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An online master's in art history prepares graduates with the research, writing, and analytical skills needed for many careers within the art field. Art history graduates work as K-12 teachers, museum curators, and art historians. Many graduates also apply their archival skills in museums and libraries.
The following guide looks at the best online master's in art history programs, common courses offered, and potential careers for graduates.
What Are the Best Online Master's in Art History Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 5:
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|1||Azusa Pacific University||Azusa, CA|
|2||University of Nebraska at Kearney||Kearney, NE|
|3||Lindenwood University||St. Charles, MO|
|4||Fort Hays State University||Hays, KS|
|5||Northwestern State University of Louisiana||Natchitoches, LA|
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2021 Best Accredited Online Master's in Art History Programs
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Azusa Pacific University
|Azusa, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 67%||
Azusa Pacific University offers a master of arts in modern art history, theory, and criticism that trains learners to interpret and comment on contemporary works. Graduates of this online art history master's program possess research skills and aesthetic knowledge for making scholarly field contributions. The program also explores historic characteristics that shape modern art.
To earn APU's master's in art history online in two years or less, learners complete 36 units in asynchronous courses such as regional modernism, methodologies of art history, visual culture, and writing art criticism. Students must also complete a thesis and prove literacy in a foreign language. Further, APU students can explore worldwide art through study abroad programs in the spring, fall, or summer. Destinations include France, Italy, England, Israel, and Thailand. Graduates with this degree earn positions as teachers, curators, museum administrators, and archivists.
Applicants must hold a bachelor's and a minimum 3.0 GPA, and they must submit a letter of intent, two recommendations, a resume, and transcripts. APU may also insist on a Skype interview. Once accepted, candidates complete a two-week virtual orientation before beginning courses. APU's master's in art history online is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
University of Nebraska at Kearney
|Kearney, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 61%||
The University of Nebraska Kearney delivers a master of arts in education in art education with two emphasis areas: classroom education and museum education. Current art teachers can pursue the classroom emphasis for new teaching concepts and techniques. The museum emphasis explores exhibits and programs that connect artists, citizens, and teachers. Candidates who obtain this master of arts in art history online may qualify for positions as art directors, exhibit designers, curators, and children's museum educators.
The program includes 36 credits, with common asynchronous classes centering on art across the curriculum, art methods for young children, modern art history, and cultural studies through art. Students must also complete a research paper. Nine credits may be transferred into the program, but students wishing to do so must hold a bachelor's in a related field. Finally, UNK offers study abroad and exchange programs to places such as Ireland, Spain, France, Japan, and Australia.
Applicants to UNK's program submit a resume, recommendation letters, and a personal statement. Online students can access resources from Calvin T. Ryan Library, including e-books, articles, databases, and dictionaries. The Academic and Career Services department also provides students with Handshake accounts for job searches and provides mock interviews through Big Interview.
|St. Charles, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
Lindenwood University's School of Arts, Media, and Communication offers a master of arts in art history and visual culture that examines techniques and meaning behind masterpieces. Students learn to conduct research and present findings on paper and in person as art historians. Of importance to art majors, Lindenwood offers courses abroad, including a Renaissance art and culture course in Florence.
Lindenwood's online art history master's requires 36 credits, earned through graduate seminars and research courses, art history electives, and a required thesis or project. Candidates can complete this online degree in two years, or they can graduate in one year through the fast-track option. Fast-track students, however, must hold a related bachelor's and 3.5 GPA (learners with lower GPAs must take the GRE); this path also requires foreign language experience.
Candidates must submit GRE scores or hold a minimum 3.0 GPA to enter Lindenwood's online art history master's degree program. Other requirements may include recommendation letters, a statement of purpose, and an interview. Online students benefit from career assistance through Handshake, Focus 2, and Resume Maker, which help students determine suitable professions, find open positions, and improve application documents. The library also provides online students with access to digital resources.
Fort Hays State University
|Hays, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Fort Hays State University delivers a master of liberal studies with an art history concentration that builds research and presentation skills and provides knowledge of different artistic eras, including ancient, medieval, baroque, and 20th century artistic movements. Candidates can finish this program in about two years, but they must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA. Related careers include curators, postsecondary educators, and critics.
Students can earn this master's in art history online by completing 31 credit hours in courses such as information literacy, origins and implications of the knowledge society, and ways of knowing in comparative perspective. Candidates must also take comprehensive assessments, one of which addresses liberal arts core classes, the other of which focuses on art history. The department provides online resources, including a writing style guide and the liberal arts handbook, the latter of which offers tips on studying, test-taking, and preparing for graduation.
Applicants to FHSU's art history program should hold a bachelor's in studio art or art history. Other requirements include 12 undergraduate credits and a writing example in the field. Candidates who fall short of these criteria must obtain special consent to enter this art history master's program online. Online learners can access the library's digital resources and benefit from online tutoring through Smarthinking. Finally, a career services offices assists students with resumes and interviews.
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
|Natchitoches, LA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 39%||
Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers 40 virtual programs and ranks as one of U.S. News & World Report's top regional universities in the South. NSU's 33-credit master of arts in art explores artistic pieces and the historic factors that shape them. Learners can focus on areas such as sculpture, paint, photography, printmaking, illustration, and ceramics.
Students must complete research courses, a graduate seminar, a thesis exhibition, and a comprehensive exam. Earning this master of arts in history online degree requires on-campus residency for one semester or two summer experiences; summer residencies last three weeks each. What's more, online students can access career resources, including videos on professional wardrobe and interviews, as well as 24-hour crisis assistance and advice on mental wellness. Finally, like their on-campus counterparts, virtual students can explore digital resources through the school's libraries.
Admission to NSU's art history program requires GRE scores and recommendation forms. Candidates can also apply for graduate assistantships and department scholarships. In-state and out-of-state learners for this program pay equal tuition. This art history program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Art History Program?
Art history students also gain research and writing skills that prepare them for myriad careers within the field.
Online master's in art history programs vary across schools, and curricular specifics depend largely upon academic concentration. Common concentrations include Renaissance art history, modern art history, and specific disciplines like photography and sculpture. Art history students also gain research and writing skills that prepare them for myriad careers within the field.
Master's level art history coursework can address almost any era and often covers topics such as Victorian art, modern art, and non-Western art. Foundational coursework also explores theoretical methods of art criticism and how art movements relate to other cultural and political movements. Additional courses focus on research methods, academic writing, and art history methodologies.
Most art history programs take 1-2 years to complete. Along with traditional coursework, online students take part in graduate seminars and work on projects with their cohort and instructors. As a capstone project, most programs require degree-seekers to complete an original piece of research of publishable quality.
Admission Requirements for Online Master's in Art History Programs
Admission requirements for an online master's in art history give applicants the chance to show off their strengths. The admissions process can also qualify applicants for various financial aid opportunities such as fellowships and assistantships.
Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, typically in an art-related field. Applicants must submit a completed application along with official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Most programs require an undergraduate GPA of around 3.0.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Art History Program?
While coursework for an online master's in art history can vary significantly from program to program, the academic structure remains relatively similar. Degree-seekers refine their research and writing skills, engage with graduate-level seminars, and complete a culminating thesis project. Read on to learn about some of the courses commonly offered in a master's in art history program.
- Art Theory and Criticism
This survey of art theory and criticism explores the significant critical and theoretical ideas that influence the understanding of art and its role in society. Covered topics include major theories like structuralism and post-structuralism, feminism, and Marxism.
- 19th Century Art
This course covers European art movements from the late 18th century to the early 20th century, such as neoclassicism, romanticism, and impressionism. This course also contextualizes stylistic trends through an analysis of other developments in science, literature, and music. Students also explore the relationship between art and politics, religion, and culture.
- 20th Century Art
This course explores artistic developments in Europe and America from the late 19th century through World War II, a period defined by rapid modernization. Students explore innovation in artistic styles, techniques, and methods of dissemination. Learners also examine the rise of photography, installations, and conceptual art.
- History of Photography
Through an examination of photography from its earliest forms to the present, this course focuses on the evolution of photography alongside other artistic and cultural movements. Students gain insight into photography's cultural influence as both an artistic medium and social tool.
- Research and Scholastic Writing
This course takes a deep dive into the tools and methods used to compose academic research papers. Students learn about advanced research techniques, thesis development, and how to use primary and secondary sources.
Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree
- Scholarships for Art and Design Majors
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What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Art History Degree?
Graduates with an online master's in art history degree can begin careers in fields like education, museum stewardship, and instructional coordination. Art history graduates interested in education can work in K-12 schools, museums, galleries, and art-focused nonprofits.
While an MFA in art history is the preferred degree for tenure-track academic positions, graduates with a master's in art history can secure adjunct teaching roles at colleges and universities.
See where an online master's in art history can take you. Learn more about art history careers.
- Museum Curator
Museum curators oversee collections of artwork, design exhibits, plan and conduct research projects, and organize archival materials. Museum curators often work with community groups, attend civic meetings, and promote their institution.
Teaching art history in postsecondary settings, these professionals develop course syllabi, plan lessons and assignments, and teach courses in their area of expertise. These faculty members often conduct and publish scholarly research while keeping up with academic trends in their field. Professors also work closely with students outside of class, advising learners about future academic work and career ambitions.
- Museum Archivist
These professionals use their art history background to appraise, process, and catalog art in museums. Museum archivists preserve and maintain artwork, acquire new art, and organize and classify museum materials. Some archivists also maintain digital archives.
- Instructional Coordinator
Instructional coordinators design curricula, develop educational materials, and facilitate workshops. These professionals may also train instructional staff and recommend instructional techniques. Individuals with an art history master's degree may put their educational background to use as an instructional coordinator focusing on art education at an arts nonprofit, museum, gallery, or school.
- Art Historian
Art historians research, analyze, and write about specific elements of art history. These professionals compile historical information from a variety of sources, including academic research and archives. In addition to research-based work, art historians preserve art in museums and often take on managerial roles within art-focused institutions.
Art History Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Art History Programs
- Is a master's in art history worth it?
Like any advanced degree, an online master's in art history allows graduates to advance their career opportunities and increase their earning potential. Graduates can find jobs in a variety of fields that leverage their specialized knowledge. Online programs can also offer students the flexibility needed to complete academic work while juggling personal and professional obligations.
- Is art history a good major?
An online master's in art history is a good major if it fits your academic and career ambitions. For degree-seekers interested in careers in art-related fields, this degree helps cultivate the research, writing, and analytical skills needed for success.
- What can I do with a master's in art history?
Thanks to applicable skills in research and writing, graduates with a master's in art history are prepared for many positions within the art world. Art history graduates work in community colleges, arts organizations, museums, and high schools.
- How much money can I make with a master's in art history?
While a master's in art history does not traditionally lead to especially lucrative careers, graduates can develop specialized research and writing skills that can lead to numerous career possibilities. Archivists, curators, and museum workers earned a median annual salary of $49,850 in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
- What are the highest paying jobs with a master's in art history?
Salaries for professionals with a master's in art history will differ depending on the specific role and the individual's previous experience. According to the BLS, archivists, curators, and museum workers earned a median salary of $49,850 in 2019, while instructional coordinators earned a median salary of $66,290 during the same year. With experience, managerial and supervisory roles typically pay the most.