How do I Choose the Best Art History Graduate School?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2019
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Not all students would agree on the best art history graduate school because each student interested in graduate studies has individual requirements. Weighing these requirements is the best way to determine what schools are most appropriate. Some of the commonly considered aspects in choosing a school include admission requirements, type of graduate degrees, program emphases, location, accreditation, ways to earn degrees, and cost.

Programs at the master’s level typically only require a bachelor’s degree, and many PhD programs in art history graduate school accept students with a B.A., too. Type of degree earned varies by school, and most schools look for students with art or art history backgrounds. Those looking for the best art history graduate school need to match their current education level and experience to programs that will accept them or they could consider a return to school to fulfill some basic requirements prior to applying to a program.

Students must decide whether to earn a PhD or master’s degree. Generally, the PhD is the top degree in the field and can open jobs at universities or in museums. Master’s students generally won’t get top level work, though they might be able to work in art history teaching jobs at community colleges or prep schools, or as assistant curators. If people are only interested in top positions, they should choose an art history graduate school that awards PhDs.


Some students are specifically interested in certain types or periods of art, and this is worth bearing in mind when comparing schools. A number of art history programs have emphases on very specific topics in art, and students may want to look for the schools that are best at studying the area of art in which they have the most interest. Other programs are more general and allow students to explore their interests, but even in more general programs, faculty will have specialties and knowing these specialties, prior to applying, indicates likely support for dissertations or thesis topics.

Another area that students must reflect upon is school location. Some students are thrilled to relocate, and others define the best school as one close to home. Schools may not even require relocation if they’re principally conducted online, and an additional consideration is how a program operates. There are part-time, online, part online programs and standard full-time programs. Applicants should look for those schools that have the most ideal schedule and should be certain that any school is accredited so a degree earned is fully accepted in the field.

Art history graduate school is costly or very costly, and though some doctoral students may teach and defer part of their costs, most people lack the independent wealth needed to avoid taking out student loans. More extensive programs, like the PhD, cost more. People in the middle of their field don’t always make a lot of money in art history careers and should consider how capable they’ll be of repaying loans when school ends. Sometimes a cheaper school is the best because it means beginning a career with less debt.



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