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Careers advice for History of Art students

Your career

Careers with a degree in History of Art

History of Art graduates go on to a wide range of careers within and beyond the art world, to further study and to other pursuits.

Recent graduates from the department who have chosen careers in the art world have worked as curators, museum educators and learning officers, conservators, art sales specialists and researchers. Others have roles in marketing, communications, business development, client relations, project management and more within this sector. Among others, they have worked for:

  • The National Gallery
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • Royal Academy
  • British Museum
  • British Library
  • National Trust
  • Design Museum
  • Scarborough Museum
  • St Albans Cathedral
  • Christie’s
  • Sotheby’s
  • Phillips.

Many of our graduates have transferred skills from their degrees in the History of Art to a wide range of sectors and roles. These include:

Freelance writers; editor; social media strategist; fashion buyer; PR assistant; marketing manager; development officer; communications; project services coordinator; teaching; research assistant and research project administrator; acquisitions assistant; public housing project; prisons; start-up businesses; internships; university outreach officer; student engagement officer.

Others have gone on to MA and PhD programmes in York and elsewhere.

For more information on the wide range of History of Art and interdisciplinary postgraduate programmes here at York see Postgraduate Study.

Find out more about what you can do with your degree in the History of Art:


Your journey

Your career journey

Your Career Journey helps you make the most of your time at the university to enhance your employability and prepare for life after graduation through your academic studies, work, volunteering, and extracurricular activities.

Careers and Placements’ wide range of events and resources help you:

- work experience
- internships
- community projects
- volunteering
- enterprise

  • gain recognition, awards and grants for personal and professional development through the York Award.

You can also book a one-to-one appointment with a careers consultant.

Log in to Handshake in order to book places on events and to apply for jobs, work experience and volunteer opportunities.

YUSU also organises volunteering projects and events, and helps you set up your own projects.


Your degree

Careers and employability within your History of Art degree

Employability is embedded into all our History of Art taught degrees (BA and MA). Across all stages, our degrees deliver both transferable and subject-specific skills.

The majority of graduate jobs do not require you to have studied a specific subject, and humanities graduates develop transferable skills that are highly valued by employers across sectors. Our degrees will train you to:

  • Interpret and evaluate visual artefacts and aspects of different cultures
  • Appreciate and evaluate unfamiliar objects and divergent points of view with an open mind
  • Communicate effectively in written, oral and visual form
  • Construct logical and persuasive narratives and arguments supported by evidence
  • Retrieve, organise and critically evaluate material (research skills)
  • Use digital technologies effectively for research and communication
  • Manage projects to set briefs and to carry out an independent research project
  • Manage your time effectively
  • Work effectively independently and as part of a team
  • Listen effectively and participate constructively in discussion
  • Solve problems by applying knowledge to complex new contexts
  • Seek and use feedback to reflect on and improve performance

We work closely with Careers to provide specific support at key points on your Career Journey. For example:

  • Stage 1 History of Art undergraduates will complete York Strengths within the Transmissions and Connections module.
  • Stage 2 History of Art and Curating and Art History undergraduates gain experience in exhibition design.
  • Art Law students hear from professionals in a careers panel
  • MA Research Skills in the History of Art has regular panels of speakers to talk about careers in museums, heritage and the art market.

Supervisions are good opportunities to reflect on your personal, academic and professional development and to plan for the future. Supervisors can help you think about the skills and experiences you will need to develop and demonstrate to achieve your goals. They will signpost you to relevant advice and guidance from other academic staff, the Careers team, the College system and YUSU.

For more information on the value of arts and humanities degrees see:

Your experience

Gain further skills and experience

Experience working in different roles and sectors can be invaluable in helping you discover what career is right for you and for gaining the skills and experiences to support job applications.

Careers and Placements' Work Experience has information on internships, volunteer roles, work placements and jobs. You can also apply to do a Placement Year in employment between your second and third year (or the year before your final year).

Within the department there are opportunities to gain work experience in the Museum and Heritage sector. For example,

  • Curating and Art History students usually do a placement in their second year.
  • MAs can usually apply for a range of scholarships and placements offered by partner organisations.

See York Art History Collaborations (YAHCS) for examples of past placements, studentships and projects for History of Art students at BA, MA and PhD.

The student-run Norman Rea Gallery offers valuable opportunities to gain work experience during your degree.

York has a wide variety of galleries, museums and heritage sites. Careers’ Working in the Museums and Heritage Sector provides information on how to find and apply for volunteer, work experience and employment within the sector.

PhD students



Careers and Placements is for all University of York students and graduates. They can help with all aspects of future career planning, and finding and applying for work experience and jobs.

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