The Arts Major: Art History Option B.A.

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The Arts Major: Art History Option B.A.

What is art history?

How do we define and value beauty? What is the role of the visual in the human experience? Art history is the study of art through the ages, and in this degree program you’ll learn to research, interpret and analyze art within broader cultural and historical perspectives. You’ll undertake a comprehensive, in-depth study of Western art from the ancient world to the present, and also be exposed to non-Western cultures and artistic traditions. Our graduates are well prepared for careers within the arts, as well as further study in fields such as architecture, business or law.

Why study art history at UNH?

In addition to events and exhibits at the UNH Museum of Art and Paul Creative Arts Center, our main campus is located just minutes from the culturally rich community of Portsmouth, and an hour from the fine art museums of Boston. You’ll meet and learn from artists and historians from around the world through the Visiting Artists & Art Historians program, and also will have the opportunity to develop as an artist by taking studio classes or pursuing a double major in art history and studio art.

Potential careers

  • Architect
  • Art critic
  • Art librarian
  • Art teacher
  • Artist
  • Gallery curator
  • Museum curator
  • Publisher
  • Travel guide
  • Writer


Curriculum & Requirements

The art history curriculum provides a comprehensive, in-depth study of Western art from the ancient world to the present as well as some exposure to non-Western cultures and artistic traditions. All courses in the program teach basic skills of interpretation and critical analysis within the framework of broad cultural perspectives that connect the visual arts to larger historical developments. They also teach good writing and research skills. In addition, art history majors typically branch out into other fields, such as history, literature, and foreign languages. By the time they graduate, most majors are well equipped to pursue such traditional careers in the field as museum and gallery work, teaching, publishing, or librarianship. But because art historical education is so broad, it also prepares students for a variety of other, more flexible options, such as law, business, or architecture.

Students must complete a minimum of 10 courses (40 credits). The following courses are required:

ARTS 480Introduction to Art History4
ARTS 532Introductory Drawing4
ARTS 795Art Historians and Their Styles4
ARTS 799Seminar in Art History4
Select six 600- or 700-level art history courses:24
Select one each from Pre-Renaissance, Renaissance/Baroque, and Modern areas
Select three in any area
Total Credits40

These courses must be completed with a minimum grade of C-. Art history students receive preferential placement in ARTS 532 Introductory Drawing. Students contemplating graduate school should learn German, and, if possible, either French, Italian, or another language relevant to their areas of interest.

The Discovery Program capstone requirement may be fulfilled by completing ARTS 795 Art Historians and Their Styles.

The required minimum overall GPA in major coursework is 2.0.

Candidates for a degree must satisfy all of the University Discovery Program requirements in addition to satisfying the requirements of each individual major program. Bachelor of arts candidates must also satisfy the foreign language proficiency requirement.

Art history majors may use one major-required course to satisfy one Discovery category requirement.

Explore Program Details

Students can elect to receive a B.A. in the Arts with both the Studio Art option and the Art History option. Students must complete the requirements for both options; no more than 8 credits used to satisfy one option can be used as requirements for the other option. Please contact your advisor for more information.

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