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Art & Art History - Majors & Minors

Art and Art History

The Department of Art and Art History offers courses of instruction in the studio arts, history of art and museum studies. Students may elect majors or minors in studio art and art history and a minor in museum studies. Studio courses (in drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography, video and digital art) stress the fundamentals of visual communication and engage students in conceptual and technical exploration of contemporary art practice. Art history courses combine traditional and non-traditional approaches to the study of art, past and present, and stress the importance of viewing visual artifacts and architecture within their social and cultural contexts. Students are encouraged to look at art in an active and engaged way and to think critically about the meaning of art and visual culture in the contemporary world. Both programs, studio and art history, prepare students for graduate programs or entry into a wide variety of professional careers in the arts. Studio majors in the department have gone on to successful careers as practicing artists, gallerists and art educators; those with majors in art history have become art critics, art historians, museum or gallery professionals or arts administrators. The department hosts a range of events, including visits by artists, art historians, curators, and critics, that contribute to the vibrancy of the cultural life of the campus. The Art Center's three large gallery spaces provide a changing schedule of 10-12 exhibitions annually; visiting artists, critics and historians present their own work and meet with students for critiques and discussions; department faculty and students get together for group critiques and the annual major-minor mixer, and the department sponsors a popular bus trip each semester to visit museums and galleries in Chicago, St. Louis, or Cincinnati.

Course Catalog

Requirements for a major

Art History

Total courses required Eleven
Core courses Any two 100-level courses and ARTH 494. .
Other required courses Four 200-level courses:
  • Two with a focus pre-1800
  • Two with a focus post-1800

In cases where it is unclear, your advisor will work with you to determine which categories your courses satisfy.

Number 300 and 400 level courses Three: two 300 level courses plus ARTH 494
Senior requirement and capstone experience The senior comprehensive requirement consists of the completion of ARTH 494 with a grade of C- or better, as well as a thesis. The course reviews the major methodologies of art history, through reading and discussion of landmark articles in the field, and initiates students in their application. A major original research paper, on a topic of the student's choosing, is done under the direction of the instructor. The results of the research are presented in a formal twenty-minute public lecture at the end of the semester.
Additional information In addition to the nine art history courses, art history majors also must take two courses in cognate fields. One of these must be chosen from among the studio courses (any studio course). The second, to be approved by your advisor, can be selected from offerings in the following or other programs: Africana Studies, Asian Studies, Classical Studies, English, Film Studies, History, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Music, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Women¿s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and World Literature. First-year seminars on art historical topics may be counted toward an art history major or minor.
Writing in the Major 300-level courses provide the opportunity to satisfy the writing in the art history major requirement. To do so, the student will produce a satisfactory 10-12 pp. paper reflective of the disciplinary standards of art history, and which meets the following requirements: the effective marshaling of evidence in support of a compelling thesis; a methodological framework; critical use of original sources; interdisciplinary bibliography; Chicago Style footnotes.

Studio Art

Total courses required Eleven
Core courses Three introductory studio art courses--one from each of the following categories recommended:
  • painting/drawing : ARTS 152, ARTS 153
  • photo/new media: ARTS 160, ARTS 163, ARTS 165
  • sculpture/ceramics: ARTS 175, ARTS 170

And Senior Projects: ARTS 491 and ARTS 492

Other required courses Four additional studio art courses at the 200 or 300-level, at least one of which must be at the 300-level. Two art history courses, one survey (ARTH 131, ARTH 132, ARTH 133, ARTH 134, or ARTH 135) and one upper level course (ARTH 226 recommended).
Number 300 and 400 level courses Three including ARTS 491 and ARTS 492
Senior requirement and capstone experience The senior comprehensive requirement consists of the completion of ARTS 491, Senior Projects (fall semester senior year) and ARTS 492, Senior Projects (spring semester senior year) with a grade of C or better, and an exhibition of the student's work at the end of the senior year. Throughout this two seminar sequence, students will review the major methodologies of studio art practice through sustained exploration of ideas, continued experimentation with materials and techniques, ongoing critiques with faculty and peers and the development of a professional artist's packet. Examples of contemporary art practice will be investigated though lectures, readings, research presentations and museum visits. At the end of spring semester, students will present a cohesive, conceptually focused body of work for exhibition and a formal gallery talk at the opening reception in the Visual Arts Gallery.
Writing in the Major

In order to fulfill the writing in the major requirement, studio art majors enrolled in ARTS 491 will write a two to three page research-based artist statement in conversation with the artwork they are producing in their studios. Students will identify and research artistic influences as related to their studio practice, as well as contextualize that practice within art history and contemporary cultural concerns. The ideas that students explore through this writing requirement will be informed by and influence the public presentation of their artwork, which regularly happens through verbal critique and artist talks.

Requirements for a minor

Art History

Total courses required Five
Core courses Four art history courses, one course at the 100 level, and three courses at the 200 or 300 level. At least one course must be at the 300 level. One studio art course.
Other required courses Of the three non-introductory art history courses, one course must have a pre-1800 focus and one must have a post-1800 focus. Students considering a minor in art history should consult with an art history faculty member.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Museum Studies

Total courses required Six
Core courses
  • One foundations course (MSST 110)
  • 1/2 credit practicum. Can be fulfilled with approved Extended Studies course, internship, approved Prindle reading group, or independent studies. Students should consult with minor advisor.
  • 1/2 credit capstone (MSST 493).
Other required courses Three art history courses- one 100-level course and two upper level courses from the following: ARTH 226, ARTH 231, ARTH 233, ARTH 234, ARTH 250, ARTH 331, ARTH 332, ARTH 333, ARTH 334, ARTH 360.One cognate course from outside the Art and Art History department: please consult with minor advisor to select this course.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Studio Art

Total courses required Five
Core courses Four studio art courses. At least one 300 level studio art course is required for all minors.
Other required courses One course in art history.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One