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  • Art class outside

    The Art Department's goal is to encourage creative approaches to learning in all disciplines as part of the broader liberal arts curriculum.

  • Art student at table

    The Art Department provides students with challenging opportunities for aesthetic growth and personal intellectual development.

  • Bronze Foundry

    The 6,500 square-foot sculpture area enables students to work in wood, clay, plaster, metal, and features an outdoor bronze foundry.

Art Major

The Art Department is designed around two principal areas: creative practice and critical studies.

You can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in either art history or studio art, and the two disciplines are closely entwined. Our goal is to encourage creative approaches to learning in all disciplines as part of the broader liberal arts curriculum.

Whether you pursue the major with an art history or studio art emphasis, you must take 11 courses as defined below.

Art History Emphasis

To major with an art history emphasis, you must take nine courses in art history–including ART 100, and in your senior year ART 400 and ART 402—as well as two studio courses below the 200-level in two different media. Of the remaining six art history courses, at least one course must fall into each of the following three categories: art prior to 1800, art after 1800, and the history of architecture.

Art history courses begin with a general survey of Western art. Subsequent courses cover art and architecture from the classical period to the present as well as the theory of art. Courses on Greek and Roman art, taught by faculty members in the Classics Department, count toward the major.

The Visual Resources Curator and VRC student assistants make the images covered in each class available for study through the online Image Review (visitor authentication required).

We try to engage our students in "doing" art history both in and outside the classroom. We encourage you to travel to exhibitions and apply for internships in local museums and galleries. Most art history majors also study abroad during their junior year.

Senior art history majors enroll in a capstone seminar on a subject of interest to our art historians that includes a travel component. Recent topics have included fin de siècle Vienna, Ancient Greece, the Gothic cathedral, Orientalism in French painting, Spanish art, the art of Edouard Manet, and the art of Gustave Courbet.

The highlight of each seminar is a trip to visit museums, galleries, and historical sites related to the subject. You also may travel to New York (usually over spring break) as part of the modern and contemporary art courses.

Studio Art Emphasis

To major with a studio art emphasis, you must take nine studio courses—including ART 397 your junior year and ART 401 your senior year—and two courses in art history, one of which must emphasize the art of the 20th and/or 21st century. The other course may be of your choice.

Courses are available in the five areas listed below:

  • Digital - investigation of methods of artmaking using digital technologies to improve our digital literacy, visual thinking, and technical craft.
  • Drawing - the structure and articulation of natural and non-objective forms through the use of line and tone, analysis of composition in a variety of media.
  • Painting - the exploration of oil, watercolor, and acrylic media, pictorial organization, and critical dialogue.
  • Printmaking - the history and techniques of intaglio (etching, dry point, soft ground, and aquatint) and lithography (stone and plate).
  • Sculpture - three-dimensional concepts in a variety of media focus on material and spatial relationships, technical processes, and critical dialogue. Ceramics is offered as part of a total program in sculpture, but does not focus on pottery.

Honors Program

If you have a 3.2 overall average and at least a 3.5 average in the major you may apply to the faculty for participation in the department's Honors Program.

Study Abroad

We encourage all art majors to consider study abroad, not only for the obvious benefit of exposure to other cultures, but also to examine other forms and traditions of artistic expression and their cultural influence. Our faculty members are available to help you integrate a study abroad experience with your chosen area of concentration.