Careers advice for History of Art students

Your career

Your career

This is just a sample of the types of career you could work towards - there are many more options open to you and Careers is always happy to talk through your choices and ideas with you.


After graduation, our graduates go on to start a career, further study, or other pursuits. View some of our Alumni profiles to see the extraordinary range of careers available to History of Art graduates.

Looking for a job?

Visit the Careers website, where you can find employers who are specifically interested in York graduates.

Careers is also a great source of advice and support, so that you can make the most of your time at York.

Your skills

Your skills

While studying History of Art, we will help you to develop many transferable skills, suitable for a wide range of careers.

Combining the skills and knowledge you develop through your studies with the experience you gain through your extra-curricular activities could help you secure a great job after you graduate!

The majority of graduate jobs do not require you to have studied a specific subject, so if you want to do anything from investment banking to youth work, a degree in the history of art can set you on the right path.

There are, of course, some industries which require specialist knowledge. If you are hoping to work within culture and heritage, e.g. in a museum or gallery, then your history of art degree can be an excellent basis to start from.

Our degrees will train you to:

  • Communicate ideas and arguments effectively in written and spoken form with appropriate use of visual aids.
  • Listen effectively, so to learn from - and participate constructively in - discussion.
  • Work constructively in groups.
  • Work diligently to fulfil briefs and deadlines and to take responsibility for your own work.
  • Make effective use of information technology for research and communication.
  • Update knowledge and skills; seek and use feedback; reflect on and improve performance.

Have a Plan

You should discuss your career and employability plans with your Supervisor in your supervisory meetings. These are great opportunities for you to reflect on your personal, academic and professional development and plan for the future. Your Supervisor can:

  • encourage you to think through and articulate personal ambitions and possible career paths
  • encourage you to think about the skills and attributes you will need to develop and demonstrate in order to achieve your personal, academic and professional aims
  • encourage you to seek relevant advice and guidance on these matters from other academic staff, the Careers team, the College System and YUSU and signpost development that is available within and beyond the curriculum.

For further information on Careers and employability, visit: or see the University handbook.

Expand your skillset

York Futures is an industry-leading professional development programme, designed specifically for York Students. It aims to help you gain further clarity on your personal strengths and where you can apply those strengths in future career areas. York Futures will help you take charge of your own career journey. It will give you:

  • insight into where you are now
  • help in building your confidence
  • a vision of where you might want to go
  • ideas of how best to use your time as a student to help you get there.

If you don’t really know where you want to go, York Futures will be an excellent foundation for developing the curiosity and skills to investigate your future. It will also help you take positive steps toward a graduate career that is right for you.

If you do know where you want to go, or have some idea, York Futures will help you to understand more about yourself, your strengths, how to demonstrate them and how to develop your professional offering further.


Your experience

Your experience

If you are unsure about the kind of role you would like to do or the industry you would like to work in, try a few things out - it will help you identify what you do and don’t enjoy and may help you generate some ideas.


Careers has a huge range of opportunities from lots of different sectors (including culture and heritage), so you could find something for a few days or participate in a year long project.


Another way to get work experience and develop your skills, is through volunteering. There are hundreds of different opportunities for you to give your time and energy freely to the benefit and support of others - and enhance your employability at the same time.

Work experience

Don't put it off!  It’s never too early or too late to get some work experience, and potentially any type of work experience can provide you with useful transferable skills, as long as you make the most of it, reflect on it and articulate it effectively in your CV or application form.

Read the information sheets on work experience from Careers.

Work experience related to history of art

We have two innovative projects directly related to History of Art. You could have the chance to help curate and manage exhibitions, design visitor programmes or organise relevant speakers and workshops. Contact Careers for details.

  • Fairfax house: Exhibitions project
  • Langwith College: Arts project

If you are interested in working in a museum or gallery, look out for public invitations to volunteer. You may have more luck in getting into a smaller, local museum/gallery than a national one, so make sure you research all the options.

See the side bar on the right for a list of useful websites.

Remember, Careers runs sessions on different occupations throughout the year, including a session on heritage management with speakers from a private consultancy, the York Museums Trust and the Yorkshire Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

Other options

Other options

Further study

If you want to build a career in academia you will usually need to undertake postgraduate study, starting with a masters degree and then moving on to a PhD.

The History of Art Department at York offers a range of exciting postgraduate courses. Discuss this option with your Supervisor, attend Careers events on the subject and of course you can always book a one-to-one appointment with a careers adviser to talk it through.

Some professions require a postgraduate qualification; this could be a masters degree (e.g. in museum studies) or a professional qualification like the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) for teaching. Make sure you carefully research the options, as courses may need to be accredited by a certain awarding body in order to be acceptable to the profession you want to enter.

Deadlines for applying for further study can vary. For some courses there are no set deadlines - the institution just offers places until they have all been filled, however other courses have a recruitment cycle, so you need to research the area you are interested in as early as possible.

Take time out

You may feel like you want a complete break to go travelling, volunteer somewhere or whatever else takes your fancy! 

Remember, whatever you do during your time out, you will still need to make a decision about where you want to work and what you want to do at the end of it. Similarly, you will need to explain to an employer what you have been doing and describe the skills you developed through your experiences - many employers will value the experience you have gained through taking time out, but only if you articulate this effectively.

Careers provides lots of useful information to help you research this option.

Who to contact



Careers is for all University of York students, staff and graduates. They can help you plan your future career, review your CV, and offer advice and information about your options.

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