Art History Resources
Art history majors are not required to complete a thesis but are encouraged to do so. Students who want to pursue graduate study in art history or a related field should complete a thesis paper or project in preparation. The thesis benefits students who plan to go directly into the workforce, as well: studies show that employers value thesis completion as a demonstration of desirable skills.*
Art history students may write a thesis paper or complete a thesis project, such as an art exhibition or a website. Whether a paper or a project, the thesis will always be based on rigorous research. Students may focus their thesis on any topic related to art or visual culture and may choose which art history faculty member supervises their thesis.
Usually, the thesis is completed in one semester while the student is enrolled in ARTH 4322: Special Problems. This course is an independent study supervised by the tenured or tenure-track faculty member. Students ask the professor of their choice to supervise the thesis.
Since a student will put a lot of work into their thesis, we encourage them to amplify that work by applying for a grant to do primary research, presenting their thesis research at a conference, and/or publishing part of their thesis. Texas State University has multiple resources to support undergraduate research. Students should discuss with their advisor how to leverage these resources to share their work. Like the thesis, grants, presentations, and publications look great on a CV/resumé!
For more information on the art history thesis, please contact the art history area coordinator.
*In a survey of 400 U.S. employers conducted on behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, when asked “How much more likely your company is to consider hiring recent college graduates who have completed a senior thesis/project demonstrating knowledge, research, problem-solving, and communication skills,” 39% responded “Much more likely to consider” while 87% responded “More likely to consider.”
An internship serves as a bridge from the academic world into the professional world. Most often, students who complete an internship gain confidence that they’ll be able to succeed in their chosen profession. Additionally, Art History students who complete a 90-hour internship at a museum, gallery, or other art-related organization while enrolled in ARTH 4325 can receive course credit. This 3-credit-hour course counts as an upper-division art history elective. A student may take the internship twice (at two different places) and earn up to 6 credit hours.
To date, students have held in internships in such institutions and organizations as The Contemporary Austin, the McNay Art Museum, Artpace, Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum, and the Texas State Galleries, among others.
For information on how to arrange an art history internship, please contact the art history area coordinator. Be aware that students may not enroll in ARTH 4325 until they have completed certain paperwork and received the area coordinator’s approval.
To go to graduate school, or not to go to graduate school?
Texas State University Art History Alumni have answered in the affirmative, and have been accepted into a range of graduate programs in Art History and related fields. Many of our students are interested in a career in museums or in higher education. Most museum archivist, curator, and conservator positions require at least a master’s degree related to the position’s field. Most commonly, postsecondary (university) teachers must have a PhD. However, a master's degree may be enough for some postsecondary teachers at community colleges. A master’s degree can also help students prepare for a career in art commerce (that is, in galleries).
In pursuit of careers in museums, galleries, and higher education, our alumni have entered graduate programs at universities across the United States, including at:
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of Illinois at Chicago
University of North Texas
University of Oklahoma
University of Southern California
Some students have even studied in art history and related master’s programs abroad, including at:
Richmond, The American International University in London
University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
University of Glasgow
University of York
Here's a guide to get you started on your path towards applying to graduate school: Graduate School in Art History Handout (PDF)
There are various job opportunities for those who earn a BA in Art History. Many of our alumni have secured art-history-related jobs immediately after graduation, while other have chosen to earn a graduate degree or to pursue careers in other fields such as K-12 education and library and information sciences.
Art-history-related positions that our alumni with a BA in art history have found include:
Art Education Intern, Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas*
Art Preparator, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Art Preparator, The San Antonio Museum of Art
Artist Assistant, Joseph Grigely, Chicago
Communication and Content Strategist, artmuse.com
Contract Writer, Ivester Contemporary Gallery, Austin
Curatorial Assistant, Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston
Curatorial Intern, Luce Foundation Center & Graphic Arts, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C.*
Curatorial Intern, Performance Programs, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago*
Executive Assistant, Texas Cultural Trust, Austin
Gallery Assistant, Blue Star Contemporary Art, San Antonio
Gallery Assistant, The Commerce Gallery, Lockhart, Texas
Gallery Assistant, University of North Texas Art Galleries, Denton, Texas
Gallery Manager, Woodlands Art Gallery and Studios
Program Coordinator, Texas Biennial, Big Medium, Austin
Registrar's Office Intern, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Volunteer Service Coordinator, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Volunteer Coordinator, Texas Biennial, Big Medium, Austin
*These were paid internships.
Alumni who have gone on to earn a graduate degree have also secured the following positions:
Adjunct Assistant Professor in Contemporary Practices, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Administrative Assistant, New Mexico History Museum
Assistant Director, Guild Literary Complex, Chicago
Collections Move Registrar, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Professor of the Practice, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University
Registrar, Wichita Art Museum
Teaching Assistant, Department of Art and Art History, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
Teaching Assistant, Department of Art Education and Art History, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
Be aware that employers say they are more likely to consider hiring recent college graduates who have completed an applied learning or project-based learning experience. That means that art history majors should consider completing an internship as part of their art history degree at Texas State University, and that writing an art history thesis will also help you as you enter the job market.
You should feel free to talk to or email any art history professor, or the art history area coordinator, about job opportunities in art history and beyond.