The most affordable online Art History master’s degree programs offer working professionals a flexible path to earn a graduate degree. Do you love to be surrounded by a world of creativity and art. If so, then keep reading to learn about career options in art history.
A master’s degree in Art History offers a rewarding career without following the struggling route of an artist. Obtaining a traditional or accelerated master’s in Art History online degree allows you to follow artistic passions. But it also offers marketable career skills for those with a love of art. Are you interested in learning about careers with the many on-campus or online accelerated master’s programs in art history?
Methodology for Ranking the Most Affordable Accelerated Master’s in Art History Online
Fast Online Master’s editors want Art History Students to find a program that pays off for them. That’s why we feature only trustworthy, accredited institutions. In the Most Affordable ranking, graduate programs are in order from lowest tuition to highest, according to current IPEDS stats.
1. Fort Hays State University
The College of Arts, Humanities, & Social Services at Fort Hays State University offers an online Master of Liberal Studies. FHSU’s 31 credit online program offers a concentration in Art History. Additionally, it us among the most affordable online accelerated master’s programs in the United States. Some of the coursework for this accelerated online graduate art degree includes ancient art history, renaissance and baroque art history, graduate readings in art history, and also medieval art.
This degree prepares students for rewarding work as an art history educator, art critic, gallery manager, or museum curator. Additionally, many Fort Hays State University art history graduates pursue doctoral-level studies towards and earn a terminal degree.
- Degree: Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) with an Art History Concentration
- Credits: 31
- Program Length: 2 to 2.5 years
- More: Fort Hays State University
2. University of Florida
UF at a Distance offers a Master of Arts in Art Education (MAAE). It is among the most affordable of all Florida NASAD-accredited online accelerated master’s programs in art education. Students in the online program must finish at least 36 graduate semester credit units. Classes include research, advanced studio design, foundational knowledge, and also a final project.
Featured classes include art and global diversity, the curriculum in teaching art, and also contemporary issues in art education. Additionally, students must complete an independent study, research methods, or a capstone project for the final project.
- Degree: online Master of Arts in Art Education (MAAE)
- Credits: 36
- Program Length: 2 years
- More: University of Florida
3. The University of Nebraska at Kearney
The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers an MA in Education with an academic specialty in Art Education. This accelerated master’s in program from UNK offers students two academic concentrations in either Museum Education or Classroom Education. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree in art history, education, visual arts, graphic arts, museum studies, or also a BFA.
UNK’s 36 credit hour online program prepares degree graduates for a variety of rewarding careers in the various fields of art. Graduates enter the workforce as art directors, modern art history, museum educators, art program directors, museum archivists, and also creative directors.
- Degree: online Master of Arts (MA) in Education: Art Education with concentration areas in Classroom Education Emphasis or Museum Education Emphasis
- Credits: 36
- Program Length: 2 years
- More: University of Nebraska at Kearney
4. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
The School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University offers a MA in Fine and Graphic Arts. This program explores art history from a context in which the history belongs. Additionally, the online graduate degree program is a 33 semester units with three academic concentrations. Students can focus on photography, new media, or design. Northwestern State University’s graduate art degree has accreditation from NASAD and is one of Louisiana’s leading online programs.
Northwestern State University’s affordable art history degree prepares students for rewarding careers that meet the demands of the profession. Note, however, that there is a low residency requirement when completing the graduate thesis exhibition. Graduates from this Art History program find rewarding careers throughout the art world, including portfolio production.
- Degree: Master of Arts in Fine and Graphic Arts
- Credits: 33
- Program Length: 2 years
- More: Northwestern State University of Louisiana
5. Winthrop University
The MA in Arts Administration at Winthrop University combines current theory, academic research, and also applied practice. This program train students to be effective leaders in nonprofit arts environments. Students learn best practices in governance, community engagement, audience development, financial management, and also law pertaining to nonprofit arts. Master of Arts in Art History.
- Degree: Master of Arts in Arts Administration (MAAA)
- Credits: 36
- Program Length: 2 years
- More: Winthrop University
6. The University of Northern Iowa
The University of Northern Iowa offers a MA in Art Education. This program ranks among Iowa’s leading affordable online accelerated master’s programs in art education. Applicants must hold a BA in art education, art history, BFA/BA in studio art, or a teaching certificate. Additionally, students must complete a minimum of 30 graduate semester units to comply with graduation criteria.
The University of Northern Iowa’s accelerated Master’s in Art History program includes both core and elective classes. Selected courses include curriculum and pedagogy in art education, readings in art education, seminar in teaching art I, II, & III, themes in art education, and also holistic approaches for art education.
- Degree: Master of Arts in Art
- Credits: 33
- Program Length: 2 years
- More: The University of Northern Iowa
7. University of Nebraska Lincoln
The School of Art, Art History, and Design at the University of Nebraska offers a MA in Art History. This program is one of Nebraska’s leading affordable online accelerated master’s programs. Full-time students can complete this online program in as few as 24 months with 36 credits. Additionally, enrolled students can participate in archeological fieldwork to enhance their research skills.
Furthermore, this accelerated Master’s in Art History program from UN Lincoln offers academic specialties and minors. Students can choose from Medieval-Renaissance Studies, Nineteenth-Century Studies, Classics, and also Great Plains Studies. Many degree candidates have internships in museums. Notable ones include Sheldon, Great Plains, Joslyn Art, and also State Museum at Morrill Hall.
8. Arizona State University
Arizona State University (ASU Online) Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts/School of Art offers a Master of Arts Degree in Art History ranked among the most affordable of Arizona’s online accelerated master’s programs. Students enrolled in Arizona State University’s Masters in Art History online program can complete the program in as few as 18 months. This graduate degree from Arizona State University requires degree candidates to complete 10 classes or 30 credit units to meet graduation criteria. Then they select a culminating project that includes an internship, research, reading, or a conference.
Students applying to Arizona State University’s accelerated Master’s in Art History program may transfer up to 12 credit units if the credits meet eligibility requirements. Coursework for this Arizona State University degree covers topics in images and digital technologies across political & social contexts amid historical backdrops.
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9. The University of Oklahoma
The School of Visual Arts at the University of Oklahoma offers a Master of Arts in Art History. This MA is one of the most affordable master’s programs in art history in Oklahoma. Applicants to the online program must have a minimum of 18 hours of undergraduate art history classes. If students possess less than 18 hours, they must demonstrate their proficiency to complete graduate-level work.
The University of Oklahoma’s 30-credit accelerated Master’s in Art History program requires 21 credits be from the art history curriculum. Graduates are prepared to enter a doctoral program in related studies or to work for a gallery or museum.
More: University of Oklahoma
10. Radford University
The College of Graduate Studies and Research at Radford University offers an affordable Master of Fine Arts. This MFA in Studio Art is among the most innovative online accelerated master’s programs in Virginia. The online program requires the completion of 60 semester units. Additionally, Radford students must complete a thesis and a Master of Fine Arts exhibition to meet graduation requirements.
This accelerated master’s in Art History program from Radford University includes core and also elective classes. Featured classes include instructional design and evaluation, studio management, studio management, critical thinking and writing in art, and also international art history I & II. Students graduating from Radford find rewarding careers as educators in the areas of graphic design, painting, and also mixed media.
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11. The Ohio State University
The Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy at Ohio State University offers a Master of Arts in Art Education. It is among the leading online accelerated master’s programs in art history in Ohio. Students can complete the flexible online program as part-time students. Additionally, both the NASAD and NCATE have awarded accreditation to this program.
OSUs accelerated master’s requires students to complete a total of 30 graduate hours over seven semesters. Students take core coursework, electives, and also non-thesis credits. Featured core classes for this art history degree include critical analysis of multicultural art education, the teaching of studio activities, theories for art educators, and also curriculum planning and assessment in art education.
More: Ohio State University
12. Eastern Illinois University
Eastern Illinois University (EIU Online) Department of Art offers a Master of Arts Degree in Art. This program has an academic emphasis in Art Education and is also among the most affordable online accelerated master’s programs in art education in Illinois. This Masters in Art History online program requires enrolled students to complete 33 credit hours as part-time students in only two years. Note, however, there is limited residency during the summer as the program is designed for practicing art teachers. Tuition fees are the same for both residents and nonresidents.
EIU’s accelerated Master’s in Art History program has accreditation from NASAD and also the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Featured art history coursework includes special topics and navigating the virtual museum plus art education classes that include artistic development and also creative technology in art education.
13. University of Kentucky
The College of Fine Arts Department of Arts Administration at the University of Kentucky offers a MA in Arts Administration. It is among the top innovative online accelerated master’s programs in art administration in Kentucky and beyond. The online program in administration meets the needs of working professionals who wishes to enhance their leadership skills in art management. And it is also offered at affordable tuition rates. The program from the University of Kentucky offers both affordability and convenience.
The University of Kentucky’s accelerated Master’s in Art History program offers these feature classes – the arts & the artists in society, the arts and the law, fundraising techniques, and management and leadership in the arts, to name a few. Graduates find rewarding careers across art sectors as art administration managers and the next generation of art administration leaders.
More: University of Kentucky
14. Harvard Extension School
Harvard Extension School offers a Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) Degree in Extension Studies with an academic concentration in Museum Studies that is among the leading online accelerated master’s programs in museum studies available. This affordable Masters in Art History online program from the Harvard Extension School offers an optional certificate in nonprofit management, digital storytelling, and learning design & technology.
Harvard Extension School’s accelerated Master’s in Art History program prepares students for leading roles in keeping collections at museums relevant and engaging. Classes include museum operations in the 21 century, visitor education and engagement, public outreach, and museum technology, plus an optional internship, to name a few. Graduates work in historical societies, art galleries, universities, and also museums.
More: Harvard Extension School
15. Lindenwood University
Lindenwood University College of Arts and Humanities offers a Master of Arts Degree (MA) program in Art History and Visual Culture that is available entirely online. The online program is offered with a one-year fast track option that explores a broad foundation across visual art and culture sectors. Students enrolled in one of Missouri’s most affordable online accelerated master’s programs in art history will be required to complete at least 30 graduate credit units.
Lindenwood University’s graduate art history degree offers several degree-completion options – a thesis option and an applied project (or non-thesis) option, with all students required to complete a comprehensive art exam. Students enrolled in Lindenwood University’s accelerated Master’s in Art History program explores both contemporary and traditional approaches of art history, grounded in methods and research, but offer a bit of customization to students with varied art history interests.
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16. The Academy of Art University
The Academy of Art University (AAU at a Distance) School of Art offers one of the leading online accelerated master’s programs in California and the west coast that allows students to explore a comprehensive art history degree 100% online. This Masters in Art History online program from the Academy of Art University is delivered using a flexible course format that allows students to complete the degree at a pace that works for the student. In addition, AAU’s graduate art history degree offers study abroad opportunities to enrolled students.
The Academy of Art University’s accelerated Master’s in Art History program, from the heart of the City by the Bay, prepares students for integral roles in the management of museums, galleries, education, curation, administration, connoisseurship, and visual technology, to name a few. Graduates explore the many avenues towards becoming a well-versed art critic or stronger art historian.
17. Maine College of Art & Design
The Maine College of Art (MECA&D) offers a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Degree in Studio Art that is considered among New England’s most affordable online accelerated master’s programs in studio art. This renowned Masters in Art History online program includes visiting artists, international art critics, curators, and carefully selected graduate advisors. The curriculum for MECA’s graduate degree in studio art seeks to intersect studio production with critical analysis, travel, and individual research. Note there is a low residency requirement for this graduate degree in studio art, available for experienced artists.
The Maine College of Art’s accelerated Master’s in Art History program requires students to complete 60 graduate credits units to meet program requirements. International travel makes Maine College of Art and Design’s graduate degree in studio art unique and innovative, and highly competitive.
More: Maine College of Art
18. The Savannah College of Art And Design
The Savannah College of Art And Design (SCAD Online) offers a Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Art History that is considered among the most affordable of the leading online accelerated master’s programs in the southern United States. Degree candidates enrolled in SCAD’s Masters in Art History online program must complete at least 45 graduate credit units to meet graduation criteria.
The featured classes included in this Savannah College of Art And Design’s accelerated Master’s in Art History program are modern and contemporary critical theory, the historiography of art history, plus an art history thesis, to name a few. Graduates of SCAD’s master’s in art history degree find rewarding careers as an art appraiser, culture conservator, curator, art journalist, or art historian, to name a few. Previous graduates have been hired by the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the Smithsonian Institute, and the National Portrait Gallery, among others.
19. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA Online) offers a Master of Fine Arts Degree (MFA) is a low residency Masters in Art History online program that ranks among Pennsylvania’s most affordable online accelerated master’s programs. Degree candidates enrolled in PAFA’s MFA degree must complete a minimum of 60 graduate credit hours to earn the art degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.
The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts’ accelerated Master’s in Art History program allows students to explore a wide range of approaches to the field of art through independent studio work. Fall & Spring semesters are off-site, with Summers requiring on-site visits. Sample coursework for PAFA’s graduate art degree includes Art in the City, 20th Century Art, Reframing Theory, and Writing for Artists, plus a thesis, to name a few.
20. Azusa Pacific University
Azusa Pacific University (APU Distance) offers a Master of Arts Degree in Modern and Contemporary Art History that has been developed to accommodate the needs of working professionals. Students enrolled in Azusa Pacific University’s military-friendly Masters in Art History online program will complete a minimum of 36 graduate credit units that explore innovative approaches to studying contemporary and modern art. As one of California’s most affordable online accelerated master’s programs in modern and contemporary art, coursework includes historical methods and research practices, to name a few.
Students graduating from Azusa Pacific University’s accelerated Master’s in Art History program in modern art find rewarding work across the art realm, in publishing, museums, education, or gallery work, to name a few. More specifically, graduates work as Auction House Managers, Art Critics, Museum Curators, Museum Administrators, and Art Writers, among others.
More: Azusa Pacific University
21. Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University (Hopkins at a Distance) Krieger School of Arts and Sciences offers a Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Museum Studies that is among the most innovative and affordable online accelerated master’s programs in the nation. Students enrolled in Johns Hopkins University’s Masters in Art History online program must complete a minimum of 30 graduate credit units in as few as 20 months. It is noted that there is a limited two-week residence either on-campus or sites available abroad.
Johns Hopkins University’s accelerated Master’s in Art History program is customizable and offers tracks in collections, exhibitions & development digital curation, heritage management, or nonprofit management. Students graduating from Johns Hopkins University’s graduate museum degree find rewarding careers working at art facilities, historic sites, museums, or zoos, to name a few. Students can opt to enhance their degree with a complimentary certificate.
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22. The University of Denver
The University of Denver (Denver Distance) offers a Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Arts & Culture Management that is among the most innovative online accelerated master’s programs in arts management in the country. This Masters in Art History online program from the University of Denver offers degree candidates three academic tracks marketing, mission-driven operations & management, or arts & culture outreach & advocacy. In addition, the University of Denver’s graduate art management degree requires no GRE or GMAT at application.
The University of Denver’s 48-credit accelerated Master’s in Art History program can be completed in as few as 1.5 years. Featured classes for this art management degree include the legal landscape of arts and culture, best practices for arts and culture, and organizational vibrancy and measurement, to name a few. Available careers for graduates of this program include gallery owner, arts program manager, development director, and also arts advocate.
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23. Drexel University
Drexel University offers a Master of Science in Arts Administration & Museum Leadership. This degree meets the unique education & professional needs of working adults – either those in the industry or those seeking a career change. Drexel’s online accelerated master’s programs include concentrations in museum leadership or arts administration. Reduced tuition rates are available for members of the Americans for the Arts and the National Guild for Community Arts.
This accelerated Master’s in Art History program from Drexel University is a career-focused program that offers an entrepreneurial spirit and business approach to museum management. Coursework for this graduate arts management degree includes theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience to create the next generation of arts administration leaders.
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24. Duke University
The Department of Art, Art History, & Visual Studies at Duke University offers a Master of Arts in Digital Art History. It ranks among the leading online accelerated master’s programs in the country. Full-time graduate students can complete this accelerated master’s in Art History program in as few as 1.5 years. Ideal applicants have professional objectives in digital art history, digital humanities, and also digital archeology. The program requires ten classes across three semesters and concludes with a Master of Arts thesis. Prospective students must submit an online application through the university’s graduate school.
Duke University’s accelerated Master’s in Art History program includes classes in Space, Place, Movement, & Media, Phenomenology & Media, and Visual Cultures of Medicine. This graduate art history degree from Duke University prepares graduates for rewarding careers in public history, cultural heritage, visualization-based journalism, and also museum exhibition design.
More: Visit Duke University for more info on this best online Master of Art and Art History.
25. George Washington University
George Washington University (GW Online) Graduate School of Education & Human Development offers a Master of Arts Degree in Museum Education that is recognized among the best affordable online accelerated master’s programs in the nation’s capital and beyond. GW’s Masters in Art History online program has provided internships to degree candidates in the National Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History, to name a few. International opportunities are available in Finland, Brazil, Spain, Korea, Costa Rica, Canada, and Israel, among others.
George Washington University’s 33-credit accelerated Master’s in Art History program includes 27 core required classes in facilitating museum learning, evaluating museum learning, museums as institutions, and proposal writing, to name a few. Students graduating from George Washington’s program find rewarding work as a development officer, curator of education, docent coordinator, event planner, or museum director, to name a few.
What is Art History?
Art history is the study of art and its development throughout time. It considers the meaning and interpretation behind artworks and the role they occupy in the larger narrative of art over the centuries. Art history evaluates and analyzes art through a variety of approaches including archival research, formal analysis, iconography, and social and political context. Art historians have specializations that focus on specific time periods, movements, media, and geographic regions.
What are the Admission Requirements for Online Master’s in Art History?
Admission requirements for an online master’s degree in Art History will vary depending on the school, but typically include:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
- A minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Submission of a statement of purpose
- Letters of recommendation
- GRE scores (optional in some cases)
- Relevant work experience
- TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign language proficiency test scores (for international students).
What are Common Art History Concentrations?
Common concentrations include Renaissance art history, modern art history, and specific disciplines like photography and sculpture. Master’s level art history coursework often covers topics such as Victorian art, modern art, and non-Western art.
- Ancient Art: Study of ancient art from the Paleolithic period to the fall of the Roman Empire.
- Medieval Art: Study of art and architecture from the 5th to the 15th centuries in Europe and the Mediterranean.
- Renaissance Art: Study of art and architecture from the 14th to the 17th centuries in Europe.
- Baroque Art: Art of the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, including the Rococo and Neoclassical styles.
- 19th Century Art: Art of the 19th century in Europe, including Impressionism and Post-Impressionism.
- 20th Century Art: Art of the 20th century in Europe, including Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, and Pop Art.
- Contemporary Art: Art of the 21st century, including digital and installation art.
- Global Art History: Study of art from all regions of the world, including Pre-Modern, Asian, Latin American, and African art.
- Museum Studies: Study of the history and practice of museums.
- Art Theory and Criticism: Analysis of art and its role in society
What Can You Do With an Online Master’s in Art History Degree?
A master’s in Art History degree holder has explored and analyzed famous works of art and the relevant historical context. The degree requires students to hone their critical thinking, research, and communication skills if they are to be successful.
There are many potential careers for individuals with a Master’s in Art History. Depending on the student’s interests and career goals, the following is a sampling of the careers for those who hold a graduate art history degree.
Art history graduates are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and talent to work within a museum setting, and this is one of the most popular career tracks for those who hold a Master’s in Art History online degree. A Museum Curator role typically requires a master’s degree. Curators who have completed one of the on-campus or online master’s programs in art history will be prepared to oversee detailed collections and galleries, which includes significant research and Writing about the collection’s contents and Coordinating Exhibits & Staff.
Although similar to a curator’s job, a Museum Director helps influence the direction of the museum but is also tasked with managerial responsibilities that may include fundraising, scholarship management, staff management, and even investment decisions—an excellent fit for business-minded students who have earned a Master’s in Art History online degree.
Art History Professors
An Art History Professor r is an excellent career for those who have earned a Master in Art History, online or on-campus. With great depth of knowledge and a love of art, an educator can help create the same excitement in their students.
An Art Consultant If you have a serious interest in applying your skills outside of galleries or museums, then you might find art consultancy is a good fit for your skills and career goals. Consultants work for private collectors or corporations and select artwork with their expertly trained eyes. A consultant understands their client’s preferences but works within auction houses and galleries to meet their client’s goals.
An Art Dealer Art dealers can work independently or for a collector or gallery. They maintain a pulse on the industry, with an exceptional eye for art. Networking is the strategy of choice for socially-oriented art dealers.
How Much Can You Make with a Masters in Art History?
The job market for art history graduates runs the gamut but is wildly competitive. Smaller organizations offer art history majors flexibility with a lower salary, whereas larger, more well-known companies pay more but have strict hiring requirements.
According to PayScale, a museum curator who holds a Master’s in Art History online degree will earn an average of $47,604 per year, which equates to $18.22 per hour. However, for those at the top of the field, according to AAMD (the Association of Art Museum Directors), senior curators earn a median salary of $99,500. Below are the regions that pay the highest for a Senior Museum Curator at the senior level.
|Region||Senior Curator Salary|
Alternatively, below are the regions that pay the highest for an Associate Museum Curator at the senior level.
|Region||Associate Museum Curator Salary|
Is a Master’s in Art History Worth It?
A Master’s degree in Art History can be extremely rewarding and may be worth it to someone who is interested in advancing their knowledge of Art History, whether to pursue a career in research, teaching, curating, or writing. Oftentimes, those who pursue a Master’s degree in Art History find that their knowledge and credentials are valued by employers.
It is also an invaluable way to gain access to the world of academic and museum research, as well as providing the opportunity to network with others in the field. Additionally, it is beneficial to have strong organizational, planning, interpersonal, and creative skills if you choose this career.