Students studying together with their laptops and notebooks

Art History

Art History is the academic study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts. 

Context, form and social significance: students of Art History will experience the breadth of the field by exploring the history and diversity of the discipline through research-based learning and practice. Upon completion, graduates will have an international calling card to not only enlighten the world on Art History but to expand on the ever increasing significance of visual culture in today’s rapidly evolving digital society

Get experience at UBC

Building your career takes more than academics. Complement your studies with relevant experiences. Whether you choose one of the experiences below that are particularly suited for Art History students, or one of the many other great opportunities available, you’ll learn new things, make new friends, network, and set yourself apart. It all counts.

UBC Undergraduate Journal of Art (UJAH)

The journal is a student led initiative to provide a publishing platform for undergraduate art historical research at UBC. Since it began in 2009, a small and committed group of students have dedicated themselves to building the journal into a tradition of the Department of Art History, Visual Art, and Theory

The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery

Volunteer and work learn opportunities are offered at this stand-alone art gallery on campus. The Belkin Art Gallery is a public facility contributing to the cultural life of the campus, the city, the province and beyond. Throughout the year the Gallery hosts a variety of informative and provocative exhibitions which confirm the creative and eclectic aspects of contemporary art. The gallery attempts to expose the broadest possible spectrum of visual concerns to both the University community and the public at large.

Go Global

What better way to study another culture’s art than through an exchange? Go Global programs offers students the opportunity to study at one of 150 partner universities around the world.

Arts Co-op Program

Discover what many students in your major already know: gaining paid, full-time, relevant experience through Arts Co-op will help you explore career options in arts organizations (like museums and galleries), non-profit, government, and the private sector employers across Canada and abroad. Graduate with at least 3, 4-month work terms, average cumulative earnings of $25,000, career skills and experience, and a network of professional contacts that will give you a competitive edge after graduation.

Arts Internship Program

Build a career while you are studying through part-time, unpaid internships designed with Art History students in mind.. Exciting internships are being created at local galleries, museums and art organizations. Find your passion, gain relevant experience and unleash your creativity in a part-time internship this year. The Alliance for Arts and Culture, Vancouver Biennale, Richmond Museum, Beaumont Studios, and Papergirl Vancouver are just some of the places you could gain experience.

Community experience

Through experiential learning, you can participate in projects driven by community priorities. Get involved in course-related volunteer projects, or create your own learning arrangements. Make a positive difference in your community, and challenge yourself in new learning environments to better understand what work you would like to pursue in the future.

Art History Students Association

The Art History Students’ Association is the home base for all art history students/art lovers at the UBC. We are committed to supporting our student body academically and socially through various events and programming. Our members organize and execute the Annual Art History Undergraduate Symposium, Art Films 101 film series and various other events.

Student Directed Seminars

Student Directed Seminars allow senior undergraduate students to either participate in or initiate and coordinate small, collaborative, group learning experiences. In previous years, students in Art History have facilitated seminars such as ARTH 397D “Creating a National Image: Iconography and Identity in Canada” and ARTH 397A “The Art and Architecture in Iran.”

Using your degree

Graduates will be equipped to provide sophisticated visual analysis and observations to wider political, social and cultural contexts of art, as well as analyzing a visual object from a variety of perspectives. In addition, students will develop skills that are valuable to employers such as strong research, analytical and communication skills and the ability to work in a team through group work involving people from diverse professional, academic and cultural backgrounds.

Career possibilities

Gallery Exhibition Manager

This position requires a highly educated, well organized and detailed oriented team member. The Exhibition Manager helps curators and staff members by using their knowledge to help with the solicitation, coordination, administration, budgeting, logistical arrangements, tracking and reporting requirements relating to the Gallery. Duties may also consist of managing communication with visitors and other outside parties, help setup and breakdown exhibits and coordinate on and off-site events in private galleries or large, public facilities.

Art Director

A key component of an Art Director’s task is to supervise and unify the vision of an art piece or scene. A number of artists may create or develop parts of a piece of work, but the art director job is to be in charge of the overall visual appearance and how it communicates visually, stimulates moods, contrasts features, and psychologically appeals to a target audience. The art director makes decisions about visual elements used, what artistic style to use, and when to use motion. 

Other Career Possibilities:

Administrator for Gallery / Museum
Advertising Designer
Archives Assistant
Art Critic
Arts Administrator
Cultural Festival Organizer
Development Coordinator / Fundraiser
Estate Appraiser
Exhibit Designer
Gallery Director
Gallery Programs Coordinator
Gallery/Museum Technician
Heritage Policy
Media Planner
Public Affairs Coordinator
Registrar/Exhibits Coordinator
Research/Production specialist
Restoration Specialist
Story Writer
University Professor
Visual Media Manager
Visual Merchandiser

Academic possibilities

This degree prepares students for further study in a variety of fields such as:

Archival Studies
Art History
Curatorial Studies

Alumni profiles