Best Online Art and Art History Master's Degree Programs 2024

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Top Online Master's Degree Programs in Art and Art History 2024

Career.Guide has utilized the comprehensive data available from the College Scorecard API to rank the top schools for the best online master's degree programs in art and art history for 2024. Our methodology includes a weighted analysis of key performance metrics such as graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratios, average financial aid awards, and post-graduation earnings potential. We prioritize institutions demonstrating academic excellence and robust student support services. This data-driven approach ensures our rankings reflect the true value these programs offer to students in both educational and career-oriented outcomes.

School Name
Cost Per Credit
1Northwestern State University of Louisiana$475Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
2Azusa Pacific University$663WASC Senior College and University Commission
3University of Nebraska KearneyIn-State: $315 | Out-of-State: $504Higher Learning Commission
4Eastern Illinois UniversityIn-State: $329 | Out-of-State: $790Higher Learning Commission
5Lindenwood University$540Higher Learning Commission
6Fort Hays State University$298Higher Learning Commission

Why Choose an Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History?

Pursuing a Master's degree in Art and Art History through an online program presents a range of benefits tailored to the modern student. The flexibility and accessibility of online learning platforms have made advanced education more attainable for individuals across the globe. Here are some compelling reasons to consider an online Master's degree in this creative and intellectually stimulating field:
  • Convenience and Flexibility: One of the most significant advantages of an online Master's program in Art and Art History is the convenience it offers. Students can access course materials, lectures, and discussions at any time that suits their schedule, making it easier to balance studies with personal and professional commitments.
  • Diverse Course Offerings: Online programs often provide a wide array of courses that might not be available at local institutions. This diversity allows students to tailor their education to their interests, whether it’s contemporary art, museum studies, or conservation.
  • Interactive Learning Environments: Modern online programs utilize innovative technology to create interactive learning experiences. Virtual reality, high-resolution image databases, and collaborative online tools enable students to engage with art and historical artifacts in new and immersive ways.
  • Networking Opportunities: Online Master's programs often attract students from around the world, providing a unique opportunity to network with peers, professionals, and instructors with varied backgrounds and perspectives.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: An online Master's degree can often be more cost-effective than traditional on-campus programs. Without the need for commuting or relocating, students can save on transportation and living expenses while potentially paying lower tuition fees.
  • Access to Expert Faculty: Online programs frequently feature faculty who are experts in their field from around the world, offering students the chance to learn from leading scholars and practitioners they might not otherwise have access to.
  • Resource-Rich Platforms: Many online courses provide extensive digital libraries and resources, including scholarly articles, videos, lecture series, and more, allowing for in-depth research and study.
  • Career Advancement: Obtaining a Master's degree in Art and Art History can open doors to advanced career opportunities in academia, curation, archiving, conservation, museum administration, and other cultural sectors. The online format enables students to continue working while they advance their qualifications.
  • Personalized Learning: The online format allows for a more personalized learning experience. With options like one-on-one virtual meetings with professors and customizable project work, students can focus on areas that align with their career goals and academic interests.
Choosing an online Master's program in Art and Art History provides a blend of traditional academic rigor with the adaptability required for lifelong learning in today's fast-paced world. Whether you're looking to enhance your understanding of art history or aiming for a professional leap in the arts sector, an online degree can be a strategic step towards achieving your aspirations.

Types of Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History Programs

When exploring the panorama of online master's degrees in art and art history, prospective students will find a variety of programs tailored to meet different academic interests and career goals. These programs are designed to offer flexibility for students who require a balance between their studies, work, and personal commitments. Understanding the types of degrees available can help students select the program that aligns with their aspirations and interests.

Master of Arts in Art History (MA)

  • Focus: This program typically centers on the critical study of art's history, theory, and criticism. It often includes coursework on a broad range of periods and movements, from ancient to contemporary art.
  • Curriculum: Students may engage with topics such as iconography, museum studies, curatorial practices, and methodological approaches to art history.
  • Career Paths: Graduates often pursue careers in academia, museums, galleries, or cultural institutions.

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Studio Art

  • Focus: This degree is typically aimed at artists seeking to develop their creative practice while gaining pedagogical skills.
  • Curriculum: The MFA program usually combines studio work with critical theory and may include residencies or online workshops to foster artistic development.
  • Career Paths: Graduates may become practicing artists, university-level educators, or take on roles within creative industries.

Master of Arts in Art Education (MAAE)

  • Focus: Designed for current or aspiring art educators who want to enhance their teaching methods and understand educational theory as it pertains to the arts.
  • Curriculum: Coursework often covers educational research, curriculum development, and contemporary issues in art education.
  • Career Paths: Graduates may work as art teachers at various educational levels or occupy administrative roles in education.

Master of Arts in Museum Studies

  • Focus: This program is tailored for individuals interested in the operation and management of museums and similar institutions.
  • Curriculum: Students learn about exhibition design, collection management, educational programming, and museum administration.
  • Career Paths: Graduates may find opportunities as museum curators, registrars, or directors within the vast field of cultural heritage management.

Master of Arts in Curatorial Studies

  • Focus: Geared towards those aiming to specialize in curating exhibitions and managing collections within galleries and cultural organizations.
  • Curriculum: Topics often include curatorial practice, exhibition development, and the business aspects of running galleries or art spaces.
  • Career Paths: Graduates can pursue careers as curators, gallery managers, or collection specialists.

Master of Arts in Arts Administration

  • Focus: This degree is ideal for those who wish to combine their passion for art with business acumen to lead arts organizations effectively.
  • Curriculum: Students study arts funding, marketing for the arts, organizational behavior, and leadership strategies within the context of the cultural sector.
  • Career Paths: Career opportunities include roles such as arts administrators, program directors for arts organizations, or consultants for creative businesses.

Specialized Master’s Degrees

  • Focus: Some institutions offer specialized master's programs that focus on particular areas such as digital art history, conservation, or public art.
  • Curriculum: These programs provide a deep dive into niche areas of study with tailored coursework that reflects cutting-edge developments in the field.
  • Career Paths: Graduates often occupy specialized roles within their chosen area of expertise in various industry settings or academic environments.
Each type of online master's degree program in art and art history carries its own set of admission requirements, course offerings, and potential career outcomes. As online education continues to grow, these programs provide an accessible way for students to gain advanced knowledge and skills in their chosen field without sacrificing other life responsibilities.

Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History Admission Requirements and Application Process

Understanding the Admission Requirements

Prospective students aiming to enroll in an Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History should familiarize themselves with the specific admission requirements set forth by their chosen institution. While these requirements can vary, there are commonalities that many programs share. Here is a rundown of typical prerequisites:

  • Bachelor's Degree: Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Though a degree in art, art history, or a related field is often preferred, some programs may accept candidates with diverse academic backgrounds.
  • GPA Requirements: A minimum undergraduate GPA is usually required, often around 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. This demonstrates the applicant's ability to succeed in graduate-level studies.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Most programs ask for two to three letters of recommendation. These should ideally come from academic advisors, professors, or professional colleagues who can vouch for the candidate’s aptitude for graduate study in art and art history.
  • Statement of Purpose: A well-crafted statement of purpose outlines the applicant’s academic interests, career goals, and reasons for pursuing a master's degree in art and art history. It also provides insight into their research focus and potential contributions to the field.
  • Writing Sample: A writing sample, such as a research paper or critical essay, is often required to demonstrate the applicant’s analytical and compositional skills pertinent to graduate-level coursework.
  • Portfolio: For programs with a studio art component, a portfolio showcasing the applicant's artistic work may be necessary. The portfolio should reflect the candidate’s proficiency and unique voice within their chosen medium.
  • Resume/CV: A professional resume or curriculum vitae provides an overview of the applicant’s educational background, work experience, exhibitions, publications, and any other relevant accomplishments in the arts.

Navigating the Application Process

The application process for an Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History involves several steps that candidates must carefully navigate:

  • Researching Programs: Begin by researching programs to identify which ones align best with your academic interests and professional aspirations. Consider factors such as curriculum, faculty expertise, program flexibility, and opportunities for networking and collaboration.
  • Gathering Materials: Assemble all necessary documents well ahead of application deadlines. This includes transcripts, letters of recommendation, your statement of purpose, writing samples or portfolios, and any additional materials required by the program.
  • Fulfilling Technical Requirements: Ensure you meet any technical requirements for online learning platforms used by the program. This may involve updating software or hardware to participate effectively in digital classrooms and access course materials.
  • Completing the Application Form: Fill out the application form with attention to detail. Be sure to include all requested information and double-check for accuracy before submission.
  • Paying Application Fees: Pay any required application fees, which typically range from $50 to $100. Some institutions offer fee waivers for eligible applicants; check if you qualify for such financial accommodations.
  • Submitting the Application: Submit your completed application before the deadline. Late submissions may not be considered and could delay your plans for starting the program.
  • Preparing for Interviews: Some programs may request interviews as part of the admission process. Prepare by reviewing your application materials and being ready to discuss your academic interests and professional goals related to art and art history.

Taking a thorough approach to understanding and fulfilling admission requirements will help streamline your application process for an Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History. Remember to adhere closely to each program’s guidelines to present a well-rounded application that showcases your qualifications and commitment to advancing your expertise in the field of art and art history.

Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History Program Curriculum and Specializations

Navigating the vast landscape of an Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History, prospective students are often curious about the curriculum and the specializations available within these programs. Institutions across the United States have tailored their online offerings to provide a comprehensive education that not only enhances foundational knowledge but also allows for in-depth exploration of specific art-related disciplines.

Core Curriculum Components

  • Art Historical Methods and Theories: This essential component equips students with an understanding of the various methodologies and theoretical frameworks used in art historical research and analysis.
  • Critical Analysis and Visual Literacy: Courses focusing on visual literacy train students to critically analyze artworks, fostering an acute awareness of the visual language inherent in art forms.
  • Global Art History: A broad view of art across cultures and time periods is provided, encouraging a comparative approach and an appreciation for the diversity of artistic expression worldwide.
  • Museum Studies: For those interested in the curatorial aspects, museum studies courses cover topics such as exhibition planning, educational programming, and collection management.
  • Conservation and Preservation: These courses address the technical aspects of art conservation, including the ethical considerations and practical methods for preserving various types of artwork.
  • Professional Practices in Art: This practical segment prepares students for the professional world with insights into gallery management, art market dynamics, and legal issues pertaining to the art world.

Specializations Tailored to Student Interests

Many Online Master's Degree programs in Art and Art History allow students to specialize in areas that align with their career goals and interests. Below are examples of specializations that might be offered:

Modern and Contemporary Art

  • Students delve into the art movements from the 19th century onwards, exploring avant-garde trends and contemporary practices.

Renaissance and Baroque Art

  • This specialization takes a closer look at European art from the 14th to 17th centuries, examining key figures, artworks, and historical contexts.

Non-Western Art Histories

  • Courses here focus on art forms from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and indigenous cultures, expanding beyond Eurocentric perspectives.

Curatorial Studies

  • For those aiming to work in galleries or museums, this specialization offers practical skills in curating exhibitions and understanding institutional operations.

Digital Art History

  • Embracing technology's role in art history, this area explores digital curation, archiving methods, and new media art analysis.

Art Market and Appraisal

  • Focusing on the business side of art, students learn about appraisal techniques, auction house operations, and art as an investment.
Each program's curriculum structure may vary; some may require a thesis or capstone project demonstrating mastery of a particular topic within art history. As online programs continue to advance, interactive elements such as virtual museum tours or online discussion forums with peers and faculty are increasingly common, enhancing the learning experience. When choosing an Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History, it is important for students to consider how well a program's curriculum matches their career aspirations. Whether aiming to become a museum curator, an art market analyst, or a conservation specialist, selecting the right specialization is key to developing expertise in their chosen field.

Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History Accreditation and Quality of Online Programs

When exploring an Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History, it is crucial to consider the accreditation status and quality of the programs you are interested in. Accreditation is a seal of approval from a recognized accrediting agency that signifies a program meets certain standards of quality and rigor. Here's what prospective students need to know about accreditation and quality assurance for online master's programs in this field.

Understanding the Importance of Accreditation

Accreditation serves as a critical factor in ensuring that the education provided by an institution adheres to national or regional standards. For students pursuing an Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History, confirming the accreditation of a program is essential for several reasons:

  • Financial Aid Eligibility: Only students enrolled in accredited institutions are eligible for federal financial aid.
  • Credit Transferability: Credits earned from an accredited program are more likely to be accepted by other accredited institutions if a student transfers or pursues further education.
  • Employment Prospects: Employers often regard degrees from accredited programs as more reputable, which can impact career opportunities.
  • Professional Licensure: In fields where licensure is required, graduating from an accredited program may be a prerequisite for obtaining a license.

Evaluating Accreditation Agencies

Not all accrediting agencies carry the same weight or recognition. Prospective students should verify that the program’s accrediting agency is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). These organizations oversee accrediting agencies and ensure they maintain certain standards. Specifically for art and art history programs, accreditation might come from specialized agencies such as:

  • The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)
  • The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)

Quality Indicators of Online Art and Art History Programs

While accreditation is a primary indicator of quality, there are additional factors prospective students should consider when evaluating online master's programs in art and art history:

  • Curriculum Relevance: The program should offer a curriculum that is current and relevant to today’s art and art history landscapes.
  • Faculty Credentials: Instructors should have appropriate academic qualifications and professional experience in their respective fields.
  • Student Support Services: Look for programs that offer comprehensive support services, including academic advising, career services, and technical assistance.
  • Technology Integration: Since these programs are delivered online, they should utilize advanced technology platforms that facilitate interactive learning and easy access to digital resources.
  • Peer Interaction: A quality program will encourage collaboration and discussion among students, enriching the learning experience.
  • Outcomes Assessment: Programs should have mechanisms in place to assess student learning outcomes, ensuring continuous improvement and relevancy of the curriculum.

By taking into account both the accreditation status and these indicators of program quality, prospective students can make informed decisions when selecting an Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History that aligns with their educational and career goals.

Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History Tuition & Financial Aid

When considering an online Master's Degree in Art and Art History, understanding the nuances of tuition costs and financial aid options is crucial. Prospective students often find that while online programs offer flexibility and convenience, they must still carefully plan their finances to accommodate the expenses associated with higher education.

Understanding Tuition for Online Programs

Tuition for online Master's programs in Art and Art History can vary widely depending on the institution. Factors influencing the cost include public vs. private status, geographic location, and program reputation. It's essential to explore the specifics of each program to get a clear understanding of what the financial commitment will entail.
  • Public vs. Private Institutions: Generally, public universities may offer lower tuition rates than private institutions, especially for in-state residents.
  • Per Credit Cost: Many programs charge tuition based on the number of credit hours taken. This can be beneficial if you plan to study part-time.
  • Flat-Rate Tuition: Some programs offer a flat rate for full-time students regardless of the number of credits taken.
  • Fees and Additional Costs: Beyond tuition, additional fees for technology, online resources, or studio materials may apply.

Navigating Financial Aid Opportunities

Financial aid is available to online students in a variety of forms, just as it is for traditional on-campus students. When applying for financial aid, consider the following sources:
  • Federal Financial Aid: Submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can qualify you for grants, loans, and work-study opportunities.
  • Scholarships: Many institutions offer scholarships based on merit or need. Additionally, external organizations provide scholarships specific to art and art history students.
  • Graduate Assistantships: While less common in online programs, some schools may offer assistantships that include tuition waivers and stipends in exchange for work in teaching or research.
  • Employer Tuition Assistance: If you are currently employed, check if your employer offers tuition reimbursement programs for career development.
  • Military Benefits: Veterans and active military personnel might be eligible for educational benefits through the GI Bill® or other military aid programs.

Tips for Managing Tuition Costs

To effectively manage tuition costs for your online master's degree, strategic planning is key. Here are some actionable tips:
  • Create a Budget: Determine all your expected expenses and create a budget that accounts for your tuition, fees, materials, and any personal costs.
  • Explore Payment Plans: Many institutions offer payment plans that break down tuition into more manageable monthly installments.
  • Evaluate Loan Options: Research different loan types to find one with favorable terms and interest rates. Always consider federal loans before private ones due to potential benefits like income-driven repayment plans.
  • Apply Early for Financial Aid: Deadlines for scholarships and grants can be quite early, so prepare your applications ahead of time to maximize your chances of receiving aid.
It's imperative for prospective students of online Master's programs in Art and Art History to perform thorough research into tuition costs and financial aid availability. By doing so, they can make informed decisions about investing in their education while mitigating financial stress.

Best Careers for Master's Degree in Art And Art History in 2023 by Salary

Data sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor via the ONET Web API.

Career Opportunities with an Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History

Obtaining an Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History can lead to a plethora of career opportunities that extend beyond traditional roles within museums or academia. With this advanced degree, graduates have the skills and knowledge to pursue a variety of positions in cultural institutions, educational settings, the art market, and beyond. Here we explore some of the career paths that are often pursued by individuals with a master's degree in this field.

  • Museum and Gallery Roles: Graduates may find employment in various capacities within museums and galleries. Positions can range from curators and collections managers to educators and exhibit designers. These roles typically involve the curation and management of art exhibits, development of educational programs, and preservation of historical artifacts.
  • Higher Education Teaching: With a master's degree, there is the opportunity to teach at the college level as a lecturer or adjunct professor. Educators with a specialization in art history might also contribute to the development of academic curricula and engage in scholarly research within their field.
  • Conservation and Restoration: Professionals with expertise in art history are often sought after for art conservation and restoration projects. They work to preserve the integrity of artworks and historical pieces for future generations.
  • Art Market and Auction Houses: A role within the bustling art market is another avenue, with potential positions in auction houses, art fairs, and online marketplaces. Responsibilities could include art appraisal, sales, client relations, and event organization.
  • Cultural Heritage Management: Preservation of cultural heritage is another sector where art historians can contribute significantly. This involves working with government bodies or international organizations to safeguard and promote cultural sites and traditions.
  • Archival Work: Graduates may be suited for roles in archives or libraries specializing in visual materials, where they can manage collections, assist researchers, and curate digital repositories.
  • Art Criticism and Journalism: Writing for publications, both print and digital, offers an outlet for those who wish to critique or report on the latest trends and exhibitions in the art world.
  • Non-Profit Sector: Many non-profit organizations require individuals with a background in art history for program development, fundraising, community outreach, and administration.
  • Corporate Art Collections: Some corporations maintain their own art collections and seek professionals to manage these assets through acquisition strategies, maintenance, and public engagement initiatives.
  • Art Therapy: While this may require additional certification, art historians with a passion for helping others can apply their understanding of the arts within therapeutic practices.
  • Entrepreneurship: Armed with a comprehensive understanding of art history and contemporary market dynamics, graduates might start their own ventures such as private galleries, consultancies, or online platforms for artists.

In addition to these specific career paths, a Master's Degree in Art and Art History equips graduates with a rich skill set that is highly valued across various sectors. Critical thinking, analytical abilities, research skills, a keen eye for detail, and effective communication are just some of the competencies that can open doors to diverse professional opportunities. Whether navigating the world of fine arts or applying their expertise to broader cultural contexts, graduates are well-positioned to make meaningful contributions within their chosen fields.

FAQ's About Obtaining an Online Master's Degree in Art and Art History

What Are the Prerequisites for an Online Master's in Art and Art History?

Prospective students interested in pursuing an online Master's degree in Art and Art History should be aware of the common prerequisites, which usually include:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, often with a focus on art, art history, or a related field.
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA, which can vary by program but is often around 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores may be required, although some programs may waive this.
  • A portfolio of artwork or a writing sample may be required to demonstrate proficiency and serious commitment to the field.
  • Letters of recommendation from academic or professional references.
  • A statement of purpose outlining the student's goals and reasons for pursuing the degree.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Master's in Art and Art History?

The duration of an online Master's program in Art and Art History can vary:

  • Most programs require the completion of 30-60 credit hours, which typically takes about 1-3 years.
  • Part-time students may take longer to complete the program than full-time students.
  • Accelerated programs can shorten the overall time to graduation, sometimes allowing completion in less than two years.

Can I Work While Completing My Online Master's in Art and Art History?

Many students choose online programs specifically for their flexibility:

  • Online courses often allow for asynchronous learning, meaning students can access materials and complete assignments on their schedule.
  • This flexibility makes it possible for students to maintain employment while studying.
  • Time management skills are essential, as balancing work, study, and personal commitments can be challenging.

What Kind of Career Can I Pursue with an Online Master's in Art and Art History?

An online Master's degree in Art and Art History opens doors to various career paths:

  • Museum and gallery positions such as curatorship, education, or administration.
  • Academic roles, including teaching at the college level or conducting research.
  • Conservation and art restoration work for institutions or private clients.
  • Careers in cultural heritage organizations or auction houses.
  • Opportunities in publishing, criticism, or art journalism.

What Should I Look for in an Online Art and Art History Master's Program?

Selecting the right program is crucial, and there are several factors to consider:

  • The program's accreditation status; it should be accredited by a recognized accrediting body such as the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).
  • The curriculum should cover areas of interest and be comprehensive enough to provide a solid foundation in both theoretical and practical aspects of art and art history.
  • Favorable faculty-to-student ratios that ensure personalized attention and support.
  • Access to digital resources such as online libraries, databases, and virtual museum tours.
  • Opportunities for networking with professionals in the field through online forums, alumni associations, or virtual internships.

Are There Any Accreditation Concerns with Online Programs?

Accreditation is a significant concern when choosing any educational program:

  • Ensure that the online Master's program in Art and Art History is accredited by a reputable agency.
  • Accreditation affects the recognition of your degree by employers and the transferability of credits if you decide to pursue further education.

What Are the Technical Requirements for an Online Master's Program?

To participate effectively in an online Master’s program in Art and Art History, you will need:

  • A reliable computer with high-speed internet access to stream lectures, download materials, and submit assignments.
  • The necessary software tools, which could include image editing software, video conferencing tools, and specialized academic databases provided by the institution.
  • Possibly additional hardware like a scanner or digital drawing tablet depending on the course requirements.
Remember that each educational institution may have specific requirements or recommendations for their online programs. Prospective students should directly contact the admissions department of their chosen schools for detailed information.