Department of Art History
Bachelor of Arts
Gary Wells, Professor and Chair
Visual knowledge and visual experience are important paths to historical awareness and cultural literacy. Courses in art history and architectural studies will sharpen students’ ability to perceive and understand visual images and the built environment in a world where ideas and information are increasingly communicated through visual media. It will also deepen students’ understanding of history in general. Because visual artifacts eloquently express cultural values, students will learn to analyze works of art and architecture as carriers of political, social, and religious meanings. Our courses also enrich students’ lives by opening the door to a lifetime of aesthetic enjoyment, intellectual stimulation, and creative inspiration.
The department offers two majors, the B.A. in art history and the B.A. in architectural studies.
- The B.A. in art history. This degree prepares students interested in pursuing careers in the arts or further study at the graduate level in the humanities. This major will also appeal to students who wish to study visual culture, human expression, or ideas through history. Students may elect an optional concentration in architectural history or in museum studies to further focus their studies.
- The B.A. in architectural studies. This curriculum provides training for students interested in careers and master’s-level study in the design professions. This program combines coursework in architectural history and theory, sustainability studies, math, and physics with studio experiences in both art and architectural design to lay the groundwork for professional training and practice in architectural design, landscape architecture, historic preservation, urban design, and city planning. Note that the B.A. in architectural studies is a degree that does not qualify students to practice architecture. Students who want to practice architecture and become licensed architects may pursue an NAAB-accredited master of architecture program after completion of the B.A. in architectural studies, or the student may submit experience to the New York State Education Department that is acceptable to the New York State Board for Architecture totaling nine years after completion of the B.A. in architectural studies. Graduates of the B.A. in architectural studies would most likely need to pursue a three- to three-and-a-half-year master of architecture program in order to receive a master of architecture degree from an NAAB-accredited program.
The minor in art history complements studies in a wide variety of majors, among them studio art, cinema and photography, communications, literature, cultures, and languages.
Requirements for Honors in Art History
The honors program in art history offers stimulating, advanced undergraduate training for art history and architectural studies majors who show particular promise in the field. Students interested in entering the program should apply to the chair of the department during their junior year and must meet the following requirements:
An overall GPA of 3.00 and a 3.50 average in art history courses.
Approval by the department faculty. The decision is based on the faculty's judgment of the student's preparation and motivation to do independent research, and on the availability of two or more members of the faculty to work with the student.
After consultation with the department and evaluation of the student's ability to meet the requirements outlined above, the chair will give written notification of acceptance to the program.
Upon acceptance, the student agrees to do a 3-credit honors tutorial or honors independent study course during the fall semester of the senior year, under the guidance of one or more art history faculty members. (The honors course must be completed during the fall semester so that the decision regarding honors can be made in time to be included in graduation announcements.) Research done in this course culminates in an honors thesis, which is evaluated and graded by the faculty members who have agreed to work with the student. Architectural studies majors may include a design component as part of their thesis research. Honors are granted only to those students who receive a B or better on this project.
See ARTH courses