What Is a History of Art Degree?

Art|Art History

A History of Art degree is a field of study that focuses on the history, criticism, and appreciation of art. This type of degree will often explore the social, political and economic factors that influence the creation and reception of art from many cultures throughout history. Students may focus on any area of art history such as Ancient Roman or Greek art, Renaissance painting, or contemporary digital media.

A History of Art degree can be studied at a variety of levels including undergraduate, graduate and doctoral. At an undergraduate level, students will typically learn about world art history and gain an understanding of the development and production of artistic works throughout the ages. They will often have to complete coursework in areas such as visual analysis, critical writing, aesthetics, research methods and exhibition curation.

At a graduate level, students may specialize in a certain period or movement in art history. They may also have to complete an extensive research project or dissertation which involves some form of original research into an area related to their studies. For example, they might research the influence of Ancient Greek culture on modern day society.

For those who wish to pursue a doctoral degree in History of Art, they will likely need to complete more advanced coursework as well as participate in seminars and workshops. They may also be required to take part in teaching assistant roles for classes related to their field.


A History of Art degree provides students with an in depth understanding of the development and production of artistic works from various cultures from around the world throughout time. It is possible to pursue this type of degree at an undergraduate, graduate or doctoral level depending on one’s individual interests and goals.