Occupational fields

Studying art history is a pathway towards a variety of interesting professions. However, as the number of art history graduates has been steadily increasing since the mid-1970s, the job market is competitive. The oversupply of jobseekers allows employers to demand additional qualifications that the study of art history alone cannot provide.

Students must therefore acquire both practical experience and knowledge of other fields during their studies. Desirable fields of knowledge include IT, public relations, additional foreign languages, economics and law as well as pedagogy. Following one own inclination towards such subjects is made possible by through the selection of subsidiary subjects and internships that place an emphasis on practical training.

For many art historians, much of the additional training they undertake only begins after they have graduated. Indeed, some careers, such as restorer or art dealer, are only possible to enter with the combination of an art historical background and another, additional form of education, and many people continue their studies while working in their chosen fields. Freelance art historians in particular often work across several fields. The specialisations chosen while studying often lay the foundation for the direction a career takes.

Arbeitsbereich Aufgabengebiete
Public or private collections Museum, Kunsthalle, Kunsthaus, Graphic Collections, Library, Archive Curator or custodian for a specific collection or historical field. Purchases, inventory, maintenance of holdings, research, preparation of exhibitions, editing of catalogues, guided tours.
Art dealing Gallery, Auction house Purchasing and sales, inventory, maintenance of stocks, research, preparation of exhibitions, editing of exhibition and auction catalogues
Monument conservation Cantonal/City Office for Monument Preservation, administration of public or private castles and palaces Inventory of historical monuments and their preservation, supervision and advice on conservation and restoration measures; the preservation of historical gardens and parks, potentially also a mixture of museum and conservation work.
Publishing Publishing house, trade journals, print media, radio/TV, internet Art criticism, art journalism, exhibition reviews, free journalism, art editing (moderation), editing, publication of art-scientific literature
Research / Journalism
Research / Publishing public and private art-history institutes, associations and foundations Research, publishing
Art tour guide/ tourism private agencies Preparation and implementation of commercial art-oriented travel
Academic career University Doctorate, habilitation: Research and education in art history institutes
Teaching Art at high schools and art colleges Art historical education of prospective teachrs and art mediators
Art Consulting private companies / banks / insurance firms Art historical consulting / selection of works of art for company branches; possibly the preparation of exhibitions