Best Master's In Art And Art History Degrees

Updated January 31, 2023

Master's in art and art history degrees allow students to specialize in topics like German art from multiple eras, or European art

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Color your career with one of the nation’s best online master’s in art and art history degrees.

Are you captivated by visual art and its long, complex history? Do you believe we should interpret art through the frame of history? Can you envision yourself in a museum promoting better education on the arts?

Then a master’s in art and art history may be for you!

What kind of online master’s in art history degree should you get?

If there are special editorial call-outs, please be sure to go over the word count limit to include them. For example in psychology, you cannot be a practicing psychologist in the United States without an advanced degree, and an online program will require hands-on training.

Art history students can pursue degree concentrations in museum studies or specific historical studies. Some of the best degree programs in art history don't require any specialization, but specializations make students more marketable to specific employers.

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A specialization in museum studies prepares students to work as museum personnel. They learn about the ways museums acquire their collections, ethical issues involved in operating a museum, and how to effectively manage those collections. This type of program often comes before a doctoral program, as a museum curator will sometimes need a PhD.

Historical studies programs let students focus on a specific theme, period, or region's artwork. These programs allow students to specialize in topics like German art from multiple eras, or European artistic movements. In these courses, students look at the ways in which artists in their chosen area were influenced, as well as the ways in which they influenced future work. They also learn how to conduct research on art history.

How much money can you make with an online master’s in art history degree?

With an art history degree, you can move on to work in various museum and gallery roles. Common job titles within the field include museum curator, archivist, museum technician, and conservator. The median salary for workers in this field in 2018 was $48,400 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Museum curators tended to draw higher salaries than other personnel.

The job outlook for museum personnel is relatively good. Current data projects 13% growth in museum jobs between 2016 and 2026, which is higher than average.

What can you do with an online master’s in art history degree?

Common positions for art history graduates include museum curator, conservator, and archivist.

  • Museum Curator

    Museum curators acquire, store, and exhibit a museum's collections. Their work includes negotiations for new pieces, media representation of works, and authentication of art objects. Some curator positions may require a doctoral degree, though others may not.
  • Conservator

    Conservators use specialized equipment to handle and preserve works of art. This job can also involve a heavy research element, as they document findings, look into appropriate means to preserve specific works or materials, and write for scholarly journals.
  • Archivists

    Archivists focus on the preservation of documents and other works. This job can often be supplemented by a specialization in a specific historical era.

What are the requirements for an online master’s in art history degree?

A degree in a related field from an accredited institution will usually be required. Some schools will also expect a minimum GPA, ranging from 2.75 to 3.0.

Two to three letters of recommendation will be required at most institutions.

Students should expect to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) before applying

Whether referred to as an artist's statement, statement of intent, or cover letter, students should expect to write a statement of what they intend to do in the program.

Most schools will want a writing sample that covers art or art history topics, or a related topic like aesthetics.

What are the best online master’s in art history degrees?

If you've resolved to pursue a master's degree in art history online, use these rankings to find the programs with the best overall value. Drawing on data available from U.S. News & World Report and Payscale.com, these rankings use a mix of academic quality and return on investment to determine which programs really have the best offerings.

To place highly in these rankings, schools must match value, satisfaction, and academic quality. Higher-ranking schools deliver solid post-graduation salaries with low tuition cost, have strong reports of student satisfaction, high graduation rates, and solid student-to-faculty ratio.

Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

#1 Best Master’s In Art And Art History Degrees

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

  • Natchitoches, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Northwestern State University of Louisiana has a reputation for developing rigorous online graduate programs. The master of arts in art program features many of the qualities graduates with a bachelor’s in art need to advance their education in this field. The program blends academic rigor with a flexible and affordable online course delivery.

Enrollees receive more individualized attention with a 20-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. The curriculum is steeped in advanced theoretical concepts and practices in art. The training learners receive is an important step for career advancement or a doctoral degree in this field and related ones.

Tuition depends on state residency status. Louisiana students pay $5,738 annually, and those living out of state pay $16,526. The financial aid options available to qualifying students include grants and scholarships. There are also student loans available, an option taken by about 48% of enrollees at this institution.

Average Tuition
In-state
$5,180
Out-of-state
$15,968
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
10,900
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Master’s In Art And Art History Degrees

Azusa Pacific University

  • Azusa, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Azusa Pacific University administers several quality online graduate programs. The master of arts in music industry features many of the qualities graduates with a bachelor’s in art need to advance their education in this field. The program provides advanced training in a format friendly to those who work or must manage other obligations.

Degree candidates receive more individualized attention with an 11-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. Learners complete a strong curriculum in art delivered by faculty with industry expertise. In an increasingly competitive workforce, those with a master’s degree stand out because of the rigorous academic preparation they underwent.

Degree-seekers can expect to pay $17,592 per year in tuition. Many learners qualify for financial aid such as grants and scholarships from the school and third parties. Student loans are also available, with 44% of enrollees using them to finance all or part of their degree.

Average Tuition
In-state
$39,640
Out-of-state
$39,640
Retention Rate
80%
Admission Rate
67%
Students Enrolled
9,297
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

#3 Best Master’s In Art And Art History Degrees

Lindenwood University

  • Saint Charles, MO
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Prospective graduate students interested in pursuing a master's in art history and visual culture should consider the program at Lindenwood University. The program is among the school's six online master's degrees delivered from the Saint Charles, Missouri, campus. This adaptable program opens up access to full-time workers and others with scheduling challenges preventing in-person graduate education.

The admissions criteria for a master's varies depending on the degree, but applicants typically need a bachelor’s in a related major. Degree candidates complete rigorous coursework they couldn’t access in a bachelor’s degree alone. Another benefit of this degree is preparation for a doctoral program or another terminal credential.

The average tuition costs $18,000 per year. Many learners receive grants and scholarships, both from the school and outside sources, to help finance their degrees. Students can also pursue loans from the government or private banks.

Average Tuition
In-state
$18,000
Out-of-state
$18,000
Retention Rate
64%
Admission Rate
88%
Students Enrolled
8,392
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

#4 Best Master’s In Art And Art History Degrees

Fort Hays State University

  • Hays, KS
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Prospective graduate students should consider Fort Hays State University for flexible programs that allow them to earn an advanced degree while they work. The Hays, Kansas, school offers a master of liberal studies with a concentration in art history among its 10 online master's degrees. A busy schedule is no barrier to graduate education with degrees such as this program.

Applicants should expect to have a bachelor’s degree in the major or a related one unless otherwise stated on the program or admissions website. Candidates in the program engage in intensive coursework that prepares them for more advanced career opportunities than undergraduate programs allow. A Ph.D. is the next accomplishment for many master's graduates.

Kansas students pay $3,582 per year in in-state tuition, while out-of-state learners pay $10,206. Many learners receive grants and scholarships, both from the school and outside sources, to help finance their degrees. In addition to financial aid students don’t need to pay back, they may also want to consider federal or private loans.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,990
Out-of-state
$14,070
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
15,908
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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