Move over, Mona Lisa! Let Grad School Hub be your modern muse with our 5 Best Online Master's Degrees in Art and Art History for 2019.

In general, Art and Art History programs build students' understanding of the cultural context and evolution of visual art. Students may then apply this understanding to the creation of a personal artistic portfolio, or carry it into academic art careers. 

Each program on this list relates to advanced artistic theory or practice. Some of the programs focus on career preparation in fields such as art criticism and education, while others take more abstract or all-encompassing approaches to art and art history.

A grasp on the cultural and historical implications of artworks lends itself to careers including archivist, curator, and museum employee. These careers may involve appraising and preserving works, overseeing gallery collections, or preparing and restoring artistic artifacts.

Art historians typically work in museums, historical sites, governmental agencies, universities, and galleries. Archivists, curators, and museum workers earn a median annual salary of $47,360 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The field is experiencing a 13 percent growth rate.


The following is a list of the 5 Best Online Masters in Art & Art History. Each program is fully accredited and offered either fully or partially online. Grad School Hub evaluated national art and history graduate programs based on factors such as affordability, graduate outcomes, and student satisfaction. Additional information on the ranking process can be found on GSH's Methodology page.

#5 – Azusa Pacific University

Master of Art in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism

Azusa, CA


Azusa Pacific University opened in 1899 as the Training School for Christian Workers in Whittier, CA. Today, it is a private evangelical university in the San Gabriel Valley. In 2016, Diverse Issues in Higher Education recognized the university as one of the nation's top schools awarding degrees to minority students.

APU's graduate art history degree is ideal for students interested in art criticism and modernism particularly. Students in the program learn to interpret visual art from an aesthetic and academic perspective. Course requirements include The Modern Object, Reading and Translating French, and Visual Culture. The curriculum culminates in a written thesis. Students can complete the program full- or part-time.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $28,506

#4 – Lindenwood University

Master of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture

Saint Charles, MO


After opening its doors in 1827, Lindenwood University is now the second-oldest higher education institution west of the Mississippi River. Today, it is a private Presbyterian liberal arts university. Lindenwood's Art History and Visual Culture program can be completed either fully or partially online. The curriculum is comprised of research courses, art history electives, and two "milestones." For each milestone, students can choose to complete a thesis or project. Milestones completed at the end of each academic year. The program typically takes two years to complete, but can alternatively be completed in one year as an accelerated program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,183

#3 – University of Nebraska at Kearney

Master of Arts in Education in Art Education with Museum Education

Kearney, NE


The University of Nebraska at Kearney is a branch campus of the University of Nebraska System. It is ranked #10 among the Top Public Schools and #47 for Best Value Schools by U.S. News & World ReportUNK's graduate art program is well-suited to those looking for careers in museum education. Course offerings include Art for Students with Diverse Needs, Intercultural Aesthetics & Pedagogical Practice, and Women in Art. Typical assignments include art readings and discussions, gallery activities, group discussions, image interpretation, and studio projects. Students must also complete a Research Methods course and a research paper.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,520

#2 – Fort Hays State University

Master of Liberal Studies in Art History 

Hays, KS


Fort Hays State University is a public institution named for its original location on the grounds of a frontier military outpost called Fort Hays. Today, the university is governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. FHSU's Art History concentrated program prepares students for careers as art critics, art history teachers, gallery managers, and museum curators. Core courses include Information Literacy, Origins and Implications of the Knowledge Society, and Ways of Knowing in Comparative Practice. Concentrated courses include seminars in different art periods, such as Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance/Baroque. The online program culminates in a Graduate Readings in Art History course.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,993

#1 – Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Master of Arts in Art: The Study of Fine and Graphic Arts

Natchitoches, LA


The Northwestern State University of Louisiana takes the title of Grad School Hub's #1 Online Master in Art and Art History. NSU's Art program fuses art media manipulation and portfolio production with an academic art historical framework. Areas of emphasis are offered in ceramics, drawing, fiber arts, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture.

Program course offerings include Advanced Problems in Commercial Art, Experimental Studio, and Research in Art. All students must complete an on-campus semester or two three-week summer sessions on campus, as well as the on-campus Graduate Thesis Exhibition. All students must also pass a comprehensive oral exam to complete their degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,567