The study of art history encompasses the visual arts and material culture of a wide range of regions and historical periods. Art History courses develop students’ skills in visual analysis, interpretation of images and texts, use of historical sources, and engagement with scholarly debates. Within the department, survey classes provide a chronological overview of an extended period in Western or non-Western art, while Art in Context classes focus on a particular artist or artists, medium or theme, artistic problem, movement or period. Upper-level classes may be similarly focused, but at a more advanced level, or may deal with theoretical questions. After taking an introduction to art historical methods in their third year, fourth-year students who are majoring in Art History conduct independent research on a topic of their own devising, producing an honors thesis paper with the guidance of a faculty member and a graduate preceptor. The major in Art History thus introduces students to a variety of cultures and approaches while providing analytical skills to enable students to focus their attention productively on specific questions in the study of art. In combination with a broad general education, Art History provides excellent preparation for the professions as well as graduate school in art history and careers in the arts.
Students in other fields of study may complete a minor in Art History.