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College of Creative Arts and Media: School of Art and Design

Art History and Museum Professions, BA

In our BA in Art History and Museum Professions Program, you'll gain a global perspective on art and architecture while exploring various museum professions and collection care management. You'll have the unique opportunity to gain practical experience at the Art Museum of WVU and will have access to four other campus museums.

Through interdisciplinary studies in art history, fine art, material sciences, preservation, anthropology, social history and more, you'll explore the physical nature of art and the art-making process. This comprehensive approach provides a framework for understanding the histories of artifacts while allowing you to pursue your unique areas of interest.

You’ll also have the option to take a series of technical art history courses, allowing you to examine artifacts, research artists' materials and techniques and develop skills essential for careers in art conservation, collections care, art historical research and curatorial practices.

Our curriculum includes a Global Positioning Studies (GPS) place-based course, such as Disegno Italia, San Gemini Preservation Studies in Italy, or 19th Century Painting and Photography in France, providing immersive learning experiences in diverse cultural settings.

Additionally, you can opt for a 3+3 accelerated program to earn your BA and JD in Law in just six years.

A portfolio review is not required for admission to Art History and Museum Professions.

Your Degree Plan


Student examine and photograph an image at Musee d'Orsay.

Be part of WVU’s supportive art history community and benefit from hands-on learning as part of this close-knit program with the facilities and resources of a major research university.

Take advantage of special options related to this major:

  • 3+3 Program

    This major is eligible for the 3+3 Law Degree Program that allows qualified students to earn a bachelor’s degree and law degree in six years instead of seven years.

  • Honors

    Expand your curiosity — and enhance your curriculum — through the WVU Honors College. Two programs are offered: Honors Foundations for first- and second-year students and Honors EXCEL for third- and fourth-year students.

    Explore Honors

The WVU Difference

What sets this program apart from its competitors?

  • Experiential learning and curatorial exploration available through Art Museum of WVU, Mesaros Galleries, Visiting Artist Lecture Series, travel to regional museums and archives and interaction with art historians, museum personnel and art conservation practitioners.
  • Technical Art History courses available to learn how scientific technologies, including microscopy, ultraviolet, infrared reflectography, X-ray, SEM and more help to understand objects and inform their best care.
  • WVU is a Research University (R1) in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, at the forefront of research and innovation.
  • 3+3 program provides a carefully articulated plan of study for earning both a BA in Art History and Museum Professions and a JD in Law in six years.
  • Global Positioning Studies (GPS) courses focus on how place is indelibly imprinted in meaning in locations in the state and region, across the country and around the world.
  • Faculty are dedicated to high-impact mentoring and have won awards for their mentoring, teaching and advising.
  • Art history majors can apply for competitive funding from the Margaret Tavenner Rajam Art History Endowment to support travel to conduct and present their research.

Over 92% of WVU freshmen receive grants or scholarships (2022-2023).

Learn more

Learn by Doing

Learning happens outside the classroom. Get involved.

Global Positioning Studies
Through the School of Art and Design’s Global Positioning Studies initiative, you can choose to earn credits from a number of education abroad and field study courses. Faculty-led courses are offered abroad in the Disegno Italia and San Gemini Preservation Studies programs in Italy and a 19th Century Landscape Painting and Photography course in France.

Field study courses offer the opportunity to study the works of Frank Lloyd Wright and Andy Warhol in person. Students experience visits each semester to leading museums and art conservation facilities that include the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Gallery and Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art.

Research Opportunities
You'll have opportunities to conduct undergraduate research and gain professional experience through the Research Apprentice Program (RAP), Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), professional field experiences and internships, and present research at the annual WVU Undergraduate Research Symposium, National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium, SECAC and other venues specific to your research interests.

Our undergraduates have also had their research published in "Mountaineer Undergraduate Research Review," "The Macksey Journal," "Clio: WVU Art History Research Journal," been a lead author of catalog entries for the Society of Architectural Historian’s online "Archipedia," and written catalog entries and contributed research to files of the Art Museum of WVU.

Among their many accolades, our students have been endorsed for the Rhodes Scholarship; been Benjamin A. Gilman International, McNair, and Hazel Ruby McQuain Scholars; Phi Beta Kappa inductees; WVU Foundation Outstanding Seniors; and Robert F. Munn Library Scholars and Eberly Scholars.

Student Organizations
We have an active student-run Art History Club formed to bring together a community open to any student interested in art and its history. They have visited museums together, attended panel discussions and senior capstone presentations as a group, set up study nights and writing evenings, watched art-themed movies, had art-making workshops, are beginning a mentoring program and are publishing a student-run peer-review research journal, "Clio."

Professional Organizations
Current Art History and Museum Professions majors can get a head start on their professional career by joining one of the following organizations:

Their student membership is paid for by the Margaret Tavenner Rajam Art History Endowment.

Our Creative Consultant program matches Art History and Museum Professions students with alumni mentors. Students have worked with Jacob Lewis of Pace Prints in New York City and MA Art History alumni Amy Swan, a professional at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on the Mall in Washington, D.C., and Nicole Peters, an art and objects conservator at the National Park Service in Harpers Ferry.

Faculty work with students to secure pre-program internships in art conservation and museum-based positions for students planning to earn a graduate degree in art conservation, technical art history, historic preservation, public history, art business studies, museum studies or art history.

Our students have held internships at a variety of national and international institutions including the:

  • The Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
  • National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Phillips Collection, both in Washington, D.C.
  • Basilica Cathedral of Lima Museum of Religious Art in Peru

And many state and private institutions, such as:

  • Art Museum of WVU
  • Cincinnati Art Museum, OH
  • Jacob Lewis Galleries, NYC
  • Jewish Museum of Maryland
  • Image Permanence Institute, Rochester, NY
  • Museums of Old York, ME
  • Pittsburgh; Art Museum of WVU
  • Pharmacy Museum of WVU
  • The Mattress Factory and Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
  • WV Governor’s Intern

Attending college will prepare you for many things. The Art History and Museum Professions major will give you the following skills:

  • Critical thinking
  • Creative problem-solving and decision-making
  • Strong writing and verbal communication proficiencies
  • Adapting content and expressing it clearly for different audiences
  • Analyzing visual media and material objects
  • Listening and reading closely and asking insightful questions
  • Formulating strong evidence-based arguments
  • Applying critical judgment to form well-reasoned interpretations
  • Developing broad cultural, historic and aesthetic knowledge
  • Conducting comparative analyses
  • Analyzing and evaluating information
  • Rigorous research of primary and secondary sources
  • Organization and time management
  • Interpersonal skills and collaboration

Live, study and pursue outside-the-classroom learning in a residence hall community that shares your interests:

Outside of the Evansdale Crossing building.

What you learn outside of the classroom is just as important as what you learn during class. We’ll help you follow your curiosity.

Careers and Outcomes

How does this degree prepare students for a career?

Art, Drama and Music Teachers, Postsecondary

Teach courses in drama, music, and the arts including fine and applied art, such as painting and sculpture, or design and crafts. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $80,360

Possible job titles include: Art Professor, Music Professor, Professor, Theatre Professor.

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Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers and Athletes

Represent and promote artists, performers, and athletes in dealings with current or prospective employers. May handle contract negotiation and other business matters for clients.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $84,900

Possible job titles include: Agent, Booking Agent, Talent Agent, Theatrical Agent.

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Secondary School Teachers

Teach students in one or more subjects, such as English, mathematics or social studies, at the secondary level in public or private schools. May be designated according to subject matter specialty.

Median Salary: $62,360

Possible job titles include: English Teacher, Math Teacher (Mathematics Teacher), Social Studies Teacher, Teacher.

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Appraise, edit, and direct safekeeping of permanent records and historically valuable documents. Participate in research activities based on archival materials.

Has a Bright Outlook , May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $59,910

Possible job titles include: Archives Director, Archivist, Manuscripts Curator, Registrar.

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Administer collections, such as artwork, collectibles, historic items or scientific specimens of museums or other institutions. May conduct instructional, research or public service activities of institution.

Has a Bright Outlook , May require a Graduate Degree

Median Salary: $61,750

Possible job titles include: Associate Curator, Collections Curator, Curator, Museum Curator.

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Museum Technicians and Conservators

Restore, maintain, or prepare objects in museum collections for storage, research, or exhibit. May work with specimens such as fossils, skeletal parts, or botanicals; or artifacts, textiles, or art. May identify and record objects or install and arrange them in exhibits. Includes book or document conservators.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $47,270

Possible job titles include: Conservation Technician, Conservator, Objects Conservator, Paintings Conservator.

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Tour Guides and Escorts

Escort individuals or groups on sightseeing tours or through places of interest, such as industrial establishments, public buildings, and art galleries.

Has a Bright Outlook

Median Salary: $34,440

Possible job titles include: Historical Interpreter, Museum Guide, Tour Guide, Docent.

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Careers in Cultural Institutions

BA Art History and Museum Professions graduates re well-equipped for a multi-faceted career of collaboration with conservators, conservation scientists, curators and museum professionals. They enhance the world’s ability to care for its art and material culture. Our grads have been hired for careers in cultural institutions such as:

  • American Victory Ship & Museum, FL (Director of Guest Experience and Public Outreach)
  • Andy Warhol Museum, PA (Art Preparator and Art Currier)
  • Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution, D.C. (Archivist for Digital Initiatives)
  • Crozier Fine Arts, D.C. (Inventory Specialist and Art Handler)
  • The Greenbrier for Carleton Varney, Dorothy Draper, and Co., WV (Manager, Curator's Office)
  • George Washington's Mount Vernon, VA (History Interpreter)
  • Helena Anrather Gallery, NYC (Director)
  • Love Hope Center for the Arts, Fayetteville, WV (Executive Director)
  • Morven Park, VA (Director of Education)
  • Paul Kasmin Gallery, NYC (Gallerist)
  • Pennsylvania State University (Conservation Staff Assistant)
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA (Project Manager of Exhibitions)
  • Princeton University Art Museum, NJ (Exhibitions Project Manager)
  • Smithsonian Renwick Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery, DC (Sales Lead Manager)
  • Space Telescope Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University, MD (Digital Archivist)
  • Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia (Creative Development Associate)
  • The Phillips Collection, D.C. (Membership Associate)
  • Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society, Canada (Archives Assistant)
  • Wiebold Studio, OH (art conservation)

Other Career Options

Our graduates also use their humanities training to good effect in other endeavors and are gainfully employed in law, higher education, secondary education, special education, fundraising, marketing and healthcare.

A selection of positions include:

  • AmeriCorps (WVU Jackson’s Mill, Clio Foundation, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area, Beverly Heritage Center in Elkins, WV)
  • Attorney at Fish and Richardson Attorneys at Law
  • Graduate Advisor at American University
  • Director, Research Experiences at American Public University
  • IMINT Course Developer International Intelligence Training Center at the United States Air Force
  • Information Technology Specialist at the Dept. of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons - FCI Cumberland
  • Senior Production Artist and Photo Retoucher
  • Development Coordinator and Grant Writer at Special Love
  • Client Services Representative at ViaGen
  • Regional Building Information Modeling (BIM) Manager at CannonDesign

Graduate School Options

The Art History and Museum Professions curriculum meets the most stringent qualifications necessary to apply to graduate school. Graduates will excel in high-demand careers and be prepared for elite graduate programs in art and object conservation, ethnographic and archaeological materials conservation, historic preservation, technical art history, art history, museum studies, library and archival sciences, art appraisal, art law and authentication.

Some of our grads have continued their studies at:

  • American Public University
  • American University
  • Boston College
  • Case Western Reserve
  • Central Michigan University
  • Emory University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Loyola University-Chicago
  • Simmons College
  • Sotheby's
  • Syracuse University
  • Temple University
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • University of Florida, Gainesville
  • University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
  • University of Notre Dame, MD
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Western Ontario

Places and Spaces

Learn about all of the places and spaces you'll learn in.

Facilities Photo - Art Museum of WVU

Art Museum of WVU

The Art Museum of WVU has paintings, prints, works on paper, sculpture and ceramics with messages for you from across the globe and over the centuries.

Explore the Art Museum of WVU
Program Facility - Creative Arts Center

Canady Creative Arts Center

The Loulie, Valerie and William Canady Creative Arts center boasts 4 exhibition spaces, 5 performance spaces, 33 individual practice rooms and 50 classrooms and studios with plenty of space to create. The loading dock at the rear of the building is a wonderful open-air space with stunning acoustics.

Explore the Canady Creative Arts Center
Facilities Thumbnail - West Virginia and Regional History Center

West Virginia and Regional History Center

Located in the Downtown Campus Library, the West Virginia and Regional History Center collects, preserves and provides public access to materials that show the history and culture of West Virginia and the central Appalachian region.

Explore the West Virginia and Regional History Center
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Admission Requirements

To be admitted to WVU's Art History and Museum Professions major, first-time freshmen must meet WVU's first-time freshman admission requirements for the 2024-25 academic year. Interested in transferring? Review the transfer admission requirements.

Tuition and Aid

How much does Art History and Museum Professions at WVU cost? And how can you save?

Tuition and Fees

Estimated rates are available on our tuition website. Anyone who is not a current West Virginia resident, including international students, will be charged non-resident rates.

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Ways to Save

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Financial Aid

The most important step toward funding your future with financial aid for the Art History and Museum Professions major is submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

How to Complete the FAFSA

Transfer Articulation Agreements

To simplify the transfer process, we have formal agreements with certain institutions. These agreements outline the courses you should take to prepare for transferring to WVU.

Review the full list of transfer articulation agreements to see if your institution is listed.

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