Many history of art graduates go on to work in museums or galleries but a degree in this subject can also open up opportunities in marketing, public relations and event management
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Commercial art gallery manager
- Heritage manager
- Museum/gallery curator
- Museum/gallery exhibitions officer
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Academic librarian
- Arts administrator
- Estates manager
- Further education teacher
- Higher education lecturer
- Museum education officer
- Talent agent
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
Practical experience is extremely valuable and will make you a more attractive candidate in the world of art galleries and museums. Having the right knowledge and qualifications will help your application, so you should take any opportunity to carry out a work placement.
Placements will often be arranged as part of your course but you should also try to gain as much additional experience as possible. Try applying to small, local museums, which may not get as many work experience requests and can offer a range of experience. Think about the experience that will be relevant for your career, such as education or outreach work.
For advice on looking for voluntary work see the Museums Association - Volunteering, which offers a concessionary price on membership for volunteers. As well as linking you to volunteering opportunities, membership of the MA gives you access to training, events and networking opportunities.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
Many graduates work in museums and galleries. As well as curatorial work, you can find opportunities in areas such as:
- events management
- public relations (PR).
Specialist booksellers, antique dealers and auctioneers are also key employers and another option is to follow an academic career in higher education.
Skills for your CV
Studying history of art allows you to examine the visual arts through a range of historical, social, geographical, cultural and psychological contexts. You'll consider the meaning implied by the subject and style of art forms, as well as the impact that art has on our lives.
You'll gain a number of broad skills that are desirable to future employers, such as:
- analysing and interpreting information from different sources
- using critical judgement to form opinions and strong arguments
- presenting information in an intelligent, coherent and balanced way
- oral and written communication skills
- time-management skills
- the ability to work independently and in teams
- listening skills.
Many postgraduate qualifications relate to jobs in the art history field. For example, you can study an MA in museum and gallery studies, curating or conservation science. These qualifications can lead on to jobs in museums and galleries.
Arts and heritage management are also popular choices, as they provide a broader skills base and open up a range of job opportunities, often at a more senior level.
Research degrees, such as PhD or MPhil, are useful, and sometimes essential if you wish to pursue an academic career and need to develop expertise in a narrowly-defined area of art history.
What do history of art graduates do?
More than half of history of art graduates are in employment six months after graduation. A quarter of graduates are engaged in further study.
History of art graduates enter a variety of careers but popular roles include marketing associate professionals, sales and retail assistants, public relations professionals, archivists and curators and conference and exhibition managers and organisers.
|Working and studying||4.9|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Marketing, PR and sales||22.3|
|Retail, catering and bar work||15.4|
|Secretarial and numerical clerks||11.5|
|Arts, design and media||10.7|
Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.