Many graduates from history of art degrees are interested in working in museums or galleries where gaining relevant work experience is crucial
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
- Further education teacher
- Higher education lecturer
- Museum education officer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. If you haven't already done so, take a few minutes to answer the Job Match questions to find out what careers would suit you.
Practical experience is extremely valuable and will make you a more attractive candidate in the world of art galleries and museums. It is valued as highly as the right knowledge and qualifications, and 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 what will be relevant for your career; education or outreach work.
For advice on looking for voluntary work see the Museums Association - Volunteering, which has a volunteer category of membership, which provides 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, there are 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 will consider the meaning implied by the subject and style of art forms, as well as the impact that art has on our lives.
You will gain a number of broad skills that are desirable to future employers:
- 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.
There are many postgraduate qualifications that relate to jobs in the art history field. For example, an MA in museum and gallery studies or curating or conservation science are available. 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, for those interested in an academic career and who wish to develop expertise in a narrowly-defined area of art history.
What do history of art graduates do?
More than half (56.3%) of history of art graduates are in paid employment six months after graduation. More than a fifth of graduates are engaged in further study, 42% of whom continue to study History of Art.
History of art graduates enter a variety of careers but popular roles include marketing associate professionals, conference and exhibition managers and organisers, PR professionals, archivists and curators and business sales executives.
|Working and studying||6.3|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Marketing, PR and sales||26.7|
|Retail, catering and bar work||15.3|
|Secretarial and numerical clerks||13.6|
|Arts, design and media||8.9|
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.