History of Art
From the art world to public relations and marketing, your history of art degree will give you exciting opportunities. Learn more about your career options and how we can support you on your journey.
A history of art degree gives you the opportunity to enter a variety of roles within the art world and many Nottingham graduates have successfully pursued such roles in the past.
Equally, other students have found success across a wide variety of job sectors and it is important to recognise how transferable your skills can be in order to maximise both your options and your competitiveness.
What skills will I gain during my degree?
The skills you have gained from studying the history of art are diverse and transferable to lots of career fields.
Your skills include:
- visual awareness
- analysis and interpretation of information
- presentation skills
- spoken and written communication
- working independently and reflectively to deadlines
- powers of imagination to understand and empathise with the world of others
- collaboration with others
- working with digital platforms
It is important to talk about these skills on application forms and during interviews.
What are my career options?
Many graduates look to work in public art galleries. Roles can vary, and include:
- education and learning
- audience engagement
- marketing and public relations
- visitor experiences
Public sector cuts have recently reduced some of these opportunities, but you should be aware of newer roles in business development and fundraising that are growing in response to the economic climate, especially in larger galleries.
Alternatively, you could consider the commercial art sector which typically covers private galleries and auction houses. Starting roles tend to be gallery assistants and gaining some work experience as a student with auction houses will be helpful.
Some students consider entering the museum and heritage and arts and culture sectors in a variety of roles. Related work can be found in art publishing and relevant media organisations. Others have found successful openings in public relations, retail, marketing, charities, advertising, marketing and media.
It is true to say that many history of art graduates (and other subjects) take some time building their career through a series of roles to get to a specific career where they want to be or even to decide what job suits them.
This could be due to a variety of reasons for example: the sector they want to enter requires an entry-level position (for example: heritage, media roles and publishing) or they are saving up to fund a postgraduate course or travel and therefore their first destination is a stop gap.
Career paths - explore graduate careers
Prospects - career options and job profiles
Chloe Austin, Exhibitions and Research Manager at Maximillian William, London
I used these [extracurricular] activities to complete the Nottingham Advantage Award. The modules fit quite naturally with what I was already doing and gave me a space to reflect on some of that work too."
What are my further study options?
Some students choose to go onto further study, doing taught masters in history of art, visual cultures, galleries and museum studies and conservation, or are pursuing professional training to move into teaching or law.
Postgraduate study or training can allow you to:
- develop your skills and current subject knowledge further
- enter certain careers by building expertise in a specific subject
- switch careers, by training or building skills in a new subject
It's important to understand your reasons for studying at postgraduate level and to research opportunities and the value of postgraduate study in your sector before applying.
Masters funding is available (eligibility criteria exists) in the form of a postgraduate loan, but you can only access this funding once hence the importance of choosing your course carefully. If you'd like to talk this through with an adviser, arrange an appointment to speak to us.
Careers blog: Thinking About Postgraduate Study?
Find out more about further study
How can I build my skills and experience?
The opportunities listed are primarily aimed at current students living in the Nottingham area. If you are well into your final year, graduated or are no longer in Nottingham, you can access work and volunteering options in your home area.
Depending on your location and what you want to do, your strategy to develop your skills and experience may vary. You are welcome to have a chat with us, so just arrange an appointment.
Work experience and volunteering
Depending on what area of work or role you might be interested in, and where, there will be specific strategies, from speculative applications to formal processes you need to be familiar with.
Work experience - what, how and when
On this course, you can also study an optional second year placement module. Watch the video on work placements.
CLAS Work Placement and Employability Programme
This programme provides students with the opportunity to gain firsthand practical experience and to meet and network with a wide range of employers
Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies Internships
Gain professional experience in the creative industries, create a network of contacts and boost your employability through the Creative Student Network internship scheme
Nottingham Internship Scheme
We work closely with a huge variety of local and national businesses to bring you an exciting range of internship opportunities, for both current students and recent graduates.
Nottingham Consultancy Challenge
The Nottingham Consultancy Challenge offers the chance for you to gain hands-on experience of managing a short term project for a local business or charity as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
Nottingham Advantage Award
The Nottingham Advantage Award offers interesting extracurricular modules to develop and reflect on your employability. With over more than 200 modules across our three campus in the UK, China and Malaysia.
Advice from Nottingham alumni
With our Careers Mentoring programme, you can receive invaluable support from an alumnus while considering your career options. Choose a mentor in the career area that interests you and get a real insight into the sector.
The Students’ Union offers a wide range of volunteering options both locally and internationally which you can fit around your studies.
Alternatively you could get involved in a society or sports club - there's so many, you're bound to find one that interests you!
Students in Classrooms
There are three initiatives which will give you the opportunity to work in a local educational setting. These initiatives support the academic attainment and raise the aspirations of primary and secondary pupils, whilst developing the skills and employability of those involved.
These are excellent opportunities for students considering teaching, youth work or community engagement as a career.
Exchange programmes overseas
Undertake an exchange semester in another country and broaden your horizons. Talk to your tutors and find out more about the programmes available from the International Office.
Optional placement year
You can now undertake an optional placement year as part of your degree at the end of your penultimate year of study. The placement can be aligned to your degree discipline or related to your career aspirations. Speak to a career adviser or your school for more information.
Developing your digital skills
Digital skills are highly valued by employers. Develop your skills through volunteering, online courses through Google or providers such as FutureLearn, or by getting involved in the Digital Marketing Academy.
If you're not sure where to start, begin by assessing your digital capability and identifying your next steps.
Please be aware that study abroad, compulsory year abroad, optional placements/internships and integrated year in industry opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities or placement/industry hosts, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university's control. Every effort will be made to update this information as quickly as possible should a change occur.
How can I prepare for making applications?
We can help you with all stages of the application, from reviewing your CV and/or application form to interview coaching and assessment centre practice.
Many graduate recruiters also use psychometric tests during the recruitment and selection process. They are common across all sectors and career fields. Practise will really help your performance.