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Art History


While completing a double major in art history and history at Purdue, Kyle Sweeney discovered that art history was the discipline by which he would learn the answers to life’s questions.

Majoring in Art History

Art Historians study the visual arts of both the distant and more recent past. They seek to understand the cultural values expressed in a work of art, and to show how the latter fits into a larger context or tradition to which individual artists belong. Students who major in Art History will cover all major periods in the western sphere from ancient to modern, as well as non-western topics such as Asian, Islamic, Latin American, and African art.

Upon completion of the program, Art History majors may choose to enter a field directly or indirectly-related to their major. Student experiences have included:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Manager
  • Graduate or professional school

Possible careers could include:

  • Museum administration, education, or development
  • Historic preservation and restoration
  • Gallery director/program coordinator
  • Teaching and research
  • Non-profit management

Average Starting Salary: $42, 041

All Purdue University College of Liberal Arts majors prepare students with the skills identified as contributing to professional success: communicating and listening well, an understanding and appreciation of diverse points of view, creative thinking and problem solving, a collaborative mindset, the ability to synthesize complex ideas and communicate them clearly, and a Boilermaker work ethic.

Students majoring in Art History are provided with a broad context and historical background for the making and study of art. The major must be accompanied by a minor, which can be in any number of fields. Within the field of Art History, students develop skills that are applicable to many different careers. These skills may include, but are not limited to:

  • Managing accounts and projects, including working with budgets and scheduling requirements.
  • Working within budgets and scheduling requirements
  • Conferring with art, copywriting, or production department heads to discuss client requirements.
  • Reviewing and approving art materials, copy materials, and proofs of prints.
  • Planning and organizing the acquisition, storage, and exhibition of collections.
  • Writing and reviewing journal articles, institutional reports, and publicity materials.

Art History majors may choose to enter into the workforce using the skills they have acquired at Purdue or to attend graduate school upon completion of their degree. Past graduates have gone on to:


  • Ag Printers
  • Express Clothing Store
  • Women's Studio Workshop
  • Lafayette School Corporation

Graduate School

  • St. Mary's College

CLA Career Center