​​​​​​Degree Options: Bachelor of Arts (BA), Minor

Choosing to major in art history indicates a high level of interest in the Visual Arts. That often begins with a fascination with past cultures and their creations: ancient pyramids of Egypt, Renaissance frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, or a modern portrait by Picasso. Over the course of the program, that interest will be deepened by learning how to see, think, analyze, and write about art. Survey courses expose students to art from a wide variety of peoples and places from the beginnings of civilization through to the 21st century. In advanced courses, students conduct personal research into historical artworks. Students will have opportunities to engage with art firsthand, via trips to the Detroit Institute of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and other museums. Study abroad programs allow students to enhance their understanding of the history of art in context.

As an art history graduate, you develop skills and knowledge that can be used in a wide variety of professions, including archaeologist, museum curator, art librarian, and archivist.

Students seeking to supplement another major with art history are encouraged to sign an art history minor.​​ 

Program Overview​

​​The art program curriculum at CMU meets the requirements for accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers a variety of art courses that help students master artistic skills in drawing, painting, printmaking, or photography.

The course listings and requirements are taken from the 2016-2017 bulletin.

This degree program, which requires 39 credit hours, offers students a firm foundation in the history of art and its methodologies. This foundation not only provides a strong basis for all specialized area studies, but also prepares students for advanced degree programs. Students planning or considering a major or minor in Art History are urged to consult with an advisor as early as possible in their college careers.

Students must have an overall grade point average of 2.3 for all art courses counted toward the major. Courses taken on a credit/no credit basis may not be counted toward fulfillment of requirements for the Art History major or minor.​

Art History majors are encouraged to participate in the CMU Semester Abroad program.

Art History majors and minors planning to do graduate work are strongly urged to take both the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) early in their senior year. This examination is generally required for admission to graduate schools.

ART 319 should be taken in either the second or third semester in the program, after completing 36 credit hours, including 6 hours of Art History courses. This course acts as a mid-point, preparing students for 300+ level courses. All 500-level courses have ART 319 as a prerequisite.

Students should enroll in ART 589 during their final year, where they will conduct independent research and produce a senior thesis. ART 589 requires one 500+ level Art History course as a prerequisite.

​ART 283​Introduction to Western Art, Part I 3(3-0)
​ART 285​Introduction to Western Art, Part II 3(3-0)
​ART 287​Introduction to Non-Western Art 3(3-0)
​ART 319​The Methods of Art History 3(3-0)
​ART 589Research Seminar in Art History 3(3-0)​
Select one course each from Groups 1, 2, and 3:
Group 1
​ART 380Greek Art and Architecture 3(3-0)
​ART 381​Early Christian and Byzantine Art 3(3-0)
​ART 389​Art of the Ancient Near East and Egypt 3(3-0)
​ART 480​Roman Art and Architecture 3(3-0)
​ART 481​Western Medieval Art 3(3-0)
​ART 580​​Seminar in Ancient/Medieval Art History 3-6(3-0)

Group 2
​ART 387Baroque Art 3(3-0)
​ART 388​Eighteenth-Century Art 3(3-0)
​ART 482​Italian Renaissance Art 3(3-0)
​ART 488​Northern Renaissance Art 3(3-0)
​ART 581​​Seminar in Early Modern Art History 3-6(3-0)

Group 3
​ART 383Modern Architecture 3(3-0)​
​ART 385​European Art from 1890 - 1940 3(3-0)
​ART 386​American Art 3(3-0)
​ART 483​Nineteenth Century European Art 3(3-0)
​ART 485​Art After 1945 3(3-0)
​ART 582​​Seminar in Modern and Contemporary Art History 3-6(3-0)

Group 4
​ART 341History of Photography 3(3-0)
​ART 363​History of Design: 1750 - 2010 3(3-0)
​ART 366​Contemporary Design Issues 3(3-0)
​ART 382/ WGS 382​Gender and Art 3(3-0)
​ART 486​Independent Study in Art History 1-6(spec)
​ART 489​Islamic Art 3(3-0)
​ART 586​​Special Topics Seminar in Art History 3-9(3-0)
Select three (3) courses from Groups 1-4​
​Select one 500-level course not previously taken from Groups 1-4.
Select one studio art course​


A minor in art history consists of at least 21 hours in art history, arranged in consultation with a department advisor.
​ART 283​Introduction to Western Art, Part I 3(3-0)
​ART 285​Introduction to Western Art, Part II 3(3-0)

Degree Outlook​

JobMedian PayJob Growth through ​2022​
Museum curator$44,410 per year11% (3,300 more jobs)
Historian$52,480 per year6% (200 more jobs)
Archivist$45,200 per year12% (6,100 more jobs)
Art librarian$55,370 per year7% (11,000 more jobs)
Anthropologist$57,420 per year19% (7,200 more jobs)​​