What Can I Do with My Art History Major or Minor?

Preparing for Tomorrow

Art history students develop skills in visual literacy, critical thinking, communication, and creative problem solving. Majors and minors follow a variety of career paths, and their skills are applicable to many types of jobs. Art history graduates work as teachers, museum curators and educators, gallery dealers, arts administrators, appraisers, and historic preservation consultants. Others branch out into journalism, law, marketing, non-profit administration, interior design, photography, library and archival science, and cultural and heritage studies. Certain positions inside and outside the art world require education beyond the undergraduate level. As such, a number of our students go on to pursue MA or PhD degrees in programs including UWM’s MA in Art History and its joint MA in Art History and Library and Information Science.

Real-World Opportunities and Experiential Learning

UWM art history majors and minors are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the internship opportunities at various institutions in the Milwaukee area, among them the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Public Museum. Students also intern in UWM’s own Emile H. Mathis Art Gallery, which is home to the UWM Art Collection and features works by artists such as Rembrandt, O’Keeffe, and Picasso as well as one of the largest collections of African art in the Midwest. Internships provide hands-on experience in curation, collections management, writing, research, and the nuts-and-bolts of displaying objects for exhibition. Our courses also offer authentic learning experiences, in which students develop skills used by practicing art historians. Class projects focused on exhibition design, collection cataloguing, and conference presentations help prepare students for a variety of professions.

Sample Internships:

  • Emile H. Mathis Art Gallery, UWM
  • UWM Special Collections
  • Milwaukee Art Museum
  • Haggerty Museum of Art (Marquette University)
  • John Michael Kohler Arts Center
  • Kohler Foundation
  • Museum of Wisconsin Art
  • Wright Museum of Art (Beloit College)
  • Guardian Fine Art Services / The Warehouse (Milwaukee)
  • Portrait Society Gallery (Milwaukee)

Portable Skills to Take to Any Job!

An art history degree provides you with a “toolkit” of transferable skills that will help you navigate both the job market today and the employment landscape of the future. In art history courses, you will develop proficiencies in:

  • Visual analysis and literacy (learning to “read” images)
  • Presentation skills and public speaking
  • Writing and editing
  • Research skills (gathering, organizing, and evaluating data)
  • Human relations and communication
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Attention to detail
  • Creative problem solving
  • Creative expression
  • Critical thinking
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity


The study of art history at UWM also provides a forum for students to advocate for diversity, equity, and social justice in the art world, in museums, and in the classroom. Consistent with the broad cultural and geographical range of our curriculum, our courses regularly interrogate questions of race, gender, and representation in art past and present. The department’s commitment to inclusion is further reflected in the exhibitions and other programming in the Mathis Gallery.

Where are our students now?

In addition to pursuing post-graduate degrees in art history and related fields, our BA and MA alumni hold a variety of positions at institutions and nonprofits including the following:

  • Milwaukee Art Museum
  • Milwaukee Public Library
  • John Michael Kohler Arts Center
  • Nelson Atkins Museum of Art
  • Harvard Art Museums
  • Sheboygan Theatre Company
  • Journey House (Milwaukee)

UWM Art History graduates have joined the staffs of commercial and non-profit art galleries, and they have pursued careers in higher education administration, both here at UWM and at schools such as Columbia University. We are also proud that our alumni have made use of their art history degrees in business careers, including positions in human resources, social media management, and finance.