Skip to content
Home » Online Colleges » Art History Degree

Art History Degree

This guide provides information about the top online bachelor’s in art and art history programs. It also highlights the common classes and careers one can pursue with an art history degree.

Bachelor’s in art and art history programs cater to students looking to transform their passion for art, sculpture, photography, or multimedia into marketable professional skills.

The demand for workers with art skills and strong art history knowledge varies widely across professions. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for multimedia artists and animators to grow 4% between 2019 and 2029. Meanwhile, the number of archivists, curators, and museum workers is projected to increase 11% over that same time period.

Earning a bachelor’s degree typically qualifies students for entry-level positions, and some career paths require a more advanced degree.

Key Takeaways

  • Online bachelor’s in art and art history programs offer students the opportunity to pursue their passion and transform it into a marketable professional skill.
  • The demand for workers with art skills and strong art history knowledge varies widely across professions.
  • Earning a bachelor’s degree in art and art history typically qualifies students for entry-level positions, and some career paths require a more advanced degree.

How We Rank Schools

NextGraduate offers rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students. Their rankings are based on guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Interested students can read their Ranking Methodology to learn more.

Here are some of the top-ranked schools that offer programs related to the field of study:

SchoolProgramDegreeTransfer CreditsFinancial Aid
Arizona State UniversityArt HistoryBachelor’sYesYes
University of ArizonaArt and Visual Culture EducationBachelor’sYesYes
University of Massachusetts LowellArt HistoryBachelor’sYesYes
Savannah College of Art and DesignArt HistoryBachelor’sYesYes
Boston UniversityArt EducationMaster’sYesYes

Contact the universities above to learn more about their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more.

Best Accredited Online Bachelor’s in Art and Art History Programs

For students who are interested in art and art history, there are many options available to them for earning an online bachelor’s degree. Some of the best accredited online bachelor’s in art and art history programs include:

Pennsylvania State University-World Campus

  • Location: University Park, PA
  • Tuition: $21,678
  • Graduation Rate: 71%
  • Program: Online Bachelor of Arts in Letters, Arts, and Sciences
  • Credits Required: 120
  • Tuition per Credit: $576-$617
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Penn State World Campus offers a diverse online Bachelor of Arts in Letters, Arts, and Sciences, allowing students to explore a broad spectrum of academic fields including arts and humanities. The program’s flexible elective courses enable students with an interest in art and art history to tailor their education to their passions, preparing them for a variety of professional paths.

Arizona State University-Skysong

  • Location: Scottsdale, AZ
  • Tuition: $14,166
  • Graduation Rate: 14%
  • Program: Online Bachelor of Arts in Art – Museum Studies
  • Credits Required: 120
  • Tuition per Credit: $561-$661
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

ASU’s online Bachelor of Arts in Art with a focus on Museum Studies is designed to equip students for careers in museums, galleries, and cultural institutions. The curriculum includes studies from Renaissance to Modernism and art from various cultures, providing a comprehensive understanding of the art world.

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

  • Location: Lowell, MA
  • Tuition: $18,257
  • Graduation Rate: 63%
  • Program: Online Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts – Art History Concentration
  • Credits Required: 120
  • Tuition per Credit: $380
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

UMass Lowell’s online Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Art History offers a deep dive into the art world, from prehistoric to modern times. The program, with courses like Comparative Arts and American Art, is ideal for students seeking a comprehensive education in art history.

SUNY Empire State College

  • Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Tuition: $13,415
  • Graduation Rate: 26%
  • Program: Online Bachelor of Arts in the Arts
  • Tuition per Credit: $295 (in-state), $353 (out-of-state)
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

SUNY Empire State College offers an adaptable online Bachelor of Arts in the Arts, where students can concentrate on visual arts, graphic design, or craft an interdisciplinary program. This flexibility caters to students’ unique interests and career goals in the arts.

Lindenwood University

  • Location: Saint Charles, MO
  • Graduation Rate: 50%
  • Program: Online Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design
  • Credits Required: 120
  • Tuition per Credit: $450
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Lindenwood University’s online Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design merges traditional art education with modern digital skills. Courses in digital photography, visual storytelling, and web design prepare students for the evolving demands of the art and design industry

What Can I Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Art and Art History Program?

An online bachelor’s degree in art and art history provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the arts, media, and culture. The program is designed to help students develop the necessary skills to become artists, designers, and art historians.

Courses in a Bachelor’s in Art and Art History Program

A bachelor’s degree in art and art history program offers a variety of courses that cover different aspects of art, including aesthetics, production, and communication.

Students will learn about different cultures, time periods, and eras of art. The curriculum includes courses such as:

  • Sculpture: This course introduces students to different methods, materials, and processes around making sculptures. Students build technical skills while learning how to critique sculpture. The class may also cover the history of sculpture and learn about different materials such as wood, plaster, metal, and clay.
  • Drawing: Many art programs incorporate a drawing class that builds skills in sketching, illustration, and design. The course emphasizes the role of drawing in art practice, while students practice different drawing techniques and learn the difference between abstract drawing and observational drawing.
  • Photography: In photography classes, students learn to design, process, and edit photographic art. The class may use digital imaging processes and require studio projects based on different themes. Students build critiquing skills and learn to interpret photographic art.
  • Art history: Art history students often start with an introductory class, which covers major movements in art such as the Renaissance, romanticism, and postmodern art. They learn about important artists, their medium, and the context for their work. This class prepares art history majors for more in-depth study of particular periods in art.
  • Senior Project: Many art programs incorporate a senior project for students based on their fine art specialty. Senior projects may include a research component, where students learn about artists that inspire their work, and a studio component where students create work and critique each other’s work. The class may end with a studio exhibit to showcase the work.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bachelor’s in Art and Art History?

Typically, a bachelor’s degree takes four years of full-time study and requires a minimum of 120 credits.

However, the length of an art degree may vary depending on the program and a student’s educational background.

Students with significant transfer credits, for example, may be able to finish a bachelor’s degree in art and art history in only one or two years. On the other hand, students who choose a part-time option may require more than four years.

How Much Is a Bachelor’s in Art and Art History?

The cost of an art and art history bachelor’s degree varies depending on the program and the institution.

In-state public colleges and universities charge the lowest tuition rate, for example, with College Board reporting that these institutions charged an average tuition rate of just under $10,000 a year in 2017/2018.

Out-of-state public schools, by comparison, charged over $25,000 in tuition, with private schools exceeding $35,000 a year.

An art degree may cost less if students secure scholarships, grants, or other forms of financial aid. Some schools also offer tuition discounts for fully online programs.

When calculating the cost of a degree, students need to consider additional costs beyond tuition, such as books and supplies, fees, and living expenses.

Online students may save on commuting, parking, and childcare expenses, which can add up to thousands of dollars each year.

Certifications and Licenses a Bachelor’s in Art and Art History Prepares For

Art and art history graduates pursue a variety of careers after graduation, most of which do not require a certification or license.

However, artists who choose to specialize in education may decide to earn a teaching license or become a board certified art teacher.

In addition, artists in graphics or animation may benefit from earning certifications in their specialty.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.

If a bachelor’s in art and art history program is not the right fit, students can explore other similar degree programs. Some programs that may be of interest include:

  • Bachelor’s in Studio Arts
  • Bachelor’s in Graphic Design
  • Bachelor’s in Visual Communication Design
  • Bachelor’s in Art Education

Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

Prospective students can find the tools they need to get started on their degree by exploring the following resources:

  • Private Student Loans Guide
  • The Student Guide to College Planning
  • Your Guide to the FAFSA

Related Posts:

What Can I Do With an Online Bachelor’s in Art and Art History Degree?

Graduates with an online bachelor’s degree in art and art history have a wide range of career options available to them. From art-related careers to education, preservation, and restoration, there is a variety of industries and specialties that they can explore. Here are some of the popular career paths that graduates can pursue:

Art and Art History Careers

Art and art history graduates can pursue a variety of careers in the art industry. Some of these careers include:

  • Art Historian: Art historians study the history of art and its cultural significance. They conduct research, write papers, and give lectures on art history topics. Art historians can work in museums, galleries, or universities.
  • Curator: Curators are responsible for managing collections of art or artifacts. They research, acquire, and organize pieces for exhibitions and displays. Curators can work in museums, galleries, or other cultural institutions.
  • Art Critic: Art critics write reviews and critiques of art exhibitions and performances. They analyze and interpret the meaning and significance of art. Art critics can work for newspapers, magazines, or online publications.
  • Gallery Owner: Gallery owners manage art galleries and oversee the sale of artwork. They work with artists to curate exhibitions and promote their work. Gallery owners can work for commercial galleries or run their own business.

Preservation and Restoration Careers

Graduates with an online bachelor’s degree in art and art history can also pursue careers in preservation and restoration, including:

  • Archivist: Archivists are responsible for preserving and organizing historical documents and artifacts. They work in museums, libraries, or other cultural institutions.
  • Museum Curator: Museum curators are responsible for managing collections of art or artifacts and organizing exhibitions and displays. They work in museums, galleries, or other cultural institutions.
  • Museum Technician: Museum technicians assist curators and conservators in the care and handling of art and artifacts. They prepare objects for display, pack and transport objects, and maintain records of collections.

Education Careers

Graduates with an online bachelor’s degree in art and art history can pursue careers in education, including:

  • Teacher: Art and art history graduates can become teachers at the elementary, middle, or high school level. They can also teach at community colleges or art schools. To become a teacher, graduates typically need to earn a teaching license.
  • College Professor: To become a college professor, graduates typically need to earn a master’s or doctorate degree in art or art history. College professors teach courses in art history, studio art, or other related subjects. They also conduct research and publish papers in their field.

For those who are interested in related careers, here are some options to consider:

  • Photographer: Photographers take pictures for various purposes, such as commercial, private, industrial, fine art, and journalistic. Some positions require professionals to take pictures out in the field in rugged conditions, while others involve capturing valuable lifetime memories at meaningful events like weddings.
  • Design Careers: Design careers are popular in various industries. Graduates with an art degree typically pursue roles as graphic designers, interior designers, game designers, animators, or fashion designers.
  • Film Industry Careers: The film industry offers several opportunities for art and art history majors. For example, filmmakers may consult with art history professionals to maintain historical accuracy for a film. Additionally, art professionals may help design sets, edit footage, or create graphic elements for movies. Careers such as director, producer, or screenwriter may require a more specific film degree.

Key Points about Online Art History Program:

  • Bachelor’s in art and art history programs cater to students interested in art, sculpture, photography, or multimedia.
  • Programs offer concentrations in areas like Painting, Art History, Photography, Design, and Fine Arts.
  • Common courses include Sculpture, Drawing, Photography, Introduction to Art History, and a Senior Project.
  • Programs typically take four years of full-time study and require a minimum of 120 credits.
  • Costs vary widely depending on the institution, with in-state public colleges generally being the most affordable.

Career Outlook:

  • Careers span several industries, including museum work, interior design, photography, multimedia art, and education.
  • Art and design workers earn a median annual wage of $48,130, higher than the median for all occupations.
  • Fields like historic preservation and restoration, photography, design, film, and education are common paths.

Additional Resources:

  • Professional organizations like the College Art Association, Society of Illustrators, National Association of Independent Artists, National Art Education Association, and American Institute of Graphic Arts offer networking, professional development, and career resources.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bachelor’s in Art and Art History Programs

Is Pursuing an Art and Art History Major a Good Idea?

While pursuing a bachelor’s in art and art history can lead to great career opportunities, some fields may be more competitive than others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), workers in the art and design industry earn a median annual wage of $48,130. However, it’s important to establish your goals so you can select a program that develops the skills you need to launch a successful career.

What Career Paths are Available for Graduates with a Bachelor’s in Art and Art History?

Graduates with a bachelor’s in art and art history qualify for a variety of positions across several industries. Some common jobs include museum technician, curator, interior designer, photographer, and multimedia artist. While a bachelor’s degree opens up the door to many entry-level opportunities, you may need to earn a graduate degree to qualify for career advancement.

What is the Job Outlook for Art and Art History Majors?

According to the Center for Education Statistics, the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree-holders ages 25-29 in 2018 was 2.9%. The rate was 3.7% for fine arts majors and 4.9% for graduates with a degree in the liberal arts or humanities. Starting a successful career may involve using your art skills in a field with higher employment rates, such as marketing, education, or design.

What is the Salary Potential for Graduates with a Bachelor’s in Art and Art History?

Salaries vary widely depending on a worker’s position, experience, and industry. According to the BLS, workers in the art and design industry earn a median annual wage of $48,130. However, PayScale reports that graduates with a bachelor’s in art history earn an average salary of $61,010. The highest-paying jobs in art or art history include creative director, interior designer, product designer, design manager, and visual designer. Workers in these roles make average salaries ranging from $78,000-$97,000.

Do You Need a Graduate Degree to Advance Your Career in Art and Art History?

While a bachelor’s degree in art and art history can lead to entry-level opportunities, you may need to earn a graduate degree to qualify for career advancement. Additionally, some positions, such as museum curator, require a graduate degree. It’s important to research your desired career path to determine the education level needed for career advancement.

Resources for Art and Art History Students

Art Jobs Board

The Art Jobs Board is a free resource with over 500,000 artists using it to find paid and unpaid job opportunities, events, and workshops to support artists. Students and professionals alike can benefit from the job board, which offers a wide range of opportunities.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met website offers learning resources for students, teachers, and professionals. The site includes a full timeline of art history, allowing students to explore the development of art over time.

Google ART Project

Google’s ART Project provides access to over 40,000 images from museums around the world. Artists and art historians can zoom in on images and learn about artists throughout history, making it an invaluable resource for research and education.

AIGA Design Jobs

The AIGA Design Jobs board offers a variety of design openings across the country, including positions for graphic designers, UX/UI designers, and academic positions. The board also features freelance, internship, and pro bono opportunities for designers, making it a great resource for students and recent graduates.

Appraisers Association of America

The Appraisers Association of America offers artists a membership directory to locate a local appraiser. This resource can be particularly useful for artists looking to value their work or insure their collection.

Professional Organizations in Art and Art History

Professional organizations in art and art history provide a wealth of resources for students and professionals alike. These organizations bring together artists working in different mediums and provide networking opportunities, awards and competitions, and professional development resources. Many organizations also offer career services, including job boards where graduates can post their resumes.

College Art Association

The College Art Association promotes the exchange of ideas between artists and art historians. The organization publishes The Art Bulletin and Art Journal, hosts an annual conference, and provides information about job openings. Students and professionals can benefit from the many resources available through the CAA.

Society of Illustrators

The Society of Illustrators supports the art of illustration and runs a museum in New York City. The organization hosts events, confers awards, and organizes competitions for artists. Students and professionals in the field of illustration can benefit from the resources provided by the Society.

National Association of Independent Artists

The National Association of Independent Artists offers opportunities to network, resources for hosting art shows, and information for artists to advance their careers. Members receive access to a directory for networking, discount programs, and the NAIA newspaper.

National Art Education Association

The National Art Education Association is a professional organization for art educators. Members include K-12 art teachers, professors, future art educators, and teaching artists. The association publishes standards, provides resources on teaching, and hosts conferences and summer programs.

American Institute of Graphic Arts

The American Institute of Graphic Arts brings together design professionals and advocates for the value of design. The organization offers professional development resources, including access to the jobs board, member discounts, and health insurance enrollment assistance. Students and professionals in the field of graphic design can benefit from the many resources provided by AIGA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Top Accredited Online Art History Degree Programs

Several top accredited online art history degree programs are available for students to choose from. Some of the most popular options include the online art history programs offered by the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Lindenwood University, and Empire State College. These programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offer a comprehensive curriculum that covers a range of topics in art history, including Western art, non-Western art, contemporary art, and more.

Duration of Online Art History Degree Programs

The duration of an online art history degree program depends on several factors, including the level of the degree, the student’s course load, and the program’s requirements. In general, most online bachelor’s degree programs in art history take around four years to complete, while master’s degree programs typically take two years. However, some programs may offer accelerated options that allow students to complete their degree more quickly.

Pursuing a Master’s Degree in Art History Online

Yes, it is possible to pursue a master’s degree in art history entirely online. Many universities and colleges offer online master’s degree programs in art history, including the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Southern New Hampshire University, and the University of Memphis. These programs typically require students to complete a certain number of credit hours, participate in online discussions, and complete research projects.

Most Affordable Online Art History Degree Options

Several affordable online art history degree options are available for students. Some of the most affordable programs include the online Bachelor of Arts in Art History program offered by Empire State College, which costs $295 per credit for in-state students and $353 per credit for out-of-state students. Other affordable options include the online Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design History program offered by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which costs $437 per credit for both in-state and out-of-state students.

Preparing for a Career in Art History with an Online Degree

An online art history degree can prepare students for various careers in the field, such as museum curator, art historian, art critic, and more. These programs typically provide students with a strong foundation in art history, as well as critical thinking, research, and communication skills. Students may also have the opportunity to complete internships or other hands-on experiences that can help prepare them for their future careers.

Free Online Courses and Resources for Art History Students

Several free online courses and resources are available for art history students who want to supplement their degree. Some popular options include the Khan Academy.

The Khan Academy offers a range of free art history courses and resources. The Getty Museum is another option, offering online exhibits and educational materials. Additionally, many universities and colleges offer free online courses in art history that students can take advantage of.