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Careers for History of Art Students

Here in the History of Art department we take your future very seriously indeed and hence the decision to include a dedicated Careers section within our departmental website, which we hope you will find helpful.


What can you do with a degree in Art History?

As a student of art history, you have a wide variety of career options open to you.

For many key jobs in museums, galleries, auction houses and fine art publishing houses, a degree in art history is a prerequisite. Moreover, the study of art history equips you with skills, knowledge and perspectives that can be used in many jobs outside the art world.

The following pages are designed primarily to draw your attention to the careers resources available to you at Warwick and to give you ideas and information about jobs directly related to your degree. But do not feel constrained by careers in the art world: there are many other professions well worth considering. For the full range of options, check out information about job sectors on the Student Careers website.


What do Warwick Art History graduates do?

The University of Warwick surveys all of its graduates six months after they have completed their degrees to find out what they are doing. At this stage, normally over a third of recently-graduated art history students are in employment and a similar fraction are undertaking further academic study or vocational training (e.g. teacher training, MA in Museum Studies). The remainder are either taking time out, doing temporary or voluntary work, or seeking employment.

Further information about the career paths of former Warwick students is obtained by Warwick Alumni. This reveals that Warwick art history graduates have established successful careers in a wide range of careers both in the art world and beyond. For a taster of what some of them are up to, see Careers in Focus: The Insider’s View.


Your skills as a History of Art graduate

In addition to gaining in-depth knowledge of the discipline, by studying the history of art you will have developed an impressive range of transferable skills, including:

  • Advanced visual skills
  • Advanced communication skills (written and oral)
  • Independent research skills
  • Refined powers of analysis
  • Logical thought processes

You will also possess the ability to:

  • Interpret, assess and evaluate sources
  • Lead and participate in discussions
  • Give persuasive and professional presentations
  • Work independently and to deadlines

 

  • You may also have had experience of mastering a foreign language, which requires rigorous attention to detail and a liking for precision.
  • From studying the art and society of different time periods, you will have developed good imaginative powers and the ability to enter the thoughts and worlds of others, which is a very useful skill at work.

These are skills which all employers value and which form an important part of many careers, and of course, you will have your own qualities, values and interests to bring to your career. During your time at Warwick, you will also have developed skills through work experience and involvement in activities such as clubs, societies and voluntary activities. This is a good starting point from which to think about the kind of careers that are most likely to interest you and where you would gain satisfaction.

For more information about getting started in your career planning, contact the Centre for Student Careers and Skills.


Jobs directly related to a History of Art degree

Do you want to use the knowledge you have gained from your degree? Many jobs relate directly to an art history degree, including:

  • Art Consultant
  • Art Journalism
  • Academic Library Project Cataloguer
  • Arts Development Officer for County Council
  • Auctioneer
  • Exhibitions Manager
  • Gallery Manager
  • Heritage Management
  • Higher Education Lecturer
  • Historic Buildings Inspector or Conservation Officer
  • Museum or Gallery Curator
  • Museum Documentation Assistant
  • Object Conservator
  • Picture Researcher or Editor
  • Programme Officer for Art Association
  • Secondary School Art or Art History Teacher

For further information, see Careers in Focus: The Insider’s View.


Careers in Art History book

 

Careers in Art History is a 100-page book that provides information about the wide range of careers available to art historians.

The 28 chapters are written by experts in the field who describe possible career paths, their positive and negative points, the qualifications required and the availability of voluntary work placements.

The book also gives information about where jobs are advertised, the contact details of useful organizations, and examples of further courses and training that can be undertaken.

At £5 (plus £1 p&p), this is a must! Payments can be made by cheque (made payable to ‘Association of Art Historians’) or by credit card.

For more information or to order a copy, contact Administrator, AAH, 70 Cowcross St, London EC1M 6EJ; Tel: 020 7490 3211; email: admin@aah.org.uk.


Other careers using your skills as a History of Art graduate

 

There are many other jobs where the transferable skills learnt from an art history degree would prove extremely useful include:

  • Civil Servant
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Freelance Film Reviewer and Film Publicist
  • Graphic Web Designer
  • University Administrator

For further information, see Careers in Focus: The Insider’s View.


Further study

 

Postgraduate study can be a way of studying art history to new depths or gaining a vocational qualification to enter your chosen career area. For more information about the postgraduate courses run by the Art History department, see Postgraduate Courses in Art History at Warwick.


Careers events specifically for Art Historians

 

In conjunction with the Centre for Student Careers and Skills and the Alumni Relations Office, the History of Art department has initiated a programme of careers events designed specifically for you. For last year’s pioneering careers day, see “Life after Warwick”: Warwick Art History Careers Forum.


Internship Opportunities and Work Experience

You are strongly advised to undertake relevant work experience and placements during the university vacations in order to build up your employment profile before you leave. For a list of institutions with whom we have contacts, and for information about the financial aid offered by the University to enable you to undertake such volunteerships, see Internship Opportunities and Work Experience.


Talking to a Warwick graduate

We have a large network of very friendly and approachable former students in a wide variety of professions who would be delighted to speak openly and honestly to you about their jobs, how they got them and what they involve.

For contact information specifically about Art History graduates, see Careers in Focus: The Insiders View.


For Further Help

If you’re looking for a job, see Useful Websites and Places to Look for Job Listings.

If you’re still not sure what you want to do, there is information on the Careers Service WebPages to help you get started.