Program Overview:

Major in Art History

Art history explores the historical meaning of art, architecture and design. The study of art over time enables students to develop acute visual sensibilities and finely honed skills of critical looking, thinking, speaking and writing. Art history offers students a solid basis for a lifelong understanding of art as well as a foundation for other disciplines, including history, literature, philosophy, music, politics and law.

Program Goals

Graduates will be able to:

  • Describe and analyze works of art and architecture
  • Understand the cultural contexts from which art has emerged
  • Demonstrate chronological knowledge of a variety of artistic traditions and their movements
  • Develop skills of visual, verbal and written literacy, analytical insight and investigation, critical reading and reasoning, synthesizing of information and material, visual observation and research, writing and persuasive presentation
  • Use the interdisciplinary scope of art history to connect with other areas of study such as history, philosophy, literature, music, gender studies, languages, cultural studies, anthropology, religion and new technologies

Required Courses


  • 3 200-level art history courses
  • 9 300-level art history courses, with at least:
    • 1 ancient-medieval art
    • 1 Renaissance-Baroque art
    • 1 modern art
    • 1 non-Western art
    • 1 seminar (ART HIST 390)
  • 1 studio art course

Program Details

Art history provides an excellent opportunity to develop the essential skills that lie at the core of a liberal arts education, including informed and critical reading, writing and speaking. The study of art history examines art and architecture of cultures around the world and across epochs and millennia, focusing on understanding their aesthetic and historical significance as well as their social relevance and formal characteristics. Because Chicago is home to a significant number of world-famous museum collections and some of the world’s most extraordinary architecture, courses emphasize on-site study and field trips. The University Library, Digital Collections, and the Block Museum of Art provide foundations for collaboration and research on campus.