Art History

Art History graduates develop a broad understanding of interpreting visual information and making valuable historical psychological and cultural connections.

Art History students use their knowledge and interpretive skills to understand the impacts of art and media on a wide range of audiences. They have particular skills in analysis, communication and visual presentation.

Roles and career pathways

Art History graduates may work in a wide range of roles including marketing coordinators, administrators, customers service advisers, website content developers, sales advisers, recruitment consultants, educators or project coordinators.

Postgraduate study such as a Honours or Master's degree in Art History is usually required to work in an arts-related role, where research is often valued. These may include writers, researchers, curators, exhibition managers, gallery managers, programme managers, arts marketing assistants, gallery educators, arts administration managers or customer service managers. It may be possible to move into curatorial work from roles in customer service or administration roles, or as an assistant, coordinator or intern and progressing to more senior roles.

The Master of Museum and Heritage Practice is a popular choice that includes an internship as a component of the course, which is very valuable for career networking and exploration.

Adding another major or degree such as Marketing, Media Studies, Communication, History, Pacific Studies, Māori Studies or Law can help you broaden your employment options by improving your commercial or cultural awareness. Completing a postgraduate diploma in secondary teaching (limited entry) can lead to roles as an Art History teacher.

Where Art History graduates work

Art History graduates work across the private and public sectors. They may work in arts-related environments such as museums, art galleries, libraries, community arts or education organisations.

They also work in a range of areas such as non-profit organisations as well as government departments which may include the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment or Ministry of Social Development. Graduates also work in private business or consultancies such as insurance firms, recruitment agencies or advertising agencies where their ability to understand and connect with different audiences is valuable.

Recent Art History graduates have worked in organisations such as:

Build relevant skills and experience

Part-time work and volunteering during study all help to increase your job prospects when you graduate and work experience within an arts-related organisation is valuable. The WFHSS Internship course run by the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences helps develop leadership skills and practical work place experience. Programmes such as Wellington Plus, and Wellington International Leadership Programme (WILP) offer opportunities to gain diverse volunteer and leadership experience.

Make career connections

Making connections with individuals and groups during your degree can help you learn more about career and networking opportunities. Postgraduate students of Art History may join the Art Association of Australia and New ZealandWellington Chamber of Commerce and Wellington Young Professionals also offer various events and opportunities for networking. The Victoria University of Wellington Alumni as Mentors programme for final-year students also helps enhance your connections and employability while studying.