Art history is the study of works of art—broadly defined—in their historical context. Art historians study visual culture—everything from city planning and major architectural monuments, to painting, sculpture, prints and drawings, to film and popular visual culture. Art history is interdisciplinary by its nature: we look to political history, religion, economics, and many other fields to help explain works of art and the motivations of the artists who made them.
Our faculty are specialists in most periods of European art, American visual culture, contemporary art, and Islamic and south Asian art and architecture. We also offer broad surveys of Western Art, World Art, and the History of Architecture. More advanced students can take seminars in specialized topics and Issues in Art History. For a list of courses being offered next semester, click here. To learn more about our faculty, click here and follow the web page links.
Majors and minors in Art History
How do you major in art history? You need to take eight courses in art history and two in studio art. There are more specific requirements that are designed to let you sample a range of periods and cultures. You are also required to take a course in methodology and a seminar on a special topic. Please click here for more details or make an appointment to talk to someone on the faculty.
What about a minor? A minor in art history requires five courses: four in art history and one in studio art. No special requirements here—just choose four art history courses that interest you.
What can you do with an art history major? Lots of things! Working in art museums and galleries or teaching in college might be the first things that come to mind, but there are many other options. Art history combines well with many other fields in the liberal arts, including history, religious studies, anthropology, economics, and chemistry. Because you learn to interpret visual and verbal information, it’s good training for a career in law, and because works of art are also good investments, there are opportunities in business. Careers in publishing and design are other options. To see what our alums are doing, click here.