What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Art And Art History?

For art enthusiasts, a master’s degree in art and art history provides you with a gateway into the vast world of art, from museums and galleries to academic research and graphic design. A degree in art history, especially one as advanced as a master’s, provides you with a strong historical framework along with the analytical and communication skills necessary to make informed interpretations of particular artistic developments. These professional interpretations help guide curatorial outcomes and art market values and influence the contemporary art market.

Online master’s programs in art and art history offer the same quality education as traditional on-campus programs but in a more convenient format. Distance learners can typically take classes at their own pace while completing certain milestones along the way and successfully balance other work and family commitments.

When investigating art and art history master’s programs, it’s important to choose one that aligns with your short- and long-term career goals.

Curriculum for an Online Master’s in Art And Art History

Master’s level coursework in art and art history typically addresses historical or cultural art movements or specific eras, such as the Victorian age, pop culture in the 60s or African art. Regardless of your chosen specialty area, foundational coursework can be found across programs, including topics such as theoretical methodologies and art criticism. Below is a list of common courses found in master’s art and art history programs.

COURSES DESCRIPTION
Art History Methodologies Examines art history as a whole and how it is constantly evolving. It usually covers its beginnings in symbolic and iconographic interpretations through political and psychological approaches of the modern age. Field founders are typically examined in depth, including Hegel and Kant, Panofsky and Warburg along with more modern theorists including Foucault, Derrida and Lacan.
Art Historical Criticism Students gain a deeper understanding of art historical discourse within the foundations of art criticism. Students are trained to identify and dissect arguments and form counterpoints. This course helps students build critical analysis and composition skills through editing and refining texts — a skill crucial to many jobs available in the art world.
Master’s Thesis: Research Almost all master’s in art and art history programs involve a master’s thesis component, where you execute individual research for your final thesis. You typically work under the direction of an academic advisor and work with other students in your program.
Master’s Thesis: Writing The other component to your master’s thesis in art and art history is writing. Essentially, your thesis proposal is expanded into a publish-ready research presentation.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Master’s in Art And Art History?

The length of time it takes to complete your program in art and art history depends on your chosen course load and objectives. Online programs offer the flexibility to take classes at your own pace. Most master’s in art and art history programs can be completed in one and a half to two years.

Preexisting language skills also make a difference in the length — for instance, students who are studying Italian Renaissance art and have existing reading knowledge of Italian will have an easier time completing course requirements. The challenges of independent research and the master’s thesis component are also big factors that affect the overall length of time for completion.

Accreditation for Online Master’s in Art And Art History

Completing your online master’s degree in art and art history at an accredited institution helps set you up for success in your future career. Accreditation demonstrates the quality and value of your degree and ensures the institution you attend meets minimum standards of quality for higher education. At the present time, no specific accreditation board provides art history accreditation, but all arts programs are protected under general standards provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Art And Art History Graduates

Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s

Today’s graduates of art history bachelor’s programs often have a hard time finding well-paying positions. A master’s degree in art history, however, opens more doors to career advancement and can help boost your salary.

Expected Salary

Art history master’s degrees provide students with a deep understanding of cultural and artistic movements along with the analytical and writing skills necessary to engage others in intelligent art discourse. Below is a list of common occupations that require a master’s degree in art and art history, along with each one’s median annual salary.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

While the type of workplace, years of experience and chosen area of specialty within art and art history all affect your salary, geographical location also plays a role. Below is a map of art directors annual mean wages nationwide. Blank states indicate data was not available.

Art Director Mean Wages by State
Figures in US Dollars per year

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Opportunities

Those who earn master’s degrees in art and art history are qualified for many jobs in a variety of workplaces, including academic institutions and museums.

JOB TITLE JOB DESCRIPTION MEDIAN SALARY PROJECTED GROWTH RATE
Art Director Most of the time, Art Directors work for all sorts of publications, including magazines, newspapers, ad companies, web pages and the film industry. Depending on the job, art directors are often in charge of artists, graphic designers and administrative staff. $92,500 per year 5%
Art Historian Art Historians help reconstruct lost, underrepresented or contemporary art histories. To do this, they work with archives, libraries, museums and galleries. Most art historians work as professional researchers, professors and teachers. $59,120 per year 6%
Curator Curators at museums ideate, design and implement permanent displays and temporary exhibitions in museum gallery spaces. This type of position requires a strong understanding of historical trends in art, theoretical methodologies and research skills. Curators also have to be skilled at communicating to a nonspecialist community, which helps bring people such as tourists and locals into the museum. $47,360 per year 13%
Sales Managers Places where art resides, such as galleries, museums and auction houses, all need Sales Managers to function effectively. With an art history background, you can work as an acquisitions administrator or sales manager by recognizing and identifying quality or rare works of art for personal or institutional art collections. $121,060 per year 7%

Financing Your Online Master’s in Art And Art History

While online degrees are often less expensive than taking on-campus classes, many students still need financial aid to help them pay for the cost of their education. A good first step is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which provides you with information about grants, loans and scholarships available to you through the federal government. You may also be able to find scholarships from nonprofit organizations, private companies or schools you’re interested in applying to for completing your master’s degree in art and art history.

Resources

Scholarships

Scholarships

Details

GetEducated.com Distance Learning Scholarship

Award: $1,000

Deadline: March and October

Eligibility: U.S. citizens enrolled in an accredited online degree program who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.