Earning an art or art history bachelor’s degree will take your passion for art and transform it into a marketable, fulfilling career.
Every picture tells a story, and now, more than ever, our world is becoming increasingly visual. However, art and art history is so much more than studying great works of art that transcend the times or creating paintings, sculptures, or ceramics. The art/art history field also encompasses perfecting skills in research, analysis, creativity, and communication, all essential skills in the workplace and, well, life!
Whether you are interested in creating art or studying art through the ages, one of our top bachelor’s in art/art history degrees is the way to go.
What is a Bachelor’s in Art/Art History?
A bachelor’s in art or art history may be a Bachelor of Arts (B.A. or A.B.) or a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) and entails at least 120 credit hours. A BA in art will either be an interdisciplinary program where you can study art in a broad context or combine art with another major like business or education or a specific facet of art like studio art, graphic design, or interactive media. A BA in art history includes studio courses but focuses more on studying art throughout history and geographical locations.
A good art/art history undergraduate program includes plenty of experiential learning opportunities through guest lectures, museum field trips, and internships. Most programs also feature a study abroad opportunity to Italy or Rome, for example, which makes this vibrant field come alive even more. All art/art history bachelor’s programs entail a final project before graduation, either a capstone or portfolio, and many include an exhibit of student work for all to see!
Careers for Art/Art History Majors
Art and art history bachelor’s degrees prepare students for a handful of careers, and the knowledge and skills gained from an art/art history education translate into essential skills for gaining employment.
Some graduates become fine artists and open their own businesses to sell their art, which is why business classes are often offered in art/art history programs. Art/art history graduates may work in museums as curators or archivists, where they oversee artwork and historical pieces. Some graduates go into the education field and become art teachers either in a traditional K-12 setting or in a library setting where they educate the general public. Some graduates become art directors and work for advertising and public relation firms. Similarly, some art/art history graduates end up in the publishing field, working for publishing companies.
Art/art history careers are truly plentiful and promising and encompass other industries like business, education, and research. While these career options are common for art/art history majors, there are many more options available with a BA in art/art history.
Bachelor’s in Art/Art History Salary Potential
A common question: how do you make money with an art or art history degree? Your salary potential depends on the specific facet of art you choose to pursue, but you can definitely make a good living in this industry. Payscale reports that those with a bachelor’s degree in art history earn $62,524 per year, and the following art/art history careers are the highest paid in the field:
- Creative Directors $97,000
- Design Directors $93,200
- Product Designers $91,700
- Art Directors $73,700
Additionally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, craft and fine artists make around $49,120 per year, museum curators and archivists bring in an average of $52,140 per year, and high school art teachers earn around $62,870 each year.
As you can see, you have plenty of salary potential in the art/art history field. A master’s degree or additional certifications will likely increase salary, and of course, your potential income depends largely on your degree, experience, geographical location, and the type of career you choose.
What are the Best Art/Art History Degrees?
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University of California – Los Angeles
One hundred years of rich history and DNA-infused optimism is what sets the University of California – Los Angeles apart from others. UCLA has produced 14 Nobel Prizes, 14 faculty MacArthur Fellows, 118 NCAA titles, and countless Olympics medals, but these are only a few reasons why this school is our #1 ranking.
Art is all about expression, and through UCLA’s BA in art, you will explore new fields—painting, ceramics, video, photography, sculpture—to express your ideas. UCLA’s undergraduate program provides the backbone of art through both lecture and studio courses taught by leading professional artists who serve as UCLA faculty.
Along with taking courses like Printmaking, Moving Image and Sound, Rise of Modernism in Global Context and Advanced New Genres, you will gain the knowledge and skills to develop your own artwork, showcased in your final capstone project. If you’re interested in UCLA, the Department of Art features all the details for how to get into this program; check it out here.
University of Massachusetts – Lowell
Known for its affordable, top-quality education, the University of Massachusetts—Lowell is a national research college with more than 18,000 students. Across six colleges, you will find more than 190 academic programs, including bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) with a handful of emphasis options to customize your program further.
Described as “rigorous” and “career-driven,” UMass Lowell’s BFA is led by talented and dedicated professors who are also professional artists and art historians. Within this program, you can choose one of three concentrations: animation and interactive media, graphic design, or studio art. You can also choose to minor in art history.
At UMass Lowell, you will gain valuable knowledge through challenging courses, internships, and hands-on experience through campus and community-based experiences that are included in the curriculum. Additionally, UMass is home to two art galleries that host exhibitions throughout the year. For more inspiration, check out UMass Lowell alumni successes here.
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
It’s no secret that UM–Ann Arbor is one of the best universities in the nation. In fact, QS World University Rankings (2019-2020) ranks UM–Ann Arbor #1 among U.S. Public Universities. Ann Arbor’s Stamps School of Art & Design features a BA in art and design, perfect for students who plan to go to graduate school or pair with another educational program.
While you can earn a BA in art and design by itself, many students choose dual/joint degrees within this program. For example, you could choose another major in a related or unrelated field, like engineering, nursing, or business. Additionally, you can also add a minor offered by any of the schools/colleges at UM—Ann Arbor.
This BA in art and design focuses on developing critical thinking, communication, and artistic skills through 128 credit hours of coursework. You will complete both lecture and studio courses like Drawing, Methods of Inquiry, and Art and Design History, for example. However, the most exciting part about this program is the required international travel experience!
University of Arizona
Established in 1885 and nestled in the mountains and Saguaro forests, the University of Arizona is the state’s land-grant university and transforms the lives of students who call UArizona home—Wildcats! UArizona’s BA in art history is a comprehensive span of study of understanding art’s role in culture and politics from “prehistory to the modern period.”
UArizona’s art history program includes eight areas of emphasis, which cover anything from Architecture, Planning and Development to Education and Human Development. If you want a broader plan of study, you can choose the interdisciplinary studies concentration. Sample courses include Survey of Western Art, Introduction to European Modernism, and Topics in Museum Studios.
As a UArizona art history student, you will gain valuable skills in research, writing, critical analysis, argument, and critical thinking to prepare you for a variety of future careers. Alumni find jobs in fields such as museum work, gallery management, preservation and conservation, education, and libraries. If you want to become the newest UArizona Wildcat, check out application details here.
University of Florida
You will see the University of Florida listed on top ranking articles all over the place, and for good reasons: UF is a top research university, known as an “unstoppable force for the gator good!” Check out UF’s BA in art history—you will not only learn how social and cultural shifts have impacted art over the centuries, but you will understand how to really see, discuss, and write about art.
Like most great art history programs, UF focuses on cultivating critical thinking, research, and writing skills. During the course of this program, you will study fives areas of art history: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance/Baroque, Modern, and Non-Western. During your upper-level courses, you will dive deeper into one of these areas through seminars and intensive research.
UF’s art history department offers quite a few opportunities to get involved through professional development events, museum visits, lectures, and fun events like the Art Bash, pot luck dinners, and the annual trip to New York. UF’s BA in art history is competitive but worth checking out. If you’re interested in UF, read up on admission details here.
Arizona State University
Among Arizona State University’s many rankings is a well-earned #1 in the U.S. for innovation (ahead of MIT and Stanford!) by U.S. News & World Report. ASU’s BA in art history is described as “dynamic” and “diverse,” and as a student, you will study how art intersects with all other fields, like history, literature, media, economics, and science, to name a few.
Art History is a fascinating field, and seriously, there’s so much to cover! ASU’s program lets you explore art history as a comprehensive study or choose one of three focuses: Ancient/Medieval, Modern, or Renaissance/Baroque. Regardless of your concentration, you will take notable courses like Art of Asia, History of Photography, and Research Methods.
As an ASU art history student, you have access to internships through partnerships through organizations throughout the state. Additionally, if the thought of traveling internationally makes you giddy, check out the available global experiences. A semester in Japan or Florence? Yes, please! Don’t live in Arizona? You can also complete the BA in art history online!
Opened in 1891, Stanford University, one of the world’s leading private research schools, holds a rich and inspiring history of rigorous academics, exploration, and innovation. Stanford’s BA in art history gives you the knowledge and skills to think critically about visual arts and culture through history, as well as the connection between art and literature, music, and philosophy.
Through this program, you will explore all art from paintings and sculpture to photography and film. You will become knowledgeable in how art changes over cultures and time through training in cultural analysis and historical interpretation. To narrow your studies, you can choose a concentration in the following areas: topical, genre, historical/national, or interdisciplinary.
Through your chosen concentration, you will focus even more. For example, the topical concentration includes specialized emphasis areas in art, politics, race, ethnicity, art, science, technology, and urban studies. Each course of study entails a minimum of 65 units in core courses, foundation courses, seminar courses, concentration courses, and art practice courses. Check out the detailed plans here.
University of Wisconsin – Madison
A public land grant research institution, the University of Wisconsin—Madison is known as a “catalyst for the extraordinary.” In fact, you know those multivitamins you (may or may not) take every day? You can thank UW-Madison, as they first discovered vitamins in the 1910s! UW Madison offers both a BA and BS in art history—both are worth checking out!
UW-Madison’s Department of Art History states that its art history major “provides a foundation for answering key questions about what it means to be human as well as valuable skills for today’s workplaces.” This program centers around building skills like critical analysis, problem-solving, research, writing, and visual communication, all essential for applying for a job.
While some of the courses differ, the BA and BS both allot freedom in tailoring the program to match your career goals. Sample courses include History of Photography, Visual Cultures of India, and Topics in Architectural History. UW-Madison art history graduates work in all sorts of careers: art appraisal, preservation, education, photography, film production, and publishing, to name a few.
Founded in 1827 (Yes! You read that correctly!), Lindenwood University is a private academic institution known for its “innovation, entrepreneurship, and extraordinary dedication to students.” With a history of nearly 200 years strong, Lindenwood is committed to offering nearly 100 academic programs that are both accessible and affordable.
Through Lindenwood, you can earn a BA in art history and visual culture either on-campus or online. Not only will you learn to analyze art within different cultures, but you will also study relationships among cultures over history. Additionally, this program includes an immersive realities technologies requirement, leading to greater understanding and engagement.
Along with general education requirements, you will complete at least 36 credit hours in art history courses. Foundation courses include History of Western Art to (and from) 1300 and History of Non-Western Art. You will choose from a handful of electives like Nineteenth-Century Art, Early Modern Gender Studies, and History of Digital Art. If you’re interested, you can also pursue this degree with an emphasis on Pre-Art Conservation.
The University of Texas at Austin
“What starts here changes the world” is UT Austin’s motto, and this statement is backed up by plenty of evidence! UT Austin’s Department of Art and Art History is known as one of the largest and most diverse in the nation. Among many art/art history academic programs is our #10 ranking: a Bachelor of Arts in art history.
UT Austin’s BA in art history provides knowledge on a range of periods and cultures while also developing research, critical thinking, problem-solving, source analysis, and writing skills. This program is 120 credit hours divided into 42 university core courses, 36 credit hours of art history, 12-18 credits of foreign languages, and additional science, culture, and elective courses to fill in the gaps.
Through research seminars, professional internships, and study-abroad opportunities, you will apply the skills learned while earning this art history degree. You can also apply for the Art History Honors Program during your senior year if you are up for an advanced research and writing project! (This project would look great on your resume, too.)
Brigham Young University – Hawaii
A private institution founded and run by the Church of Latter-Day Saints, Brigham Young University—Hawaii is a small yet diverse school of 3,000 students from over 70 countries. BYU Hawaii offers a BA in visual arts that prepares students for visual arts and humanity-related careers as well as serves as an excellent pathway for future art and design graduate programs.
BYU Hawaii’s BA in art features two concentration options in graphic design or painting. Through this program, you will critically assess, research, discuss, and write about works of art in courses like Global Art History, Drawing and Design Principles, and Three Dimensional Concepts. Independent study, research, internships, and portfolio exhibitions are all part of BYU Hawaii’s visual art curriculum.
Depending on their chosen concentration, BYU Hawaii visual arts graduates can start careers in graphic design and print media or become freelance artists. Some graduates continue their education through a master’s degree in art and design or related programs. If you see yourself as a visual arts student at BYU (Hello, Hawaii!) check out the admission details here.
University of Georgia
Chartered by Georgia in 1785, the University of Georgia is known as “the birthplace of Public Higher Education in America!” Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, the oldest and largest college at UGA, offers an art/art history A.B., perfect whether you want to pursue a career right after graduation or you want to go to graduate school.
UGA’s art/art history program requires 120 credit hours divided into foundation courses, major requirements, and electives. Required courses consist of four broad areas of history and how the cultures and art related to each one. Sample courses include Greek and Roman Painting, Asian Art and Architecture, and Cave Painting to Michelangelo.
Through this program, you will build perceptual, intellectual, and practical skills in order to read and research critically. Graduates either go to graduate school to study art history, history, or law or begin careers in galleries, museums, writing, researching, publishing, education, public relations, and more. The opportunities with UGA’s art/art history A.B. are vast!
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Established in 1795, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is officially the nation’s first public university—one devoted to inquiry, innovation, and public service. Additionally, UNC Chapel Hill’s Department of Art & Art History is a dynamic center for research and learning, and its mission statement, “make/frame/reveal,” encompasses all its degree programs.
UNC Chapel Hill’s BA in art history encompasses two major goals: to provide students with a liberal arts foundation through understanding historical, global, cultural, and intellectual art through prehistoric times to present and to provide students with the tools needed to explore the complicated roles that the arts play in diverse social contexts.
To achieve this BA in art history, you will take 36 credit hours of core requirements which include art history foundation courses and courses from various chronological and geographical areas like Women in the Visual Arts, Roman Archeology, and African Art and Culture. Through this program, you have special opportunities, including independent study, research projects, internships, and study abroad to Florence, Italy.
University of Southern California
A leading private research university in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California serves as “a global center for arts, technology, and international business.” In 1895, USC founded Roski School of Art and Design, one of the oldest art schools in the state! USC Roski features three bachelor’s degrees in art: a Bachelor’s of Fine Art in art, a Bachelor’s of Fine Art in design, and a Bachelor of Art in art.
At USC you have choices! The BFA degrees are described as “intensive, pre-professional degrees that feature a full immersion in artistic or design media.” Both BFA programs include a wide array of studio courses. The BA in Art is a comprehensive, liberal arts program and is ideal if you want to combine this program with another major.
Regardless of the art program at USC, you will gain valuable training to be successful in the art and design industry. Specific areas of study include ceramics, design, digital media, critical studies, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and painting/drawing. USC art alumni are working all over the world; check out the latest list of alumni here.
Purdue University, one of the best public research universities in the world, is traced all the way back to 1862 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act. Purdue boasts many rankings and awards, including the 5th Most Innovative School and #8 Public University by U.S. News & Report.
Purdue’s BA in art history is a well-rounded degree that includes 20+ different courses in both western and non-western art. An additional minor is also required in history, literature, political science, philosophy, anthropology, or art and design studies. You will gain critical research skills through courses in Ancient and Medieval Periods, Renaissance and Baroque Periods, Modern and Contemporary Periods.
As a Purdue art history student, you have many museum internships and volunteering opportunities in renowned organizations like the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Purdue art history alumni are ready for careers in teaching, museums, art journalism, art dealing, to name a few. Additionally, this program prepares you well for graduate school.
Converse College, a private institution in Spartanburg, South Carolina, was born in 1889 and stands by its motto “to see clearly, decide wisely and act justly.” Through more than 40 academic majors, Converse provides a culture of belonging marked with “creativity, innovation, and transformation.” Converse’s BA in art history gives you a liberal arts education with the critical and creative studies of art history.
To meet the BA in art history’s required 120 credit hours, you will complete at least 36 hours in major courses including Intro History of Western I and II and Twentieth-Century Art Before and Since 1945. Along with lectures and discussions in classes, you will gain real-world experience through field trips, travel opportunities, and internships.
As a Converse art history student, you will gain personalized attention from professional and talented faculty in small classes of just 12. This program also emphasizes research and writing through faculty-mentored projects. Converse art history graduates are armed with knowledge and skills to succeed in the professional world with careers like art curators, art critics, art writers, and art educators.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Founded in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign boasts a long history of innovative transformation both in and out of the classroom. U.S. News & World Report ranks UIUC #15 public university and #47 national university! UUIC’s School of Art + Design features both a BA and BFA art history, and the one you choose will depend on your career goals.
The BA in art history is perfect if you want to gain a diverse, well-rounded liberal arts education to strengthen writing and research skills. The BFA in art history echoes many of the same requirements of the BA but includes hands-on studio courses. Both programs include courses like Contemporary Issues in Art, Introduction to the History of Art and Visual Culture, and Art since 1940.
UIUC’s art history programs allow you to get involved in organizations like the Society for Art History and Archeology (SAHA) and take advantage of the largest public university in the country, The University Library! Studying art history at UIUC leads to vibrant careers in the field like museums, galleries, education, library studies, and more.
A comprehensive private research university in Houston, Texas, Rice University is surrounded by a 300-acre tree “fence,” one of the most beautiful campuses on earth! Ranked among the country’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report, Rice boasts a tight-knit yet diverse community of intellect, culture, and fun! Rice’s BA in art history will get you to your future goals.
Rice’s BA with a major in art history is a diverse course of study that spans historical and geographical areas. You will take vibrant courses in topics such as Ancient-Medieval, Renaissance-18th Century art, and 19th century-present art. Within this major, you can choose to specialize in art history or the history of architecture. With ten full-time faculty members, you will receive personalized attention in small classes of an average of 6:1!
Rice art history students have access to Houston’s art museums, like the Menil Collection and the Museum of Fine Arts, along with other notable institutions. Get ready to travel, too, both to New York City in the spring and internationally, perhaps to Istanbul, Rome, London, Berlin, or Xi’an, China! The opportunities at Rice are massive; check out admission details here.
University of Washington – Seattle Campus
One of the world’s preeminent public universities, UW-Seattle, is known for its strong academics, research, and leadership. What is UW’s secret to success? Its “belief in possibility and unshakeable optimism.” UW’s BA in art allows you to choose from four concentrations: interdisciplinary visual arts, painting + drawing, photo/media, and 3D4M: ceramics + glass + sculpture.
The options from UW’s undergraduate art degree are a huge perk here. After completing introductory courses, you will start on courses towards your chosen concentration along with research and writing projects. Regardless of your concentration, you will take introductory art courses like Narratives in Art and Design, Basic Photo, Color Studies, and Intro to Contemporary Art.
This program includes many hands-on opportunities to develop critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, technical, and presentation skills. In fact, each year, UW’s School of Art + Art History + Design sends undergraduate students to other countries like Rome, Italy and Paris, France to explore art, history, and design. If you’re interested in UW’s art program, review the admission details here.
Prescott College is a private academic institution known for its motto, which is not just a motto but seen throughout the culture of the college: “For the Liberal Arts, the Environment, and Social Justice.” Prescott’s BFA in Art & Letters offers majors in creative writing, visual arts, and interdisciplinary studies. For this ranking, we are focusing on the visual arts and interdisciplinary concentrations.
The visual arts emphasis is for students who want to study visual communication for careers in art, teaching, or design or as a pathway to graduate school. The interdisciplinary concentration is for students who are drawn to different artistic disciplines and want to combine them into a well-rounded program. All BFA programs address literature, art history, research, and studio work.
The course combinations are endless, but you may take ones like Opening the Creative Person: An Applied Approach, Photographic Tactics for the Environment, and Creative Practice and Performance. Career options are also endless, and there’s no way we could cover all the potential careers here, but many Prescott art graduates go on to become art administrators, art critics, art theorists, and writers.
A private leading research university in Providence, Rhode Island, Brown University is known for its innovative, student-centered academics and Open Curriculum, where students develop their personalized course of study. Brown offers a dynamic A.B. in history of art and architecture where you can choose your own concentration.
You won’t find an academic program more customizable than this one (and others from Brown University.) Most students choose to concentrate on a particular time period, a particular field, or a methodology, like Ancient, Medieval, Contemporary, Critical Analysis, etc. However, you can choose to study whatever parts of art and architecture that interests you the most.
While the list of courses in this program is extensive, you may take ones like A Global History of Art and Architecture, The Art of Enlightenment, Twentieth-Century American Painting, and Research Seminars in Gothic Art. During your senior year, you will complete a capstone project under the support of a faculty sponsor.
Washington University in St. Louis
A private research university, Washington University in St. Louis, was founded in 1853 and serves among the nation’s leaders in education, research, and service to society. WashU comprises ten colleges and divisions, including Sam Fox School’s College of Design and Visual Arts, where you can earn either a BFA and BA in studio art, communication design, or fashion design.
If you want to earn a degree with an intensive focus, go for the BFA, and choose between studio art, communication design, or fashion design. You will complete 65 credit hours (around ½ of your total coursework) in studio courses and complete a final capstone showcasing your work. The BFA in art and design is ideal for those who want to pursue professional careers as designers and artists.
If you want a broader liberal arts education, go with the BA and choose between studio art or design. This program entails 30-36 credit hours of studio courses and provides greater flexibility to earn another major or minor. Sam Fox School graduates are “uniquely innovative, entrepreneurial, and engaged,” and they find rewarding careers in all sorts of art and design industries.
Ohio State University
Established in 1870 and graduating the first class in 1878, Ohio State University boasts quite a few bragging points from academics and leadership to the beloved mascot, Brutus Buckeye. U.S. News & World Report ranks OSU No. 17 among all public universities as well as first in the state. Through OSU’s Department of Art, you can earn a BFA in art and choose from seven emphasis areas.
OSU’s BA in art is a professional degree that includes a sequence of core courses, like Encountering Contemporary, Visual Studies, during the first and second years. You can then choose an area of emphasis from the following: Art and Technology, Ceramics, Glass, Painting and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, or Sculpture.
As an art student at OSU, you will complete a range of studio courses as well as in art history and theory. Additionally, you can choose a minor in either studio art or art engineering structure. As a senior, you will design a portfolio as well as display your artwork in the BFA Senior Exhibition.
Originally founded in 1869 as a private women’s college, Chatham University, a consistent top-ranked institution, currently has 2,200 students and 60+ academic programs in sustainability and health, business and communications, and the arts and sciences. Chatham University offers a unique BA in art management to prepare you for leadership roles within the artistic community.
This interdisciplinary art management undergraduate program combines business and art courses with an emphasis on strategic planning, management, and marketing. You will take courses such as Introduction to Visual Culture, Media Literacy, and Principles of Marketing. You can also choose a concentration or minor in art museums studies if you’re interested.
Another perk of earning an art management degree at Chatham is you are within walking distance to Pittsburgh’s renowned art institutions. Not only can you visit organizations like the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and The Andy Warhol Museum, you may find yourself interning there! Chatham graduates are armed with the knowledge and skills to start careers within the business art world, with roles of planning, organizing, leading.
First of all, Coker University’s campus in Hartsville, South Carolina, is breathtaking. With 15 acres of beauty and Georgia-style buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Coker combines a small-town feel within a gorgeous landscape. Coker, a private university, is known for being student-focused and comprehensive in nature: there is something for anyone!
Coker’s BA in art includes four concentrations: art education, fine arts, graphic design, or photography. While your course of study will depend on your emphasis area, you will take foundation courses like Drawing, Art in New York, and Interaction Design. You will be a part of a tight-knit group with 24-hour access to the studios and personalized attention from your professors.
College can be expensive, especially for art and design. That’s why Coker University works hard to keep tuition low and finds scholarships to help students pay for their degrees. In fact, Coker grants over $10,000,000 in student scholarships each year, and 95% of all Coker students receive some form of financial aid. Don’t let cost deter you in checking out Coker University.
Pennsylvania State University
A top-ranked research university focused on superb academics, rigorous research, and global service, Pennsylvania State University Penn State holds many awards and rankings, including the #2 university for producing CEOs, according to a recent LinkedIn study. Penn State’s BA in art (arts and architecture) provides a comprehensive liberal arts foundation with specific instruction in emphasis areas.
This BA in art is perfect, no matter if you want to jump into a career after graduation or go straight to graduate school. You will first choose an area of concentration in ceramics, drawing/painting, new media, photography, printmaking, or sculpture. In addition to general education and liberal art requirements, you will complete 52 credits for this major.
Required courses include Ideas as Visual Images, Commentary on Art, Ancient to Medieval Art, and Renaissance to Modern Art. If you’re considering Penn State’s BA in art, know that you will be a part of a diverse and vibrant culture of artists and award-winning faculty who will prepare you for a dynamic future in this field.
College of the Ozarks
Originally founded as a high school in 1906, College of the Ozarks is a Christian college offering more than 50 degree programs. C of U’s art department offers either a BA or BS in studio art or art education that meet the college’s academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals.
The studio art degree provides instruction and training in art while you choose an emphasis in graphic design, ceramics, computer art, and painting. You will complete courses like Drawing, Three-Dimensional Design, and Studio Art Seminars as well as foreign language courses like Biblical Hebrew and Classical Latin. A senior exhibition and art portfolio is required during your senior year.
The art education degree is for students who want to teach art at the K-12 level. This program includes a mix of art and education courses like Digital Photography and Digital Darkroom Techniques, Classroom Participation, and Analysis in Curriculum & Methods of Teaching. In this degree’s sequence, you will apply for admission to the Teacher Education program by the end of your fourth semester.
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
With more than 50,000 students, 20,000 faculty and staff, and 485,000 alumni, it is clear that something big is happening at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. As the flagship of Minnesota’s system, the Twin cities campus is known as one of the most prominent public research universities in the country.
Among UMN’s 150 undergraduate majors is a BA in studio art that provides a solid background in art history, art criticism, and art techniques. You can easily add another major in journalism, art history, or business to customize your degree to match your career goals. Through this program, you will take a combination of foundation and core courses, along with art electives.
Notable courses include Introduction to Contemporary Art and Theory; Art and Life: Thinking about Ethics Through Art; and Introduction to Drawing and Printmaking. After graduation, UMN art students go into a wide variety of careers in studio practice, education, nonprofit arts organizations, gallery and museums, and pretty much any art-related field you can think of.
Since it opened in 1874, Andrews University, a private, Seventh-day Adventist school, has stayed close to its commitments to “live wholly, explore intentionally, learn deeply, and engage globally.” With nearly 5,000 students, Andrews is one of the most culturally diverse universities in the nation (U.S. News & World Report) and a great place to earn a BA in art.
Andrew’s BA in art is a broad interdisciplinary program geared towards students planning on graduate school or those who want to combine art with another field like pre-med, business, education, etc. A minor is not required but recommended, and the list of available minors is extensive but includes art history, psychology, biology, leadership, writing, and much more.
You will complete 124 credit hours, which includes 45 credits in areas of art history, studio, visual art, communication, and design. You will complete at least one internship in a museum, art gallery, office, non-profit, or outreach programs. Andrews graduates either go straight to graduate school or start careers in art programs, event planning, non-profit organization, among others.
Founded in 1853, Culver-Stockton College is a private Christian school with a 14-acre campus overlooking the Mississippi River. C-SC is ranked #1 in Missouri as Best College for Employment. In fact, 96% of students are employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation! Check out the BA in art at C-SC, one that pairs nicely with another field.
Students who pursue the BA in art usually double major or choose a minor in another related or non-related field. Through a mixture of diverse and dynamic classes, you will gain intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. In addition to general education courses, you will complete 43 credit hours in foundation, core, intermediate, advanced, and capstone courses.
Sample courses include Two-Dimensional Design, Digital Studio, Drawing, and Art History. You will also complete seven hours in capstone courses and create a professional portfolio before you graduate. An internship is also required, and you have the opportunity to study abroad in Europe! C-SC graduates start careers in performance, museum maintenance, banks, tourism areas, photography, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of jobs can art historians get?
If you’re leaning towards a bachelor’s in art history, there are plenty of jobs out there to consider. Perhaps one of the most common choices for art historians are archivists or curators. These professionals oversee institutions’ historical items and artwork and work in museums, historical sites, governments, colleges, and other institutions.
Some art historians become educators, either in a traditional academic setting or for a museum or other institution. Art history educators typically spend time researching, educating the public, and mentoring art students.
Art historians also become art librarians or library media specialists or go into the publishing field and work for book publishing houses. Then, there are art history majors who go into the advertising/public relations field. They use their expertise to become art directors, policy analysts, or public relations specialists.
The bottom line here is that the skills gained through an art history degree, like critical analysis, communication, research, cultural awareness, and creativity are highly marketable and can translate into a number of fields.
How much money can art history majors make?
An art history major’s degree, expertise, and experience will determine his or her salary. Generally, an art history degree will help you gain employment in museums and art galleries. The BLS reports that archivists, curators, and museum workers earn an average of $52,140 per year.
Similarly, art librarians and library media specialists bring in around $60,820 per year, and art educators earn around $62,870 each year. These numbers will give you an idea of how much money art history majors can make, but since art history is a major that develops critical skills like research and analysis, it’s safe to say that there is no limit to how much art history majors can make. Additionally, many art history majors go to graduate school after they earn an undergraduate degree, and master’s degrees open up higher salary potential.
Is an art or art history degree worth it?
If you’re interested in art/art history, then yes, a degree is definitely worth it. Art/art history programs provide much needed skills in critical thinking, research, communication, and creativity, which translate into skills most jobs require. Likewise, many art/art history majors combine art with another field such as business or education, making this degree even more marketable.
The bottom line is that if you love art/art history and see yourself in this vibrant field, then the degree is most certainly worth it and will pay off.
Are art history classes hard?
You may have heard that art history classes are hard, and there’s a reason this question is asked. The truth is that art history encompasses memorization, research, and studying, which can be true for any subject! However, art history is more than studying pictures. This field encompasses architecture, film, performance art, landscapes, calligraphy, mass media, and more. Art history may be hard for some, but if you are fascinated by the subject, then don’t let its potential challenges deter you.
Can I get an art/art history degree online?
Yes! You can most certainly earn an art/art history degree online. While most of our rankings in this article are on-campus programs, some of them offer online degrees as well. For example, check out Arizona State University’s Online Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Lindenwood University’s Online Bachelor of Arts in Art History & Visual Culture.
How long does it take to get an art or art history degree?
A bachelor’s degree in art or art history will typically take approximately four years. Bachelor’s degrees include general education courses, major courses, electives, projects, and sometimes an internship, and generally entail at least 120 credit hours.