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 impacts of art and media on a wide range of audiences. They have particular skills in analysis, communication and visual presentation.

Where Art History graduates work

Art History graduates 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 that use their skills in analysis and communication 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:

Roles and career pathways

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

Post-graduate study such as a Honours or Master's year in Art History is usually required to work in arts-related roles, where research is important. This may include writers, researchers, curators, exhibition managers, gallery managers, programme managers, arts marketing assistants, gallery educators, arts administration managers or customer service managers.

The Masters in Museum and Heritage studies is a popular choice that includes an internship as a component of the course. Adding another major or degree such as Marketing, Media Studies, Communication, History, Pacific Studies, Māori Studies or Law can help broaden your employment options by improving your commercial  or cultural awareness. Completing a post-graduate diploma in secondary teaching (limited entry) can lead to roles as an Art History teacher.

Build relevant skills and experience

Part-time work and volunteering during study help to increase your job prospects when you graduate. Work within an arts-related organisation during or after study is valuable for gaining practical experience and industry contacts.  A pathway to move into curatorial work can be to start in customer service or administration as an assistant, coordinator or intern and progressing to senior roles. The FHSS Internship course run by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science helps develop practical work place experience. Programmes such as Victoria Plus, and Victoria International Leadership Programme (VILP) offer opportunities to gain diverse volunteer and leadership experience.

Make career connections

Making connections with individuals and groups during your degree can help your learn more about career and networking opportunities. Post-graduate students of Art History can join the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand - Wellington. Wellington Chamber of Commerce and Wellington Young Professionals also offers various events and opportunities for networking. The Alumni as Mentors scheme also helps enhance your connections and employability while studying.