At Muhlenberg, Art History and Studio Art are housed together in the Art Department, located in the Baker Center for the Arts. We believe that each discipline informs the other, providing students with a more complete understanding of their area of interest.
As part of the liberal arts, introductory art history courses are designed for students from any discipline and often fulfill general education requirements. Art history classes include both general historical surveys and in-depth analyses of particular periods. The department offers both a major and minor in art history.
Art Department Mission Statement
The Department of Art provides pathways for students to explore art, visual creativity, and art history within the liberal arts tradition. Studio art and art history majors develop the elements of visual literacy and performance, including observational proficiency, basic media-specific skills, understanding of historical context, the ability to analyze and articulate these visual issues, and produce independent work. The curriculum is designed to prepare art history and studio art majors to meet the entrance requirements of graduate programs in art history, studio art, and art education, or to prepare them with skills in creative visual expression and critical analysis that are assets in many career paths.
The Art History Major & Minor
The curriculum of the art history major and minor is designed to prepare students to describe, analyze, and interpret visual art in light of social, political, religious, racial, economic, and aesthetic issues, and to understand the fundamental methodological issues of the field. Art history majors may undertake an internship in museum/gallery studies or an independent study in research methods/intensive reading. Our majors are encouraged to double major/minor, study abroad, and take interdisciplinary courses outside of the department. Students may now also double major/minor in Art History & Studio Art.
Program Goals for Art History
- Develop a fundamental understanding of art in a social, political, and economic context.
- Practice visual analysis: careful, detailed description leading to interpretation based on visual evidence.
- Learn to write analytically using visual evidence and library research.
- Become acquainted with art historical methodologies.
Program Goals Shared by Art History and Studio Art
- Demonstrate an understanding of visual language in its role of imparting meaning.
- Acquire critical thinking skills and the ability to articulate concepts and present arguments.
- Effectively communicate issues and aspects of visual experience and culture in oral and written arguments, and studio projects.
Art History Major Requirements (9 Courses)
The art history major consists of two introductory art history courses and seven additional courses.
-Introduction to Art History I
-Introduction to Art History II
-1 writing intensive course in Art History
-5 additional courses in Art History or Studio Art (maximum 1 ARS)
-CUE: Methods of Art History (taken senior year)
Art History Minor Requirements (5 Courses)
-Introduction to Art History I OR Introduction to Art History II
-1 writing intensive course in Art History
-3 additional courses in Art History or Studio Art (maximum 1 ARS)
Art History Courses
Core courses for the major and minor are taught regularly. The majority of advanced art history courses are offered on a three-year rotating schedule. The department offers additional art history courses every year as special topics, through college-wide interdisciplinary programs, and the LVAIC consortium listed here.
- Introduction to Art History I, II
- Modern Art
- Contemporary Art
- Ancient Art
- Baroque Art
- Nineteenth Century Art
- American Art
- History of Photography
- Italian Renaissance Art
- Women and Art
- African American Art
- CUE: Methods in Art History
How to Declare an Art History Major or Minor
- Pick up a “Field of Study Declaration” form from the Registrar or online here.
- Get current advisor’s signature to drop undeclared status/ drop current major or minor (if needed).
- Email Art Department Chair Margo Hobbs (email@example.com) to set up an appointment.
- Get the Art Department Chair’s signature. You may request a specific advisor. Students typically get their first choice of advisor unless that faculty already has a full advising load.
For more information on advising and declaring a major/minor at Muhlenberg visit the Registrar's FAQ page.