Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

Art History


From the art world to public relations and marketing, your art history degree will give you exciting opportunities. Learn more about your career options and how we can support you on your journey.

An art history 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.

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What skills will I gain during my degree?

The skills you have gained from studying art history are diverse and transferable to lots of career fields.

Your skills include:

  • visual awareness
  • analysis and interpretation of information
  • presentation
  • spoken and written communication
  • working independently and reflectively to deadlines
  • powers of imagination to understand and empathise with the world of others
  • collaborate with others
  • working with digital platforms

It is important to talk about these skills on application forms and during interviews.

Stepping stones from my degree

It is true to say that many art history 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.

What careers have graduates gone into?

Many people look to work in public art galleries and roles can vary including:

  • curator
  • education and learning
  • audience engagement
  • marketing and public relations
  • visitor experiences
  • conservation

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.

Some students choose to go on to further study, doing taught masters in art history, visual cultures, galleries and museums studies and conservation or are pursuing professional training to move into teaching or law.


How can I develop my skills and gain experience?

Regardless of whether you are in the early stages of your course or have recently graduated, developing skills outside your degree will enhance your CV and allow you to provide evidence of these in applications and at interviews.  University of Nottingham specific examples are listed below:

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 whenOn this course, you can also study an optional second year placement module. Watch the video on work placements.

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 Internship Scheme

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 Consultancy Challenge

Nottingham Advantage Award

The Nottingham Advantage Award offers interesting extracurricular modules to develop your employability. With over more than 200 modules across our three campus in the UK, China and Malaysia.

Nottingham Advantage Award

Advice from Nottingham alumni

With our Career 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.

Career Mentoring

Enhance your digital skills

Digital skills are essential in many career fields including advertising, publishing, marketing and general commerce. They range from social media to coding and will definitely enhance your employability.

Think about volunteering for the Digital Arts Hub or get involved in the Digital Marketing Academy.

More about digital skills

Students' Union

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' Union

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.

Students in Classrooms

Exchanges 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.

Exchange programmes

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.

It's never too late

It is never too late to develop your skills and experience.  If you are no longer at Nottingham, you can access work and volunteering opportunities at home. Depending on your location and what you want to do, your strategy may vary so come and speak to us or arrange a telephone appointment.

Psychometric tests

Many graduate recruiters use psychometric tests during the recruitment and selection process.They are common across all sectors and career fields. Practise will really help your performance.

Use our example tests


Explore more...

Job profiles, vacancies and case studies

Association for Art History

Creative & Cultural Skills

List of public galleries and museums

National Museums Directors’ Council

  • Museums & Galleries Yearbook is available in Hallward Library

Internships and volunteering in galleries

  • You will need to check out the websites of individual gallery websites. However the following two galleries do offer internships.


Victoria and Albert Museum

Conservation opportunities

The Institute of Conservation - internships



Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679