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UMM Home > Career Services > Career Planning & Decision Making > What can I do with a Major in...> Art History
Art History

Description of Major
The purposes of the art history curriculum are to develop students’ understanding of some of the historical traditions in the visual arts, to teach students methods of analysis and interpretation of the meaning of works of art, and to help students learn to evaluate the quality of works of art.

A liberal arts education and study in a particular major will lead to the acquisition of a group of skills which enable one to solve problems, communicate effectively, and perform complicated tasks. These skills are essential in any career. The following is a list of important and commonly agreed upon career skills identified by UMM art history faculty as a part of the project to Improve Public Understanding of Liberal Learning (IMPULL). The skills are those which all or most students studying art history are likely to acquire through classroom instruction, co-curricular or extra-curricular activities.


Leadership Skills:

- disciplined perception and conceptualizing
- organizing

- analyzing and interpreting

Communication/Writing Skills:
- comprehending written material
- describing a visual experience in a
comprehensible manner
- describing objects or events with a
minimum of factual errors
- demonstrating premises and reasoning
to their conclusion
- listening objectively
- expressing ones feelings appropriately
- summarizing, reporting accurately
- writing effectively
- writing factual material clearly and
- identifying and communicating value
judgments effectively
- understanding the feelings of others

Research/Analytical Skills:
- sorting data and objects
- cataloging information
- reading
- understanding images in both a literal
and metamorphic meaning
- designing an experiment, plan or model
that systematically defines a problem
- formulating questions to clarify a
particular problem or issue
- compiling and selecting information
- using library and research facilities
- assessing the relative quality of an
object as part of a group
- using a variety of sources of information
- identifying information sources
appropriate to special needs or problems
- analyzing the interrelationships of
events and ideas from several perspectives

Artistic/Creative Skills:
- aware of the value of communication
through visual form, visual images, and visual media
- skill in communicating through visual
form,visual images, and visual media

Additional Skills, or Skills Peculiar to the art history discipline:
- perception of meaningful relationships
and structures in visual experience
- ability to translate visual experience to
verbal or written descriptions

Jobs Obtained by UMM Art History Graduates
Studies conducted by the UMM Career Center have shown that graduates obtain jobs that are both related to their major and jobs that may not be formally related to the major. Over 20% of the art history graduates from 1964-1998 said their job was in the same field or related to their undergraduate major. Other studies have shown that liberal arts graduates find employment that makes use of their skills, special knowledge, values, and interests, even though the employment field may not be related to their academic major. Listed below are some jobs obtained by UMM art history graduates:

Administrative Assistant
Art Dealer/Sales
Art Gallery Attendant
District Sales Manager
Elementary Art Teacher
Engineering Project Manager
Graphic Design
Insurance Claims Representative
Interactive Communications Software Development
Interior Decorator
Lithographic Platemaker/Production
Manager of Literature
Museum Collections Registrar
Office Supervisor
Public Relations
Real Estate Sales
Retail Management


There are many occupations that do not require a specific undergraduate major; they are often learned as a result of on-the-job training rather than prior education. What is sought among prospective employees is the development of certain skills and abilities that can be developed not only through an academic major but through courses taken as part of one's general education, and through internships, directed studies, tutorials, seminars, study abroad, work-study and summer employment, and volunteer experiences.

Helpful Links
Art History (Adobe Acrobat Supplement)
Graduate/Professional Schools in Art
FSU Match Major Sheets
Alternatives for Art Historians
The Fine Art Directory