History of Art

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The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences offers a BA, BGS, and BFA, as well as a MA and a PhD in the History of Art. A wide range of courses focus on diverse forms of art and visual culture from prehistory to the present in Europe, the U.S., East Asia, and Africa, both within national traditions and transnationally. Award-winning professors and graduate teaching assistants provide instruction in courses ranging from introductory surveys to graduate seminars, emphasizing critical thinking and active learning.

Classes take full advantage of the rich collection of over 45,000 objects in the Spencer Museum of Art, one of the top-rated university art museums in the country.

History of Art Department website

Sample of Related Skills

  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of artistic traditions and processes from across the globe, in their historical and cultural frameworks and as they evolve through time
  • Know how to gain a better understanding of the past and the present through the analysis of visual and material objects
  • Know how to read primary and secondary historical sources critically
  • Demonstrate facility with online image and archival databases
  • Know how to construct an effective argument
  • Interpret a culture's values and beliefs, showing visual literacy and using current modes of critical and theoretical thought
  • Conduct historical research and reach evidence-based conclusions about works of art

Explore Career Paths

Jobs to Consider


Art Appraiser

Art Consultant

Art Critic

Antiques Dealer

College/University Professor of Art History

Art Handler

Arts Journalist

Museum Curator

Museum Educator

Museum Technician and Conservator


Commercial Art Gallery Owner

Commercial Art Gallery Curator/Manager

Cultural Tour Guide

Registrar or Collection Manager

Officer at U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs


Places to Seek Employment

Auction Houses

Art Galleries

Art/History/Culture Magazines

Art Supply Stores


Community Art Centers

Educational Institutions

National Park Service - Historic Preservation

Travel & Tourism Agencies



Non-Profit Organizations

Publishing Companies

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs


Employment Strategies

  1. Meet with the History of Art Department's Undergraduate Coordinator to identify specific interests in art history, so you can focus your study and experiences toward careers in these areas.
  2. Become familiar with the required professional qualifications associated with careers that interest you (i.e., advanced degrees, licensure and/or certifications).
  3. Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent study, internships, part-time jobs, student organization involvement, or volunteering.
  4. Consider joining a professional organization related to your area of interest in art history, and, if possible, attend local and/or regional conferences to make connections with professionals working in your field.
  5. Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant.
  6. Complete an independent study to gain advanced research skills.
  7. Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate or professional education.
  8. Consider getting involved with a student organization at KU related to your area of interest, such as the KU Art History Club, Community Resources Engaging the Arts through Education, KU Photo Club, Photography Club, and Spencer Museum of Art Student Advisory Board.
  9. Develop your resume and tailor it to your area(s) of interest: sample resume (pdf).

Job and Internship Search Resources

The quick link for this page is career.ku.edu/historyofart.

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