Could you spend hours in an art museum thinking about the connections between a piece of art and the person who produced it? As an art history major at The Catholic University of America, you will study the development of art through the ages, and learn to apply historical information to determine what art might reveal about the people of the time and their view of the world.
In your major classes, you will study art from the ancient and medieval, Renaissance and baroque, and modern and contemporary periods. You will discover how art from these periods provides a unique record of human civilization and preserves some of humanity's most meaningful experiences. Core curriculum requirements will complement your art classes, setting the context in which you will interpret art.
Your studies in both art history and the liberal arts will allow you to become capable of thoughtfully interpreting the world around you. Critical thinking, analysis, and research skills can be applied in many different fields and workplaces after graduation.
From the earliest Paleolithic cave paintings rendered over 30,000 years ago to the exuberant canvases of the late Modern Age, the visual arts offer a unique record of human civilization, expressing and preserving some of humanity's most vibrant, profound and cherished experiences, feelings, and beliefs.
The study of art history is an investigation into this most essential, sophisticated, and enduring form of human communication. Beginning with a two semester survey of Western art and architecture from prehistory to the present, and followed with twelve more specialized courses, the art history major is introduced to a broad range of ancient, medieval, renaissance, baroque, modern and contemporary art works. In this process, the student is also introduced to a diversity of methodologies for understanding art objects formally and analytically in their social, political, and economic context.
Among the required fourteen courses that majors must take, one is in drawing or painting; one is the Junior Seminar in critical methodologies and research skills in preparation for the advanced Senior Seminar, which culminates in the completion of a senior thesis. Philosophy of Art is also requisite in partial fulfillment of the university's philosophy distribution requirement. Comprehensive examinations are given in the last semester of senior year.
Students with an honors level grade point average, who wish to receive Departmental Honors in Art History, may apply to write a Senior Honor's Thesis. Progress in completing this Senior Thesis will be guided through the student's enrollment in a Senior Honor's Tutorial. Awards will be given to thesis projects that successfully demonstrate a high degree of scholarly achievement and self-motivation.
Our nation's capital is an ideal place to study art history. With a plethora of museums in the area, you will have numerous opportunities to be exposed to and study many different types of art. Additionally, there are many internships available at local museums and galleries, including the National Gallery of Art, The Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, or the National Portrait Gallery.
Why an art history degree from Catholic University?
The skills that you will develop as an art history major will prepare you well for a number of careers or for further study. Art history majors become museum curators, gallery directors, or museum educators. Additionally, with the analytical and writing skills you will develop, you will be able to work in the field of your choice or go on to further graduate study in anything from art to law to education to business.