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20 Best Art History Degree in 2021

September 23, 2021 | Staff Writers

Art History Degree
Degree Finder
BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

The following schools are accredited and offer a high-quality bachelor’s degree in Art History.  They are ranked according to a matrix using the cost, faculty to student ratio and the graduation rate.  Institutions with a lower cost and lower faculty to student ratio will rank higher.  Institutions with high graduation rates also rank higher.  Using these three statistics of each school help show a well-rounded picture of the school and success rate of students that attend, both while in school and after graduation.  Some institutions offer the degree online while others are offered solely on campus and a few offer a hybrid blend.  There are even associates in art history degrees and masters in art history degrees to check out.

Here are the Top 20 Art History Degrees

1. University of Iowa            Points:  13

A public research institution, the University of Iowa was founded in 1847 and now offers over 200 areas of study across 12 colleges.  The University of Iowa School of Art and Art History is one of the top ten public schools in the nation.  Students seeking a degree in art history will find a multidisciplinary degree that is strongly rooted in the liberal arts.  Students will work alongside faculty members that have national and international reputations in art and art history.  Students at UI are surrounded by art throughout the campus with sculptures, paintings, and buildings designed by well-known architects.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Iowa City, Iowa
  • Resident Tuition: $9,606
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $31,569
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 71.8%
  • Available Online: No

2. Arizona State University      Points: 11

A public research institution, Arizona State University operates five campuses as well as an innovative online program with a wide array of accredited degree programs.  ASU has been recognized as the most innovative university in the nation and provides affordable online degrees to anyone with access to the internet.  The arts history degree is offered through ASU’s Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts, it is one of the few comprehensive art history degrees offered online nationwide.  The courses are engaging and designed to prepare students for careers using their degree.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Tempe, Arizona
  • Resident Tuition: $11,338   Online Resident Tuition: $10,806
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $29,428     Online Non-Resident Tuition: $19,398 
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 20 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 67.1%
  • Available Online: Yes

3. University of Massachusetts Lowell          Points:  11

A public research institution, the University of Massachusetts Lowell is regionally accredited and also offers a large online program for distance learners. Art History is a unique transdisciplinary field of study that blends history, culture, politics, and society.  Graduates of the Art History program have a global perspective and are culturally aware in our evolving contemporary world.  Courses will take students through a in -depth study of art and architecture while researching the depths behind them such as environmental issues, political climate, changing concepts, and more.    

At A Glance

  • Location: Lowell, Massachusetts
  • Resident Tuition: $15,648
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $33,574
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 17 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 55.5%
  • Available Online: Yes

4. SUNY Empire State College           Points:  11

An affordable public college, Empire State College is a member of the State Univeristy of New York system (SUNY).  An innovative institution that uses a non traditional method of learning and teaching, ESC allows students to develop and design their own degree.  Through this students are able to engage in an interdisciplinary study program across 12 academic fields.  Online learners will work with academic advisors in setting the course for their degree.  Students can tailor that degree to art history.  Students will need to complete approximately 124 credit hours to complete their program to earn a bachelor of arts degree.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Saratoga Springs, New York
  • Resident Tuition: $7,605
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $17,515
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 44.2%
  • Available Online: Yes

5. Lindenwood University           Points:  11

A private institution, Lindenwood University was established in 1827 and is the second oldest institution in the state of Missouri.  Lindenwood offers a three year fast track to earning a bachelor’s of arts in art history.  Students will study visual materials such as paintings, sculptures, photography, and digital art.  Students gain an understanding of the context of visual art and the culture from which they come.  The faculty of the art history department are seasoned and experienced professionals that provide rich insights and engaging lessons both online and on campus.  

At A Glance

  • Location: St. Charles, Missouri
  • Resident Tuition: $18,100
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $18,100
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 12 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 58.1%
  • Available Online: Yes

6. Mansfield University of Pennsylvania        Points:  11

A small public institution, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania is accredited and enrolls approximately 1,600 students each year.  Mansfield University has been ranked among the top liberal arts schools in the nation by the U.S. News and World Report.  Students seeking a bachelor’s degree in art history will find a comprehensive online degree that immerses them int eh study of art and the culture surrounding it from across the globe.  Students will learn to interpret objects, visual pieces, and more as they increase their knowledge of the history surrounding the pieces of artwork.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Mansfield, Pennsylvania
  • Resident Tuition: $10,596
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $13,162
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 15 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 50.9%
  • Available Online: Yes

7. Brown University        Points:  11

A private Ivy League research institution, Brown University was founded in 1764. Students study under the tutelage of nationally renowned professors and faculty that are experts in their fields of study.  Students will study the ongoing history of art and architecture and material culture.  The degree courses are grounded in the humanities and visual art as they study culture and history of visual pieces of art. Graduates are able to analyze and discuss the history, techniques and cultural implications of artwork from across the world. Careers that alumni have followed include educators, administrators, museum curators, and more.      

At A Glance

  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island
  • Resident Tuition: $58,404
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $58,404
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 6 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 95.5%
  • Available Online: No

8. New York University      Points:  11

A private research institution, New York University opened its doors in 1831 to provide education based on merit of applying students. Students seeking a degree in art history will attend courses from the art history department that offer courses at an introductory and advanced level.  Courses will take students through the vocabulary and historical contexts of visual arts from major world cultures.  Students will learn how to research patronage, material culture, social history, religion and more that contributes to visual art and artists.  Students learn from renowned faculty and researchers.    

At A Glance

  • Location: New York City, New York
  • Resident Tuition: $53,308
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $53,308
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 9 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 85.4%
  • Available Online: No

9. Vanderbilt University          Points:  11

A private research institution, Vanderbilt University was established in 1873 by Cornelius Vanderbilt.  The Department of History of Art and Architecture offers a comprehensive study of world art from ancient art to the contemporary art of today.  Students learn to research the historical contexts in which various pieces of art were created in.  The degree in art history is interdisciplinary by nature as students participate in courses in the humanities, the arts, history, psychology, and more.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Resident Tuition: $52,070
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $52,070
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 7 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 92.3%
  • Available Online: No

10. Boston University             Points:  11

A private institution, Boston University was established in 1839 and traces its roots back to the United Methodist Church.  Students seeking a degree in art history will find faculty that are experts in their field specializing in antiquity to modern to virtual art of today.  Students receive a global curriculum through innovative methods that keep them engaged and immersed in their courses.  The location of Boston University also provides unique opportunities for students that allow them to study within museums in the Boston, Cambridge and Metropolitan area.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Resident Tuition: $55,892
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $55,892
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 10 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 86.5%
  • Available Online: No

11. Dartmouth University          Points:  11

A private Ivy League research institution, Dartmouth University was established in 1769 and is the ninth oldest institution for higher learning in the nation.  The undergraduate art history degree program teaches students to view and analyze visual artwork through the lens of the history of diverse people and cultures.  At Dartmouth art history is viewed as the bridge between the language field of the humanities to the world of the creative arts.  The degree teaches students to do more than just look at art but changes the way they see the world around them.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
  • Resident Tuition: $57,638
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $57,638
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 7 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 96.4%
  • Available Online: No

12. Yale University      Points:  11

A private Ivy League institution, Yale University was established in 1701 and is the third oldest institution for higher learning in the nation.  Students of the art history degree major will find an intense program that teaches them to think and analyze critically at works of art ranging from cave paintings to the contemporary media of today.  Students learn to research and understand the many practices and materials that contribute to each work of art and the cultural contributions they make as a result.  Students will find they will be researching and questioning the politics, religion, social institutions, technology, and more that influence the art piece.  

At A Glance

  • Location: New Haven, Connecticut
  • Resident Tuition: $55,500
  • Non-Resident Tuition: %55,500
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 6 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 93.7%
  • Available Online: No

13. Harvard University     Points:  11

A private Ivy League institution, Harvard University is the oldest institution for higher learning in the nation and has a long rich history of educating the brightest minds.  The art history program dates back to 1874 and is one of the most comprehensive all encompassing programs that studies art of the antiquities to the modern contemporary digital media of today.  The faculty support cross-regional, transnational, and transcultural analysis.  Another unique area of expertise of faculty is the study of materials of art across all media.  WIth partnerships with Harvard Art Museums, Fine Arts Library, and more students receive a rich and engaging education in art history.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Resident Tuition: $51,925
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $51,925
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 7 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 97.3%
  • Available Online: No

14. Stanford University             Points:  11

A private research institution, Stanford University offers a wide array of top ranking programs and schools at their Stanford campus in California.  As a discipline that teaches students to view and understand art from a variety of perspectives, students of the art history degree will find a multidisciplinary approach at Stanford.  Students learn to research the origins, history, political climate, social ideations and more that influence a piece of art.  As a multidisciplinary major students will gain strong research and communication skills as well as analytical skills.   

At A Glance

  • Location: Stanford, California
  • Resident Tuition: $53,529
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $53,529
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 5 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 94%
  • Available Online: No

15. Williams College         Points:  11

A private liberal arts institution, Williams College was founded in 1793.  Williams College offers a unique program in art history, though it is a smaller college the offerings and courses rival that of Ivy League institutions. Faculty engage with students in the classroom, in the studio, as well as museums of Williamstown and beyond.  Utilizing local resources and the history of the area, students are immersed in the culture of analyzing art and architecture in the world around them and beyond in the context of culture, material, religion, and more. Students have opportunities to travel, participate in lectures, and internships throughout their time studying art history.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Williamstown, Massachusetts
  • Resident Tuition: $57,280
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $57,280
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 7 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 94%
  • Available Online: No

16. Swarthmore College         Points:  11

A private liberal art institution, Swarthmore College was founded in 1864 and was also one of the earliest co educational institutions in the nation.  At Swarthmore art is considered the converging point of culture, politics, psychology, religion, and history.  Swarthmore also sees visual intelligence “to be fundamental to a liberal arts education.”  That being said students are taught underlying principles and basic skills of art analysis and conception.  With the close proximity to Philadelphia, students can be immersed in studying some of the most important collections of art in the United States.  

At A Glance

  • Location: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
  • Resident Tuition: $54,656
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $54,656
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 8 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 94.1%
  • Available Online: No

17. Pomona College         Points:  11

A private liberal arts college, Pomona College was established in 1887 in Claremont, California to be a “college of the New England type.” Students of the art history major will study the theory philosophy and history of art.  They study pieces of art across cultures from antiquity to modern contemporary works of art.  This program has a long successful past at Pomona College and has graduated many who have gone on to become physicians, lawyers, museum curators and more.  Students have opportunities to participate in collaborative programs in specific areas such as Greek and Roman art, Islamic art and architecture, East Asian art, and so many more. 

At A Glance

  • Location: Claremont, California
  • Resident Tuition: $54,762
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $54,762
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 8 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 97%
  • Available Online: No

18. Pennsylvania State University      Points:  9

The Bachelor’s Degree in Art History is your ticket to an education that will bring the world closer through art, architecture, cultures, languages, travel, museums, and history. Their close-knit community provides you with direct access to top faculty researchers in the field, committed to supporting you.

Freshmen enroll first as general students at Penn State and then declare the Art History major once they have earned grades at the University. Freshmen may begin their studies at any Penn State location, but majors must study at University Park to complete their degrees. Transfer students are considered for admission to University Park.

At A Glance

  • Location: University Park, PA
  • Resident Tuition: $18,898 per year
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $36,476 per year
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 16 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 85%
  • Available Online: Yes

19. The George Washington University         Points:  9

A private institution, The George Washington University was established in 1821 and is located in Washington D.C.  Students seeking to earn a degree in art history will have unique opportunities studying among the many art museums in the heart of the nation’s capital.  Washington D.C. is a culturally rich and diverse location that offers an immersive experience for students learning historical and cultural implications behind visual art pieces.  The backbone of the program includes the permanent collections and exhibitions available throughout the nearby galleries.   

At A Glance

  • Location:Washington D.C.
  • Resident Tuition: $56,935
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $56,935
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 13 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 83.9%
  • Available Online: No

20. Academy of Art University      Points: 5

A privately owned, for-profit art institute, The Academy of Art University was established in 1929 as an advertising art academy.  Students that enroll in the school art history program will learn theory as well as the criticism of the fine and applied arts.  The entire program is an immersive experienced that is entirely designed around the study of art, the artist, and their techniques.  Students understand the narrative behind the pieces which they study from the political climate to environmental factors that influence artists and their work.  

At A Glance

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Resident Tuition: $23,412
  • Non-Resident Tuition: $23,412
  • Faculty to Student Ratio: 14 to 1
  • Financial Aid: Yes
  • Graduation Rate: 3.8%
  • Available Online: No

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BestValueSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
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