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Art History major

Why study art history at university?

Study tips
Published 21 Sep, 2022  ·  3-minute read

Whether you’re a budding artist yourself or just fascinated in the ever-changing world of artistry, this Bachelor of Arts major can help prepare you for a successful and rewarding art history career.

The Art History major is, at its core, an eye-opener. It enables you to view the world through various lenses and appreciate visual cultures on multiple levels. Ultimately, you’ll graduate with a well-rounded perspective and the ability to understand societies – past and present – through the many mediums of art.

But what does this all mean, really? What do you get from an art history degree or by studying the Art History major within the Bachelor of Arts?

We spoke with UQ’s Art History major convenor, Dr Paolo Magagnoli, to find out.

Is Art History a good major?

If you’re hoping to work in the visual arts industry or publishing sector, yes. This major provides you with both the practical skills and theoretical understanding to thrive in this field.

Paolo believes Art History students are equipped to explore in detail the ongoing significance of images – a skill that’s becoming increasingly relevant over time.

“We live in a world that, more and more, relies on images rather than written or spoken words as a primary medium of communication.”

At UQ, students in this major have excellent opportunities to put their learnings into action through internships and similar experiences, both locally and abroad, as part of their studies.

“Our students benefit from a range of substantive curatorial internship and professional development opportunities across Australia and internationally,” says Paolo.

Art History UQ Art Museum

In addition to volunteering at our own UQ Art Museum, prior Art History students have secured work experience placements in institutes including:

  • Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA)
  • Home of the Arts (HOTA) on the Gold Coast
  • Bula’bula Arts Aboriginal Corporation
  • National Gallery of Victoria
  • Guggenheim Museums in New York, Venice and Abu Dhabi
  • Art Biennale and Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Having this practical experience as part of your program ensures you graduate with the confidence to step straight into your art history career.

Skills you get when you study art history

The skills you’ll learn from this major include:

  • practical skills in visual literacy (understanding and interpreting images)
  • practical skills in writing and communication
  • curation and design of exhibitions
  • historical analysis of artworks.

Art history careers

A degree in art history can lead to a wide range of art-related careers. Or, depending on your other major (and other program, if you’re studying a dual degree), the Art History major can provide you with a fresh and unique perspective to take into any field – even industries that, on the surface, don’t seem to relate to art history at all.

Our Art History graduates frequently find themselves working as:

  • gallery assistants and directors
  • exhibition assistants and directors
  • museum operations managers
  • gallery curators
  • artistic directors
  • art editors
  • art therapists
  • arts writers and journalists
  • arts festival directors
  • commercial arts dealers.

Study art history at UQ

If you choose the Art History major as part of your Bachelor of Arts, you’ll get to enrol in courses including:

Learn more about UQ’s Art History major Explore other options in the UQ Bachelor of Arts

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