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Art History and Visual Studies

In this program you’ll study the visual traditions of world cultures. You’ll learn about the history of artistic materials and techniques. Some topics you’ll cover include:

  • museum studies
  • Indigenous art practices
  • activist art
  • horror films

Potential careers

What can you do with an art history and visual studies degree? Here are a few jobs and fields that relate to the program:

  • curator
  • exhibit designer
  • interpretive assistant
  • gallery assistant
  • specialist librarian
  • communications coordinator
  • arts and culture coordinator
  • heritage planning
  • teacher or instructor
  • fund development             
  • archivist
  • marketing
  • event planning
  • community engagement or program coordinator
  • entrepreneur
  • web designer
  • gallery manager
  • art journalist
  • auction house researcher

Some of these roles may require post-graduate studies or training. 

Find a career that fits you

Experience & connections

Opportunities in the art history and visual studies program

  • With the Co-op Program you can alternate study with paid work. 

Opportunities outside your program

  • With a work study position you can develop skills during your study term.
  • Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community while you build skills.

Networks you can connect to

Here are a few professional associations related to art history and visual studies:

Hands-on learning opportunities

These courses in the art history and visual studies program offer extensive hands-on learning.


Co-op work terms
Alternate academic study with paid work terms to gain workplace experience


AHVS 200: Artists' Materials and Techniques
Work with museum objects and try out techniques in a range of artistic media

AHVS 202 - Confronting the Object
Create research projects through intensive study of museum objects

AHVS 310A - Making Art History
Research objects and applied arts in society

AHVS 311A - Visual Intelligence
Do design projects as solutions to historical art problems

AHVS 486A - Museum Principles and Practices I
Explore the purpose and function of museums, emphasizing community relations

AHVS 486B - Museum Principles and Practices II
Explore audience engagement in museums, emphasizing collaboration, diversity, cultural sensitivity and dialogue

AHVS 493 - Seminar on the Williams Collection
Gain experience in exhibition design while working with the Williams Collection

Field experience

AHVS 386 - Approaches to Collections and Museums
Visit and work in local museums

AHVS 489G - Cultural Landscapes
Explore the characteristics of cultural landscapes, from gardens to settlement sites

Field school

AHVS 488K - Exhibition Planning and Design
Examine the exhibition design and installation process in the field


AHVS 310C - Digital Tools for Art History and Visual Studies
Explore the digital tools that enrich your scholarship, research and job skills

Professional and technical skill development

AHVS 498 - Majors Seminar
AHVS 499 - Honours Seminar
Learn to make informed career choices with advanced research

These courses are not always offered as described.

What you'll learn

Every student at UVic builds skills all employers look for. At UVic Co-op & Career we call these  "competencies". This is what you’ll learn in the art history and visual studies program.

Art history awareness

  • use a systematic method of inquiry to interpret art
  • understand classical and European traditions before the modern period
  • understand Islamic and Asian traditions
  • understand the art of the Americas
  • understand modern art and architecture
  • assess art such as painting, sculpture, architecture and text
  • describe the techniques used by artists throughout history
  • understand the relationships among art-historical artifacts

Art history method

  • use the research methods, tools and resources that inform art history
  • use the theoretical and historiographical perspectives that inform art history
  • understand how the study of history includes an interpretation of the past based on current perspectives
  • re-evaluate understandings of the past as new information or interpretations arise

Historical, social and cultural perspective

  • identify the historical, social and cultural context in which art is made
  • understand how historical contexts impact the making and interpretation of art
  • understand how cultural and social contexts impact the making and interpretation of art
  • understand how social and cultural perspectives influence the interpretation of art
  • explore historical, social and cultural perspectives
  • understand nationalism, imperialism, militarism and politics in the context of the making of art
  • understand religion, ethnicity, race, gender and class in the context of the making of art

What's next?

To explore more visit the art history and visual studies site. For degree planning contact your adviser for help.