Students who choose the art history concentration also select one other concentration area, enjoying options like English, gender studies, history, and philosophy.
The online art history degree includes 18 major credit hours in areas such as comparative arts, medieval art, world art, and contemporary art. Candidates also take 36-38 general education credits, completing coursework in English, mathematics, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. The liberal studies major also requires 12-15 credits of foreign language study, and distance learners may take world-ready courses related to their target language's culture, literature, and history.
Prospective students should hold a high school diploma or the equivalent and submit official transcripts showing all previously-earned credits. Applicants over 21 years old or those with more than 12 college credits are not required to provide SAT or ACT scores. UMass Lowell regularly hosts virtual open houses for its distance education programs, and candidates may contact student support specialists for assistance with degree requirements and transfer credits. The university accepts applications on a rolling basis and sponsors a variety of scholarship opportunities for continuing education students.
|St. Charles, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
Established in 1827, Lindenwood is one of the oldest universities west of the Mississippi River. This private liberal arts institution offers degrees from its Saint Charles, Missouri campus and a variety of online programs, including an online bachelor of arts in art history. Lindenwood's flexible transfer credit policy permits learners to apply an unlimited number of credits toward their art history degree, allowing candidates with previous college education to complete the program faster.
The online art history degree features a three-year accelerated option and a four-year track. Art history majors who select the accelerated track take a blend of eight- and 16-week courses to earn 39 credits within the major. All distance learners complete a foundational studio course in two-dimensional design and foundational courses in Western and non-Western art history. Students also spend six credit hours exploring pre-1800 art history and post-1800 art history, respectively, in courses like medieval art, Renaissance art, and modern art. The program culminates in an art history capstone course, in which candidates survey field-related research and criticism methods before completing a written examination, composing a research paper, and presenting their research.
Prospective freshman applicants have the option of submitting SAT or ACT scores with other application materials. Transfer students should provide transcripts from any previously attended college or university. Lindenwood accepts transfer credits earned at regionally accredited institutions. Applicants to the accelerated art history degree program must hold a minimum 3.3 GPA. The four-year track does not require applicants to demonstrate a minimum GPA.
SUNY Empire State College
|Saratoga Springs, NY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 14%||
SUNY Empire is a public institution that specializes in accessible, affordable programs for working professionals and busy individuals. The college's distance education offerings, which include an online bachelor's in the arts, provide a flexible route to an undergraduate degree. Both the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science tracks allow learners to pursue a concentration in areas like visual arts, performing arts, or media arts. Each concentration emphasizes discipline-related practices, history, and criticism. The 124-credit online art degree includes major, concentration, and general education requirements. Undergraduates build strong research skills, artistic techniques, and critical judgement as they examine art within historical and cultural contexts from multiple theoretical perspectives.
Concentration coursework lets students customize their studies by focusing on specific artistic methods or fields. In the visual arts concentration, for example, candidates explore sculpture, painting, design, and graphics, while the media arts track emphasizes film and video. Other concentrations for the fine arts degree online include art history or arts management. SUNY Empire also offers an interdisciplinary option that allows students to combine courses from different fields and develop a unique academic plan.
Prospective students must provide proof of high school completion and transcripts from any previously-attended colleges, if applicable. The university considers transfer credits earned at regionally accredited institutions. Applicants should also submit an essay describing their academic goals, plans for the program, and any strengths and experiences that should help them succeed at the college level. New students may enroll in the fall, spring, or summer semesters.
|Prescott, AZ||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
A private institution based in Arizona, Prescott got its start in 1966. Today, the college complements its on-campus programs with a variety of web-based degrees, including an online bachelor of arts in arts and humanities. This flexible program includes 30 credits of general liberal arts education and 30 credits within the fine arts. Incoming students can apply transfer credits toward their online fine art degree or complete a prior learning assessment to receive credit for life and professional experience. Distance learners benefit from unique course delivery formats, including mentored study academic courses and mentored study internship sessions.
The 120-credit online art degree includes six credit hours in the social sciences, humanities, math and science, and communications, respectively. The liberal arts breadth requirement provides a strong foundation in critical thinking and creative problem solving. Students also choose 30 credits of coursework in the fine arts concentration. The curriculum includes a mandatory research paper component which is intended to assess candidates' reading, writing, and critical thinking skills. Learners complete the paper with faculty assistance. In addition, fine arts majors develop a research- or internship-based senior project to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and skills.
Prospective students must submit an application and official high school or college transcripts. All applicants are expected to compose an academic focus essay describing their educational goals for the online bachelor's program. Once admitted, new students must attend an orientation session at the Prescott campus.
What Else Can I Expect from an Online Bachelor's in Art & Art History Program?
When choosing an art degree program, students should ensure the program's course offerings align with their personal goals and passions. Below are key areas to consider when pursuing an online art degree. While the following courses are common for art and art history curricula, specific degree requirements vary by program.
Curriculum for an Online Bachelor's in Art & Art History
Online art degree programs typically require the following courses. While curriculum requirements vary by program, art and art history majors often complete a combination of studio and art history courses such as those listed below.
- Ancient Art: This course explores ancient art forms from the beginning of documented human existence to the Middle Ages. Students examine the creative processes used by early civilizations and the social, political, and religious influences surrounding works of art. Knowledge of ancient art prepares students for careers as teachers, archivists, and curators.
- Renaissance Art: This course examines works of art created during the Renaissance, a period of cultural enlightenment in Europe from 1300 to 1600. Familiarity with Renaissance art and its cultural context prepares students to pursue careers in history and art museums, libraries, and educational settings.
- Painting: Most fine arts bachelor's programs offer beginning to advanced painting courses. Beginning painting courses familiarize students with traditional approaches to creating art with oils, acrylics, and watercolors. Advanced painting courses involve a studio project, during which students experiment with techniques to develop a personal painting style. These courses prepare students to become visual artists and teachers.
- Research Methods: Often required for art history majors, this course includes topics in research design, data analysis, and scholarly writing. Training in academic research equips students to pursue advanced degrees or work as historians or journalists.
How Long Does it Take to get an Online Bachelor's in Art & Art History?
The average online art degree consists of 120 credits and takes full-time students approximately four years to complete. Earning an accelerated art degree online allows students to graduate more quickly — in approximately three years. Students with transfer credits or equivalent experience may be able to waive course requirements and graduate sooner. Program requirements, such as an internship, also affect the amount of time required to earn an online art history degree.
Online art degree programs are either cohort-based or individually paced. Cohort programs typically have two start dates per academic year. Students form a learning community and advance through the program together. Self-paced programs allow students to complete assignments independently and frequently feature rolling admissions with start dates throughout the year. Both program structures offer advantages depending on the student's learning style and need for flexibility.
Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Art & Art History Degrees
As you explore online art and art history degree options, ensure each program you consider is accredited. Accreditation ensures the program meets national standards of academic quality. The two major types of accreditation in the U.S. are regional and national. Regional accreditation is the most common; nearly 90% of higher education institutions hold regional accreditation. Many graduate programs only recognize degrees earned from regionally accredited schools.
Nationally accredited colleges tend to be career-centered and often focus on vocational training. While nationally accredited schools typically cost less to attend, credits earned from regionally accredited institutions transfer more easily. Along with regional or national accreditation, art and art history degrees may hold accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, a field-specific accrediting body. Students pursuing an online art degree should also look for accreditation from DEAC, which focuses on distance education programs.
The Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee accrediting bodies and ensure they uphold academic standards. Review the ED and CHEA databases for lists of accredited schools and programs.
Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Art & Art History Graduates
Bachelor's in Art & Art History Salary
The following table illustrates the increased earning potential of art and art history professionals in various career stages. Graduates with an online art degree can expect a salary growth of up to 50% over a 20-year career.
Art and Art History Careers by Experience
|Job Title||Median Salary||Entry-Level Employees||Mid-Career Employees||Late-Career Employees|
Bachelor's in Art & Art History Careers
Earning an art or art history degree online provides a culturally enriching education and prepares students to pursue diverse career paths. Successful professionals in the field possess strong communication skills, an eye for detail, and technical expertise. Self-employed artists have a flexible work schedule and usually have personal studios. Art historians are often employed by museums or galleries and work a traditional 40-hour week. The following occupations demonstrate the many paths available to graduates of art and art history programs.
- Archivist, Curator, or Museum Worker
An online art history degree prepares graduates for careers working with valuable pieces of history. Archivists authenticate, appraise, and preserve works of art for private clients or public organizations. Curators and museum workers develop exhibit content, conduct research, and work with other museums to loan or exchange art collections.
Median Annual Salary $47,230
Projected Growth Rate 13%
- Craft or Fine Artist
Craft and fine artists use numerous media and styles to create appealing, dynamic, and even controversial works of art. An online art degree helps artists advance their skills and hone their natural creativity. Many artists rely on craft fairs, art festivals, and online marketing to sell artwork.
Median Annual Salary $48,780
Projected Growth Rate 8%
- Art Director
Art directors juggle many organizational tasks required to develop a cohesive project, such as overseeing budgets and managing a team of designers. Most art directors work at least five years in photography, graphic design, or fine art before assuming managerial duties.
Median Annual Salary $89,820
Projected Growth Rate 7%
- Graphic Designer
Graphic designers use creativity and technical skills to develop products that meet the needs of individual clients or corporations. Graphic designers create logos, brochures, and advertisements using digital photo and illustration software. Entry-level graphic design positions typically require a bachelor's degree.
Median Annual Salary $47,640
Projected Growth Rate 5%
- Multimedia Artist or Animator
Most multimedia artist and animator positions require a bachelor's degree in art or computer graphics. After earning an art degree online, graduates with skills in two- and three-dimensional animation pursue careers developing content for television, video games, and online media.
Median Annual Salary $65,300
Projected Growth Rate 10%
Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Art & Art History Program
By taking advantage of financial options, students can earn their art or art history degree online without accruing excessive debt. The U.S. federal government provides financial assistance such as work-study programs and low-interest loans with income-based repayment plans. Begin the process of securing federal financial aid by completing the FAFSA. Students may also apply for grants and scholarships, which are often specific to a field of study. Numerous fine art and art history scholarships are available through private donors and university programs.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.
- Best Online Bachelor's in Art & Art History Programs for 2018
Ranking School Location 1 Arizona State University - Tempe Tempe, AZ 1 University of Massachusetts - Lowell Lowell, MA 3 SUNY Empire State College Saratoga Springs, NY 4 Lindenwood University St. Charles, MO 5 Prescott College Prescott, AZ