Earning an online Master’s in Art and Art History degree serves as the pathway into the expansive world of art, and a variety of careers in areas related to art and art history. Students that search for the best online master’s in art and art history programs likely discover the ideal program that allows them to explore the complex world of art and potential careers.
Reasons to Earn an Online Master’s in Art and Art History
Master’s degree programs in art and art history open doors into the vast world of art. Earning an online master’s degree in art and art history provides students with a strong historical framework into art history, combined with analytical and critical analysis, and a broad foundation and exploration of the arts throughout history.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, indicates that the art from past eras hold clues to life and culture from those past eras in answering the question, ‘Why study art from the past?’ The Met explains that through comparisons of art through history, with the benefit of different perspectives, this gives people a well-rounded means of looking at people, events, situations, and experiences.
There are a wide range of potential career options for individuals that earn a graduate degree in art and art history, including museum or gallery curator, museum or arts administrator, public arts program administrator, or a career at historic or cultural organizations. Azusa Pacific University lists some unique non-traditional careers for graduates of art history degree programs. Some examples of these career options include art crime investigator, architectural conservator, fine arts expert witness, and art exhibit installer.
Online master’s in art and art history programs provide students with traditional and contemporary approaches to the profession, with a firm foundation in research and methods. Students learn to promote better education in the arts and art history, with some students choosing to complete the program to become art educators.
The salary for individuals with this degree may vary somewhat, based on the specific career path. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the 2019 median pay for archivists, curators, and museum workers was $23.97 per hour, with a range of salaries, up to more than $45 per hour for other art and art history occupations.
This list of the best colleges and universities with a master’s in art and art history program offer the programs in an online format.
Best 8 Online Master’s in Art and Art History
1. Fort Hays State University
Fort Hays State University offers an online Master of Liberal Studies Art History Concentration program. Students gain an appreciation for the visual arts and art history through completion of courses such as Origins and Implications of the Knowledge Society, Graduate Readings in Art History, Seminar: Ancient Art History, and Seminar: 18th-19th Century Art History. Students also complete courses in art with topics that varies with different semesters.
Program graduates typically pursue careers as a museum curator, art critic, or gallery manager.
- Tuition: $298.55 per credit hour
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
2. University of Nebraska Kearney
The University of Nebraska Kearney offers the online Master of Arts in Education: Art Education program for students that are current professionals in museum education careers, or that currently teach art in a K-12 school system. The program is ideally suited for students that have a bachelor’s degree in art education, the visual arts in areas such as studio, graphic arts, art history, or art education, or museum studies.
Students choose from two concentrations, opting for either the Classroom Education Emphasis, or the Museum Education Emphasis.
- Tuition: $315 per credit hour
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
3. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
The Northwestern State University of Louisiana Online Master of Arts in Art degree program is a low-residency program. This means that most requirements are completed online with one or more on-campus visits during a particular term or academic year.
This 33 credit hour MA in Art degree focuses on Art History, Criticism in addition Art Practices and Process. Students may take up to 12 credit hours per semester or as few a 3 credit hours per semester. Residencies are held during 4-week summer sessions. Graduate students pay $475 per credit hour up to nine hours and $100 per credit hour thereafter. Internet-only students do not pay any out-of-state fees.
The school also offers a Master of Arts in Art face-to-face, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Art with concentrations in craft, graphic communications, interdisciplinary design, and studio art.
- Tuition: $475 per credit hour
- Accreditation: SACSCOC, NASAD
4. Lindenwood University
The 30-credit hour online Master of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture program at Lindenwood University is offered as a fast-track program. Students gain a broad foundation of the visual arts and culture in various eras, and the opportunity for students to explore the arts in culture throughout history. Students also gain a strong foundation in research methods and practices, with knowledge of how works of art were produced, and how they were utilized through different eras.
Students complete required courses, and electives such as Baroque Art, Art Theory and Criticism, History of Digital Art, and History of World Cinema. Other courses include the study of twentieth-century modern and contemporary art, and the history of costume and design.
- Tuition: $520 per credit hour
- Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
5. Azusa Pacific University
The online Master of Arts in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism program at Azusa Pacific University focuses on modern and contemporary art history. The curriculum provides students with an understanding of art historical methods, research methods and practices, and written and verbal communications skills. Students also gain skills in areas such as critical thinking and visual analysis during the 36-credit hour program.
- Tuition: $649 per credit hour
- Accreditation: WSCUC, NASAD
6. Savannah College of Art and Design
The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) offers a unique online Master of Arts in Preservation Design degree. The program focuses on the historic preservation of art, with courses that provide instruction on the theory and craft of preservation.
The school also offers a Master of Fine Arts in Preservation Design program, with courses such as Practicing Preservation in a Global Context, Digital Innovations in Preservation Design, and Analyzing American Cultural Landscapes.
- Tuition: $855 per credit hour
- Accreditation: SACSCOC
7. Academy of Art University
The Academy of Art University offers an online Master of Art History degree that combines art historical theory and criticism along with the study of the fine and applied arts. The online program focuses on the study of art, and specific artists and their techniques through courses focusing on areas such as art history, methodologies and theories, Greek art, and the tools and techniques in art.
There is also a study abroad opportunity through this program.
- Tuition: $1,137 per credit hour
- Accreditation: WSCUS, NASAD
8. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is the first, and the oldest art school in the country. The school offers a low residency Master of Fine Arts program, that requires students to complete some degree requirements onsite, although most requirements are completed in an online format.
Although the program focuses more on fine arts than specifically on art history, students gain knowledge of the historical archives and collections at the school, while completing courses on topics such as professional practice, core critique, 20th century art, and reframing theory.
- Tuition: est. $1,478 per credit hour
- Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education, NASAD
We searched for online master’s in art and art history programs, and developed a list of the best schools offering the degree. These best online master’s degree programs are all accredited and offer affordable tuition.
The tuition rate for this list of the best online master’s in art and art history programs covers only the cost of one credit hour of instruction, at the resident rate. Some schools may charge a different tuition rate for out-of-state students. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to determine the cost of tuition, including any fees, materials, or other expenses.
We can help you find the right college or university for your goals or career aspirations, based on the program that you select.
If you need to update the information that we have for your school, or would like to have your school included in our rankings, please contact us.