Art History/Applied Art

The Art History program offers the student practical, critical and historical studies in architecture, sculpture, painting, the decorative arts, printmaking, and photography.

Each of these arts comes out of a creative process which, like language, has developed as an expression of human ideas, emotions, and life conditions. The history of these arts is a visual record of the evolution of human societies, and gives a valuable introduction to different world civilizations.

Art History courses train students how to be educated and critical consumers of visual culture, which is a crucial skill in our image-saturated world. Images have meaning going back to historical and cultural precedents and values, and shape how people think about their world. Students who major in art history learn how to do research, to synthesize and analyze information, and to write about concepts and ideas. These critical thinking skills are crucial to today’s workforce, and give students flexibility to move across many industries such as marketing, information and library science, and museum work.

What Will I Learn?

  • Develop ability to identify and understand works of art and stylistic trends in major genres, periods, and cultural traditions of visual expression.
  • Appreciate the social, historical, and cultural contexts for both visual expression and responses to art and articulate that understanding.
  • Describe, research, analyze, and interpret works of art by applying different art historical methods.
  • Put learning into practice through internships, research outside the classroom, field trips, and museum trips.
  • Connect art history to the theory and practice of fields such as science, architecture and urban planning, design, literature, and philosophy.
  • Plan and mount exhibitions through understanding of art collections and institutions, including writing didactic and promotional materials.

Full list of Art History program goals can be found on the Hub for Teaching and Learning site.


Visit the University Catalog:

Learn about degree requirements and coursework for the Art History major and minor.

Learn about degree requirements and coursework for the Applied Art minor.

Learn which Dearborn Discovery Core requirements are fulfilled by taking Art History courses.

Making the Most of Your Major

There are opportunities to develop skills and connect with others interested in philosophy beyond the classroom. Check out the Art History Major Map to get a more detailed, year-by-year view of how you can learn, engage, network and transform your community and prepare for life after graduation.

Get Involved

Join the Art History Association to organize activities like field trips, film screenings, and campus fundraisers. Be an officer in Art Club. Become a SI (Supplementary Instructor) in Art History to tutor and mentor other students. Explore all UM-Dearborn student organizations on VictorsLink.

Get Real World Experience

Internship opportunities are available for Art History students.  Past placements include the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Toledo Museum of Art, Cranbrook Museum of Art, the Henry Ford Museum and Estate, and at other major arts institutions and galleries. This program offers professional experience in the field of Art History and Museum Studies.

Every Art History major is required to complete research projects in two capstone seminars: Art History 303 (Senior Seminar in art-historical research methods), and Art History 402 (Museum Seminar). 

Conduct research through an Independent Study. Opportunities for students to present the results of their research are available each year at the Meeting of Minds conference and at the conference of the Michigan Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Plan for Life After Graduation

Art History prepares students with the skills necessary in the modern workplace. Work a Humanities/History internship into your schedule to gain professional experience. Career Services offers assistance with job searching, resumes, interviews or graduate school applications.

General Program Information

Students may elect one of two concentration tracks in Art History: Art History - Track A; and Museum Studies - Track B. The concentration programs offer the student a broad humanistic education within the context of an undergraduate degree; and prepare the student for graduate work in academic, museum or commercial fields.

Art History and Applied Art Faculty

Madeleine Barkey

LEO Lecturer II in Applied Art

Kevin Castile

LEO Lecturer II in Applied Art

Sarah Nesbitt

LEO Lecturer III in Applied Art

Diana Y. Ng

Associate Professor of Art History

Nadja Rottner

Associate Professor of Art History

Stanley Weed

LEO Lecturer II in Art History

I don't see [Art History] as limiting...there's so much you can do with it!

CASL Digital Image Collection

The College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters digital image collection contains over 31,000 images for teaching and research.  The CASL site is part of the MLibrary Image Collection and can be accessed here.  The collection is part of the MLibrary Image Collections, Digital Image Collections.

Help instructions specific to the CASL collection can be accessed here.