Master in Art History


Program Description

Our specialised and intensive Master's programme immerses you in traditional and innovative approaches to the history of art. Working in close connection with museums and heritage institutions in the Netherlands and abroad, you will acquire the theoretical insights and practical experience necessary for a career in academia or the museum world.

The programme is not limited to a single period or geographical area but singles out important developments in the field. It is structured such that you can pursue your personal interests. You are encouraged to critically reflect on the past as well as imagine new possibilities in the study of art history, material culture, and museums.


Our specialists cover the field from medieval to contemporary art, centered on Europe and the Netherlands in a global context. In addition to the core courses, focusing on technical, transcultural, and digital art history, you will explore subjects of your own choice. Utrecht allows you to benefit from the expertise of teachers and researchers across a wide spatial and historical range of material and visual culture, including the Heritage Lab, the Descartes Centre for the History of Science and the Humanities, the Institute for Cultural Enquiry, the Centre for Early Modern Studies and Centre for Medieval Studies. Our in-house heritage institution is Utrecht University Museum.

Read more about the teaching and research environment, including the personal interests of our faculty.


The programme’s long-standing ties with major art museums and heritage institutions in the Netherlands and abroad ensure an integrated approach of theoretical and practical aspects. Dutch students often spend a semester in a major museum abroad while students from other countries usually intern at a major Dutch or Flemish museum. You may also choose to study at another university for one semester. Since the beginning of the Research Master's programme in 2004, our students have completed internships at more than fifty museums and heritage institutions, mostly in Europe. You will have the opportunity to actively work on your career development.


You will gain expertise in regard to objects of art and material culture that prepares you for a career in academia, museums, and other heritage institutions. This includes the practicalities of research design and fundraising.

Many of our graduates have accepted curatorial and research positions in, for instance, the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam, Städel Museum Frankfurt, Groeningemuseum Bruges, Royal Library Brussels, J. Paul Getty Museum Los Angeles, and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago de Chile. Read more about possible career prospects.

Other graduates have continued with PhD programmes at Utrecht, Amsterdam, and international universities, including Ghent University, KU Leuven, Paris Sorbonne, LMU Munich, Goethe University Frankfurt, University of Konstanz, Princeton University, Harvard University, Columbia University, Northwestern University and University of Toronto.

If you envision the publication of your work, you may benefit from the network of our staff members, who are on the boards of many journals including Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art, Simiolus, Nuncius, History of Humanities, Prospettiva, Andon: Shedding light on japanese art and Stedelijk Studies.


Art History is a selective Master’s programme, with motivation and a passion for object-based research being the key criteria for selection. Do you want to know if you are eligible for this Master? Check the entry requirements or contact the Programme Coordinator for more information.

Career Prospects

This Master's program prepares you for positions involving research on the art and architecture of the Low Countries. After graduation you will often find PhD positions, or jobs in:

  • art galleries
  • museums
  • research libraries
  • archives
  • the art trade
  • publishing

Some of our graduates have gone on as independent exhibition organizers.

Academic Careers

A substantial part of the graduates will move on to a PhD program.

  • Sander Karst for instance, found a PhD position at Utrecht University.
  • Ruben Suykerbuyk is a PhD student at Ghent University.

Other graduates found PhD positions at:

University of Amsterdam | KU Leuven (Belgium)| Sorbonne | Goethe University | LMU (Germany) | Harvard University | Princeton University | Columbia University

After their PhD, a number of alumni found positions in the Dutch academic world. Merlijn Hurx, for instance, works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of History and Art History of Utrecht University; Tijana Žakula is a lecturer in art history at University College Utrecht; Janna Schoenberger teaches at Amsterdam University College; Marjolijn Bol is a post-doctoral researcher at Utrecht University.

Non-academic Careers

This program does not only prepare for an academic career. Several students who graduated in 2009-2013 have found curatorial positions in Dutch or Belgian museums or at the Netherlands Institute for Art History.

Our alumni found jobs as:

  • Curator of 19th-Century Art at Gemeentemuseum in The Hague
  • Assistant Curator Old Master Paintings at Netherlands Institute for Art History(RKD) in The Hague
  • Assistant Curator Prints and Drawings at Groeningemuseum in Bruges
  • Project Coordinator at Marcel Wanders, product design & interior design in Amsterdam
  • Scientific researcher at Royal Library of Belgium in Brussel
  • Assistant Curator at the Amsterdam Museum

Last updated Jan 2020

About the School

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned number one in The Netherlands, 14th in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of int ... Read More

Founded in 1636, Utrecht University is an esteemed international research university, consistently positioned number one in The Netherlands, 14th in continental Europe and the worldwide top 100 of international rankings, and member of the renowned European League of Research Universities. Read less