Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

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 in-depth knowledge 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 history of art 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 to deadlines
  • powers of imagination to understand and empathise with the world of others

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 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.

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 and charities.

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


How can I develop my skills and gain experience during my degree?

Developing skills outside your degree course will enhance your CV and allow you to provide evidence of these in applications and at interviews. Some examples are listed below.

Work experience

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 Advantage Award

The Nottingham Advantage Award offers interesting extracurricular modules to develop your employability. With over more than 300 modules across our three campus in the UK, China and Malaysia.

Nottingham Advantage Award

Advice from Nottingham alumni

With our eMentoring programme, you can receive invaluable support via email 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.


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.

More about digital industries

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

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 of Art Historians (AAH)

  • The book published by AAH, Careers in Art History,  is available from their website, Hallward Library and the Department of History of Art

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

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telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
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