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Internships and Careers

A degree in art history and archaeology builds skills that last a lifetime and prepare students for a wide variety of internships, graduate programs and careers.

Students are immersed in the study of art objects like painting, sculpture and architecture in a cultural, historical and archaeological context. In the process, students develop skills in creative and critical thinking, visual and information literacy and oral and written communication, as well as analytical strategies—qualities crucial for any internship or career.

The department’s undergraduate career advisor helps students to learn about, and take advantage of, those opportunities. The career advisor regularly organizes workshop and career panels; meets with students to develop application materials (letters of interest, CVs, etc.); assists with placement and supervision of internships for course credit; and advises students about graduate school or possible career paths after graduation. Students can arrange for individual appointments by contacting

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Career Planning Tips for Art History Majors

Refine Your Professional Interests

It’s never too early to begin thinking about your post-graduation plans! Below you will find different resources that are meant to increase your career-readiness and ensure post-graduation success.

Refine Your Professional Interests—What are your passions, skills, and values?

  • Use FOCUS2 to self-evaluate your career values and interests. Using this tool will result in a matching list of career titles.
  • Request an appointment with the University’s Counseling Center to take a career assessment.
  • Join the UMD Undergraduate Art History Association to further explore your professional interests with like-minded individuals. Members do not have to be a major in the Department; all students are encouraged to join. Regular, weekly meetings take place every other Thursday in the Collaboratory @ 4pm (check the front page of this website).

    Explore your Career Options

    Explore your Career Options—Learn about career opportunities that match your intellectual interests and professional goals, and start thinking about co-curricular opportunities!

    • Use Terrapins Connect to connect with alumni and ask questions about their field of work/career paths. 
    • Review the broad scope of careers fed and nurtured by a degree in art history in the “Career Alternatives for Art Historians,” a guide compiled and maintained by Professor Charles Rosenberg of Notre Dame University. 
    • Review required skills for specific positions using the Occupational Outlook Handbook
    • Learn about a range of careers by reading online guides available through Vault.
    • Participate in Career & Internship Fairs to learn about and gather information on potential careers and employers. 
    • Review opportunities listed on the searchable database Careers4Terps, track position titles and skill requirements that mirror your professional goals. Create a “Saved Search” in Careers4Terps to receive customized email alerts to events and positions related to your interests.
    • Participate in the Intern for a Day program, which allows you to shadow a position of interest.
    • Make use of the Career Shuttle program to visit local organizations to hear about the opportunities they offer, this is a great opportunity to get a taste of office culture.

    Gain Experience

    Gain Experience—Apply for internships, develop important skills and build your professional network.

    • Choose a co-curricular opportunity that allows you to experience a career field of interest: service learning, international experiences, research, on-campus leadership, etc. 
    • Browse through the internship listings on our guide to Local Museum Internship Guide, and apply for positions. Consider registering for ARTH386 to receive academic credit for your internship experience.
    • Consult the Maryland Student Researchers Program database for opportunities to work with ARHU faculty.
    • Consider writing an honors thesis during your senior year. Planning typically begins in the spring semester of the junior year, as students are matched with a faculty advisor. 
    • Sharpen your interviewing skills and prepare for internship interviews. 
    • Develop an industry-specific resume for your career areas of interest and have it reviewed by the University Career Center.
    • I’m Create a skill-based resume. Request a resume review appointment with the University Career Center for help

    Transition to the Job Market

    Transition to the Job Market—Begin your post-graduation plans now!

    Job Search

    • Network with employers at eventsCareer Shuttles, and fairs, and stay in touch with your network of friends. 
    • Analyze your skills and the skills required by your field of interest to identify any gaps
    • Schedule a career consultation appointment with the University Career Center to map out a job search action plan. 
    • Join the UMD alumni group to connect with alumni and ask about hiring practices
    • Continue to research organizations of interest and connect with them on LinkedIn or other social media outlets, prior to a position being posted.
    • Practice the art of interviewing by participating in a mock interview with an employer or use Interview Stream to find sample interview questions for your field of interest.

    Graduate School

    Graduate School

    • Consider if graduate school in art history (or such related fields as conservation and museum studies) is your path. Email the undergraduate academic advisor (Grace Yasumura) and/or the Director of Undergraduate Studies (Abigail McEwen) to schedule an appointment. NB: Although we support students applying to graduate school in other fields (e.g., law), the guidelines below mostly apply to students wishing to pursue an M.A. or Ph.D. in art history.
    • Ph.D. programs in the humanities have been the focus of significant and recent media attention that has highlighted the difficult job market and the opportunity costs of enrollment. The Chronicle of Higher Education has published regularly on this topic; see, for example, two often-cited articles by William Pannapacker: “So You Want to Go to Grad School?” and “Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don’t Go.
    • For those determined to apply, review the graduate school application timeline and plan ahead! Many programs have language requirements (typically French and/or German for Western art history), and the strongest candidates will have studied at least one language during college. Most programs require the GRE.
    • Research programs of interest, review their application process, and visit the campus (if possible). The College Art Association, the main professional association in the field, maintains online Directories of Graduate Programs in the Arts, which can be searched and downloaded at no cost. The National Research Council published rankings of doctoral programs in 2010. The GradCafe host an online forum for prospective students and applicants.
    • Request a review of your personal statement by the Undergraduate Writing and Research Advisor.
    • NB: Many students take time between their undergraduate and graduate degrees to pursue work opportunities and to gain experience in the field. Such pursuits are encouraged and often highly valued by graduate admissions committees. We welcome inquiries from alumni!

    Scholarships and Fellowships

    Scholarships and Fellowships

    • The Beinecke Scholarship: The Beinecke Scholarship Program seeks highly motivated and intellectually accomplished students who wish to pursue graduate studies in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Each scholar receives $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school.
    • The Gilman International Scholarship Program: The Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies and credit-bearing internships abroad. Such international experience is intended to better prepare U.S. students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world. The scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving federal Pell Grants.
    • The Fulbright: The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the nation's largest study abroad fellowship program, and is designed to give recent B.S./B.A. graduates opportunities for international experience, personal enrichment and an open exchange of ideas with citizens of other nations. The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board looks favorably on qualified graduating seniors, who are still in the process of developing specific career plans. 
    • Maryland Summer Scholars Program: The program provides scholarships of $3,000 to approximately 30 outstanding undergraduates to conduct research over the summer. Maryland Summer Scholars may conduct their summer research on the College Park campus or elsewhere in the U.S. or abroad as required by the nature of the project. 
    • University of Maryland Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program: The program is designed to prepare students who are primarily from low-income, first generation and traditionally underrepresented groups to pursue doctoral studies.
    • The Leadership Alliance: The Summer Research program offers a fully paid summer internship for rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a committed interest in graduate study toward a Ph.D. or MD-PhD. Applications are encouraged from individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups and disadvantaged backgrounds.
    • Visit UMD’s National Scholarships Office for more information about different fellowship and scholarship opportunities.

    Requesting Letters of Recommendation

    Guidelines for Requesting Letters of Recommendation for Undergraduates

    The members of the faculty are happy to write letters of recommendation for you. Because we want to do this as positively and as efficiently as possible, we have written the following guidelines for you.

    Letters are most effective when written by faculty members who know you well and can appraise your work, skills, and personality with some degree of specificity. Letters from faculty advisors are critical. In a highly competitive market, brief general letters usually do not suffice. In the case of graduate school applications, programs will expect to see a letter from the faculty member who teaches in the field for which you are applying to study. In the case of job placement, you may wish to ask faculty members whose field or employment history is appropriate to the position that you are seeking. Whenever possible, you should request letters of recommendation at least two to four weeks before the deadline (if you are requesting multiple letters to multiple institutions, you need to give them at least a month). Sometimes this is not possible; in these instances, please understand that you may be asked to seek another recommender. Please remember that the results are best when professors write for students whose work they know well. Requests with tighter turn-around times are more easily accommodated when the professor has written for you in the past and thus has a letter on file.

    Once a faculty member has agreed to write for you, you should provide your recommender with the same materials that you would provide the institution you are applying to, such as:

    An updated resume.

    A description of the project for which you wish to receive funding or, in the case of graduate school applications, your personal statement.

    A transcript.

    A sample of your written work (paper or exam).

    A list of addresses and deadlines.

    Forms that are completed in an accurate manner (including signing and checking the box regarding confidentiality).

    In most cases, faculty members will either upload their letter online or send letters directly to the institution or funding agency to which you're applying (hence the need for accurate addresses and deadlines). In the cases of letters that are sent out by post, please supply one stamp for every letter that must be sent out. All letters will be mailed in envelopes marked with the return address of the department. Even in cases where a granting institution or funding source requests that letters come in a single packet from you, some faculty members prefer to send materials directly to the program/job, etc. for which you're applying. Please be aware that a decision to proceed in this fashion is entirely within the rights of the recommender and that for many institutions, in fact, this is a widely accepted condition of confidentiality. In those cases where you will in fact assemble the entire packet yourself, please provide the faculty member with a stamped, self-addressed envelope for every recommendation letter that will be sent back to you. Do not use an envelope with the return address of your place of work. The likely scenario here is for the professor to write the letter on department letterhead, put it in a department envelope, sign across the seal to demonstrate confidentiality, and then send the whole back to you in the envelope you've provided.