The major in art history requires 39 credit hours in art history and studio and/or courses, as the following chart shows. At least six of these credit hours must be 400-level art history courses.
Core courses at the 200 level are broad interpretive overviews of art history that combine lecture and discussion to permit students to learn the content and chronology of world art history, to learn how art historians collect, analyze and synthesize evidence and engage in introductory exercises in the discipline. They generally include short formal writing assignments and exams with essay sections.
Distributives at the 300 level also combine lecture and discussion, more narrowly survey specific periods or cultures and address aspects of art historical methodology. These courses require longer formal writing assignments and include student research. Courses at the 400 level are seminars on specialized topics that center on advanced student research. A single course may not fulfill more than one distribution requirement.
Internship/Independent Study Credit
A maximum of three credits of art history internship, independent study or honors course work may be applied toward the major in art history. A student may petition the art history coordinator to apply six credit hours toward the art history major if the internship or independent study course work is directly relevant to the student’s interests and career goals.
The museum studies concentration enriches the art history curriculum by offering course work that examines the critical role that museums have played in constructing the discipline and pedagogy of art history. History and theory-oriented classes will introduce students to the role and function of museums in society and the ways in which museums both reflect and perpetuate the values of the cultures that create them. Experiential practica or internship courses will expose students to the wide range of work conducted in museums, including curation, collections management, conservation, education, design and installation, media and public relations, publications, development and administration.
While the concentration is academic and not vocational, it offers students valuable hands-on experience beneficial for admission into graduate school and entry into the competitive market of art-related professions. Virginia is a state that boasts a plethora of art museums, house museums, history museums, and historic and archaeological sites. Art history majors who complete the concentration will be well positioned for seeking employment in regional and state museums.
The museum studies concentration consists of five courses (15 credit hours). Students are required to complete three core courses and two elective courses. Students may only count three credit hours toward both the art history major and the museum studies concentration.
A 3.3 GPA in the minimum of nine credits in Art History (ARTH) and General Education Art History (ARTH) courses are required to enroll in the concentration. To apply, students submit an unofficial transcript to the area coordinator. Students may apply to the concentration in the fall or spring semester, but no later than the last day of the course add registration deadline.
Requirements for Art History as a Second Major
Students in any degree program may study art history as a second major by completing the 39 credit art history requirement. Students studying art history as a second major do not need to complete the requirements for the B.A. degree if their first major will complete the requirements for a different baccalaureate degree. However, non-B.A. degree students completing art history as a second major are strongly encouraged to complete the B.A. foreign language requirement.