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Art history courses

Have a passion for art and like the sound of overseas field trips to study works of art first-hand? A degree in art history involves analysing and writing about art and architecture from classical to contemporary, looking at key themes and art movements, techniques and materials. Careers after this course include art gallery or museum curator or researcher, working in an auction house or traditional graduate jobs such as law and teaching.

Studying art history at university

Example course modules

  • Approaching the past
  • From medieval to early modern art
  • Introduction to art since 1990
  • Histories and theories of art
  • Ideas of renaissance
  • Arts and the industrial revolution
  • Form and function
  • Makers and making
  • Elements of visual culture
  • A story of art

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 83%
    Male : 17%
  • Mature : 23%
    School leaver : 77%
  • Full-time : 88%
    Part-time : 12%

What students say about art history

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • No Specific Requirements

Useful to have

  • history
  • Art
  • English literature
  • Religious studies
  • Modern foreign language

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
History is a very popular subject – in 2012, nearly 11,000 UK students graduated in a history-related course. Obviously, there aren't 11,000 jobs as historians available every year, but history is a good, flexible degree that allows graduates to go into a wide range of different jobs. Consequently, history graduates have an unemployment rate comparable to the national graduate average. Many – probably most – jobs for graduates don't ask for a particular degree to go into them and history graduates are well set to take advantage. That's why so many go into jobs in the finance industry, management and sales and marketing. Around one in five history graduates went into further study last year – only law saw more graduates continue on to study. History and teaching were the most popular further study subjects for history graduates, but law, journalism, politics and museum studies were also popular postgraduate courses.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Other elementary services occupations

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Museum curator
  • Fine artist
  • Exhibition manager

Other real-life job examples

  • Public relations officer
  • Periodical editor
  • Interior designer

What employers like about this subject

An art history student can expect to learn a number of subject-specific skills, including criticism and analysis of art, ideas and visual culture, the ability to clearly and concisely express ideas and to appreciate the impact art has on society - and vice versa. You can also develop useful transferable skills including communication, team-working, critical thinking and observation skills. Industries employing art history graduates include museums, galleries, the creative arts, universities, the government, design agencies, management consultancies, advertising agencies and publishing.