Coordinator: Dr. Maureen Shanahan
Phone: (540) 568-6029
The Bachelor of Arts in art history is intended for students who wish to study the history of the visual arts, including the cultural and social context in which they were created. It is the mission of the art history program to educate students with a global perspective on the arts.
Western art history is emphasized, coupled with opportunities to study the art of select non-Western traditions. Students majoring in art history will develop a general knowledge of the principle monuments and artists of all major historical art periods. Students also will:
- Become acquainted with the art history of non-Western cultures.
- Locate unfamiliar works within major style periods and cultures.
- Describe, analyze and interpret the form and content of individual works of art in relation to the cultures from which they originate.
- Recognize major art media.
- Understand at least three major historical periods of art in detail.
- Become familiar with art history theory and methods of analysis and criticism.
- Research and write about significant artists, artistic events, periods and artistic concepts.
The art history program encourages majors and minors to participate in internship opportunities at museums, galleries and other art related settings, and it provides up-to-date information about jobs and graduate programs in art history and related fields. Visiting scholars, campus art exhibitions, trips to major museums and the JMU Study Abroad program provide students with opportunities to study and apply their art history knowledge outside the classroom. Upon completion of the art history major, students will have been exposed to a broad background and knowledge of the opportunities for graduate school and employment. The art history program also advocates cross disciplinary education and actively supports students who double major with other disciplines.
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.
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.