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Why study an art history degree?

Students wanting to study art history abroad will enjoy the array of options available to them, with opportunities to gain a more broad education that covers many different aspects of art throughout history, as well as quite specific curricula based around a particular area of specialization, such as museum curation or heritage building management. Whatever your passion or area of interest, a degree in art history is a great stepping stone. It is a study area that becomes even greater with time – modern day art history studies become more and more inclusive of female artists as well as non-Western art, both of which were previously seldom seen in art history literature. This makes for an even more interesting, inspiring and well-rounded education.

What are prerequisites for studying art history abroad?

The great thing about studying art history abroad is that it is a very accessible area of education and generally does not require any specific prerequisites beyond a high school certificate (e.g. A-levels or SATs). However, an understanding of different historical periods and analytical experiences will help you on your way to analyzing, understanding and theorizing art and its different stylistic contexts. 

For more prestigious universities with limited spaces, students wanting to study an art history degree would benefit from having taken some of the following subjects at high school:

  • History
  • Art
  • English literature
  • Religion & theology
  • Languages
  • Philosophy

As well as this, any opportunities to communicate your enthusiasm and passion for art and history with your university application would also be greatly beneficial. Some universities may even require some form of portfolio as part of your application.

Museum visitors observe one of Van Gough's self portraits, a classic piece of art history

What will I learn in an art history degree?

According to Business Insider, these are 15 skills that you can expect to develop by studying an art history degree:

  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Presentations and public speaking
  • Strong writing skills
  • Comfort adapting content for different audiences and users
  • Intensive research
  • Problem-solving and decision-making
  • Attention to detail
  • Organization
  • Time management
  • Ability to work independently or in teams
  • Listening and asking insightful questions
  • Open mindedness
  • Aesthetic and design consciousness
  • Broad historical and cultural knowledge
  • Creativity

As well as these, studying art history abroad will provide you with opportunities to see world-famous art and architecture in its original environment. Throughout history, art has both reflected and influenced society and culture, and to understand these stories is to understand how we have become how we are today. After an art history degree, you'll be able to see these historical influences in your immediate surroundings, from the colors of brands to specific styles of architecture.

What can I do with an art history degree?

Studying an art history degree abroad can lead to many different careers, depending on how much of your specialist skills you wish to incorporate.

For those passionate about art history who want to utilize the specific skills and knowledge learned through their degree, a career in research, archaeology, anthropology, film or translation could be a possibility. However, these academic-focused careers usually will require more than a bachelor’s degree, sometimes even a PhD degree in art history.

Studying art history abroad can also lead to other interesting careers, including:

  • Teaching
  • Museums & galleries
  • Arts administration
  • National trusts & heritage
  • Library & information
  • Publishing
  • Marketing
  • Public relations

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale.com, these are some average statistics about careers within Art History in the U.S.:

Typical Entry-Level Education

Master's degree

Number of Jobs

31,000

Job Outlook, 2016 - 26

13% (faster than average)

Some average salaries:

Museum Curator

$34,615 - $71,851

Archivist

$29,679 - $64,019

Historian

$30,008 - $82,147

Librarian

$34,489 - $72,185


Or perhaps you're interested in studying abroad in a related field:

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