At Columbia College, students can earn either a Bachelor of Arts in Art History or choose a Minor in Art History to complement other majors. Unlike art history programs at other colleges, the curriculum at Columbia emphasizes fields of study outside the traditional canon of western art history. Our students specialize in one of four areas: modern and contemporary art, history of design, history of photography, and history of non-western art. These areas provide exciting perspectives on our visual and cultural environment and reflect the inclusive and interdisciplinary nature of art and art history today. Students in our program acquire the basic skills of art history: they analyze visual elements, relate art to its historical and cultural contexts, and explore theories that provide frameworks for understanding art and visual culture. These skills become potent tools for understanding a world that is increasingly dependent upon visual media.
The Bachelor of Arts in Art History requires 51 credit hours. In addition to art history courses, students take courses in the Art + Design Foundation, in order to gain a better understanding of the conceptual and technical skills needed by artists. They also take additional courses in Liberal Arts and Sciences to deepen their understanding of the relationship between art and the world in which it is produced. The program culminates in a capstone course in which students engage in in-depth research on an art historical topic of their choice. Graduating students present their research at the annual Senior Art History Symposium.
The Minor in Art History consists of 18 credit hours and allows students to expand their knowledge of the history and context of the visual arts while majoring in another area. The art history minor allows many possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration, in particular with majors in Fine Arts, Photography, Cultural Studies, Journalism, and Visual Arts Management.
Training in art history prepares students for a wide variety of professional opportunities or for further graduate study. Graduates typically pursue careers in college teaching, museums and art galleries, art criticism, editing and publishing, art conservation, historic preservation, arts management, and cultural advocacy.