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

Each art is considered a creative process that like language has developed as an expression of human ideas, emotions and life conditions. The history of these arts is presented as a visual record of the evolution of human societies that can give the student a valuable introduction to the various world civilizations.

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 may be elected as a major within the Department of Literature, Philosophy & the Arts.

More about Art History/Applied Art

The Art History program offers a wide variety of courses in western art and also in non-western areas like Chinese, Japanese and Islamic art and architecture.  Research assignments in classes often take students to area art institutions like the Detroit Institute of Arts, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, and the Toledo Museum of Art.  Majors are encouraged to be interns in these museums as well as area galleries, historic houses, and historical museums. The two tracks offer a broad humanistic education and prepare the student for work in academic, museum or commercial fields.

Minors in Art History/Applied Art

Students may also minor in Art History and/or Applied Art.

Degree Requirements

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.

See more about specific requirements for the Art History majorminor in Art History,  or minor in Applied Art.

  • Prerequisites (9 credit hours)

    Students concentrating in Art History are required to take the following prerequisites:

    • Art History 101: Western Art to 1400 (3 credit hours)
    • Art History 102: Western Art since 1400 (3 credit hours)
    • Art History 103: Arts of Asia (3 credit hours)

    Concentration Requirements (33 credit hours total)

    Required Distribution (21 credit hours)

    One course from each of the following areas (15 credit hours):

    • Asian / Non-Western
    • Ancient / Classical
    • Medieval
    • Renaissance / Baroque
    • Modern

    Also required (6 credit hours):

    • Art History 400: Methods Seminar (restricted to junior or senior status) (3 credit hours)
    • Art History 410: Museum Practice Seminar I (3 credit hours)

    Electives (6 credit hours)

    Two-upper level Art History Courses

    Cognates (6 credit hours)

    One Applied Art course (ART 201, 204, 206, 306, 321, 322, 323 or 324) and one upper level course in a cognate discipline of Humanities and the Social Sciences. The discipline advisor must approve selections. Courses with strong interdisciplinary orientation are recommended.

    Portfolio

    Papers from three upper-division ARTH courses.  See Art History advisor for details.

    Foreign Languages

    Although competency in a foreign language is not required for the concentration, a reading proficiency in French and/or German is extremely important for anyone planning to pursue the study of Art History. Most graduate programs in Art History require at least two foreign languages.

  • Prerequisites (9 credit hours)

    Students concentrating in Museum Studies are required to take the following prerequisites:

    • Art History 101: Western Art to 1400 (3 credit hours)
    • Art History 102: Western Art since 1400 (3 credit hours)
    • Art History 103: Arts of Asia (3 credit hours)

    Concentration Requirements (33 credit hours total)

    Required Distribution (21 credit hours)

    One course from each of the following areas (12 credit hours):

    • Asian / Non-Western
    • Medieval/Classical
    • Renaissance / Baroque
    • Modern

    Also required (9 credit hours):

    • Art History 400: Methods Seminar (restricted to junior or senior status) (3 credit hours)
    • Art History 410: Museum Practice Seminar I (3 credit hours)
    • Art History 411: Museum Practice Seminar II (3 credit hours)

    Electives (6 credit hours)

    Two-upper level Art History Courses

    Cognates (6 credit hours)

    • HUM 485: Internship (3 credit hours)

    One upper-level course selected from the of the following (3 credit hours):

    • Organizational Behavior 354: Behavior in Organizations
    • Journalism and Screen Studies 330: Feature Writing
    • Communications 360: Social Media for Public Relations
    • Communications 420: Critical Media Studies
    • Communications 460: Public Relations Campaigns
    • Psychology 4305: Industrial/Organizational Psychology

    Portfolio

    Papers from three upper-division ARTH courses.  See Art History advisor for details.

  • Academic Goals for the Major in Art History

    Students completing the Art History major (track A or track B) will have encountered major works of art across global traditions, chronological periods, and varying formats and media, as well as have studied the history of art historical scholarship and methodologies. Art History majors will graduate with skills that have real world application acquired through integrative learning via field-trips, internships, and research opportunities at area art institutions. Art History majors will be equipped to continue the development of insight into the nature of human creativity and the approaches of different cultures to art-making.

    • Art History majors will be able to demonstrate aptitude in the following areas:
       
      • Visual Literacy: identifying and understanding works of art and stylistic trends in major genres, periods, and cultural traditions of visual expression.
      • Art in Context: appreciating the social, historical, and cultural contexts for both visual expression and responses to art, and facility in articulating these contexts orally and in writing.
      • Critical and Creative Thinking: describing, researching, analyzing, and interpreting works of art, including the ability to understand and apply different art historical methods.
         
    • Art History majors will also attain the following skills through integrative learning and real world application:
      • Ability to put academic learning into practice, through internships, research experience outside the classroom, field-trips and museum visits.
      • Ability to show understanding of how contemporary urban settings foster art experiences locally and internationally.
      • Ability to connect visual art and the art historical scholarship to the theory and practice of fields such as science, architecture and urban planning, design, literature, and philosophy.
      • Ability to plan and mount art exhibitions through comprehension of the workings of for-profit and non-profit collections and institutions of art, including proficiency in the research and writing of didactic and promotional materials
      • Ability to perform critical thinking and detailed research with the goal of producing oral and written synthetic analyses of a variety of materials, including visual art, primary historical sources, academic scholarship, and promotional materials, which can be translated to different fields and occupations.

Internship and Research Opportunities

  • The Art History program encourages students to enroll in internships through the Humanities/History Internship Program. Placements are available at 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.

    Contact the Humanities/History Internship Program for further information.

  • Every Art History major is required to complete research projects in two capstone seminars: Art History 400 (Senior Seminar in art-historical research methods), and Art History 410 (Museum Practice Seminar I), where students write essays on works of art for an exhibition catalog that accompanies an exhibition put on by students in the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery at UM-D. Independent Study projects guided by faculty members and term papers prepared in upper-level classes may be presented at the annual Meeting of Minds conference, the Michigan Undergraduate Research Forum, and at the conference of the Michigan Academy of Arts & Sciences. All of these opportunities are extremely valuable for students interested in attending graduate school.

Student Clubs & Organizations

  • Students interested in Art History may join the Art History Association.  Students organize visits to museums and galleries, and they host social events on campus.  The current president is Julie-Ann Magdowski.  For information about the group, see the AHA Facebook page.

    During the Winter 2013 term, Caitlin Wunderlich and Megan Milewski planned a bus trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts for all members of the campus community.  The event on Friday, March 15 was called "UM-D invades the DIA" and was sponsored by the Office of Student Engagement.

    During the winter recess March 2-4, 2009, some members of the Art History Association traveled to Atlanta along with students enrolled in Art History 315: Early Chinese Art and Archaeology to view exhibitions at the High Museum (“Louvre Atlanta: The Louvre and the Masterpiece” and “The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army”).  They also had the opportunity to see another traveling exhibition from Egypt: “King Tut and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs,” at the Civic Center in Atlanta. Funding was provided by the Loeb Fund (Provost’s Office), the Art History Discipline, and contributions from a former Art History student, Jill Cubba, and her father, Peter Cubba.

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.