Art History


Whether you want to be an archivist, manage a gallery or museum, or explore the depths of the world as an art historian, St. Ambrose has a unique, lively, and career-focused program that will help you achieve your goals.

Our graduates work in fundraising, human resources, libraries, museums and research centers, and have enrolled in graduate programs across the U.S.


Ambrose Advantages

  • Hands-on Career Development
  • Lively Teaching & Charismatic Faculty
  • 100% Acceptance Into Graduate Programs

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Caring and knowledgeable faculty will guide you in exploring your interests in art history. Along the way, your understanding of history and culture will grow so that after graduation you are well-prepared to reach your goals.

Art History Fact Sheet


More information on the Art History Program

What will I learn?

The SAU Art History major offers you an energetic exploration of art, architecture, and material culture through the study of primary visual and literary sources. The emphasis is on historical understanding, critical thinking, written and oral communication, and professional development.

We offer traditional and non-traditional classes. You will learn the styles and functions of art during historical periods; study rich texts; survey the history and culture of Greece, Rome, the Medieval World, and Renaissance; and focus on the art, history, architecture, and culture of Western Europe.

You can also learn about the history of comics or study mythical images. These non-traditional art history courses let you study topics ranging from Odysseus to Luke Skywalker, and from Neil Gaiman to Dante. 

Classes in graphic design and art history careers also are offered.

We give you two paths from which to choose: a capstone track if you plan to attend graduate school or an internship track if you plan to work immediately after graduation. Either way, we have high academic standards our students appreciate. As a result, our art history majors have earned a 100% acceptance rate into graduate programs in museum studies, archival studies, art history, history, art therapy, library science, and fine arts. Many of our graduates receive fellowships.

This degree satisfies many general education courses and pairs well with other degrees. Many students choose to double major in marketing, art, theatre, and criminal justice.

What makes Art History unique at SAU?
  • At SAU, you can study topics ranging from Odysseus to Luke Skywalker. We offer traditional courses in Russian art history, museum studies, and non-traditional courses such as the History of Comics, and The Mythic Image. Our faculty encourages creative research projects, such as creating an ancient Greek pot or investigating themes in modern game and film.
  • We are proactive in your professional development. Your advisor helps you find the best combination of majors, minors, and internships to meet your career goals. You will learn the skills of résumé writing and interviewing as well as study career options in a required, upper-level course. We make sure your unique educational experience is relevant in today's job market and encourage you to volunteer, intern, or work at local museums and institutions.
  • We give you two paths from which to choose: a capstone track if you plan to attend graduate school or an internship track if you plan to work immediately after graduation. Since the summer of 2015, Art History students have interned at more than 15 sites throughout the Quad Cities, including the Figge Art Museum, Putnam Museum, Rock Island Historical Society, German-American Heritage Center, and the Family Museum.
  • Join SAU's League of Art History Enthusiasts. This student organization provides community and support, even after graduation. Students organize art history-themed parties, trips to museums and galleries, and dinner and movie nights.
  • The Quad Cities offers a great community to help you prepare for, or even start, your career. The metro area has a reputation as a vibrant center for the arts and provides exceptional opportunities for networking, internships and jobs.
Learn How Art History Helps You Succeed

"What on earth is anyone going to 'do' with a degree in art history? The answer, frankly, is anything you want." (The Independent)

Click on the following links to read more about the value of studying the humanities, including history and art history:  

At a loss for what to do? Why not History of Art? (The Independent)

15 Useful Skills You Learn As An Art History Major (BusinessInsider.com)

To Succeed in Business, Major in Art History (The Huffington Post)

Why Scientists Should Study Art And Literature (Forbes)

Learning Medicine by Looking at Art (WGBH news)

Gary Radke, "What Good is a Degree in Renaissance Art History?"

HISTORY:
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns on the important subject you won't learn in business school (The Business Insider)

History isn't a 'useless' major. It teaches critical thinking, something America needs plenty more of (Los Angeles Times)


HUMANITIES:
HumanitiesWatch.org

Jeffrey Brown with John Lithgow and Richard Brodhead: Commission on Diminished Humanities

Karl Eikenberry: The Heart of the Matter (Chicago Humanities Festival)

The Unexpected Schools Championing the Liberal Arts (The Atlantic)

View: What to study at college, and why (The Journal News)

Counting (on) Success: Does an Education in the Humanities Count in Today's Day and Age? (The Huffington Post)

Why America's obsession with STEM education is dangerous (The Washington Post)

A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements To Lure English Majors (NPR)

We Need The Liberal Arts More Than Ever In Today's Digital World, Fareed Zakaria Says (The World Post)

Why I Was Wrong About Liberal-Arts Majors (The Wall Street Journal)

Why study liberal arts? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

What are some possible careers?

Our Art History program is very interdisciplinary, and you can pair this major with our unique Museum Studies minor to boost your professional opportunities. Many students also choose to double major in marketing, art, theatre, and criminal justice.

Either way, you have a variety of career options.

Here is a sampling:

  • Archivist
  • Museum professional
  • Art theft investigator
  • Art lawyer
  • Gallery owner or manager
  • Art appraiser
  • Art therapist
  • Art historian
  • Curator or critic

If you love art history but aren't sure how to use it in a career, these resources can help narrow your areas of interest:

What have alums of the program done?

Tessa Pozzi '16 was hired shortly after graduation as the Annual Giving Coordinator at the Figge Art Museum. She oversees membership and annual fundraising.

Joe Montez '13 continued his education at the University of Iowa and earned a Master of Art History. He is now working on a PhD while also serving as a teaching and research assistant for the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History.

What about scholarships and grants?

For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award.

For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Click here to see our complete set of resources on Scholarships and Financial Aid

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History (36 or 39 credits)

Art History majors pursue either a Capstone track (36 credits), intended for students who plan on pursuing graduate school opportunities, or the Internship track (39 credits), intended for students interested in professional development.

The track should be determined in consultation with Art History faculty, and students should determine and declare their track by the second semester of their junior year.

All courses below are 3 credits unless otherwise noted.

Required of all Art History majors:
+AH 250 (HIST 215) Art through the Ages I
+AH 251 Art through the Ages II

AH 450 Art Historical Methods & Careers

One of the following:
+AH 130 Introduction to Classical Studies
+AH 323 (HIST 321) Ancient Greece
+AH 324 (HIST 322) Ancient Rome
+AH 326 Christian through Byzantine

One of the following:
+WI-AH 343 The Medieval World
+AH 345 The Renaissance
+AH 346 Baroque & Rococo Art
+AH 353 Russia

One of the following:
+WI-AH 347 19th Century
+AH 350-WI American Art
+AH 351 20 Century

+AH 354 Contemporary Art
+AH 355 History of Graphic Design

One of the following:
+AH 120 Topics in Art History
+AH 320 Advanced Topics in Art History

+AH 352 Non-Western Art

Plus 6 additional credits in AH.
Plus 6 additional credits from AH, HIST, Classical Studies (CSM), or ART.
Either WI-AH 451 Capstone Research Experience (3 credits) OR AH 490 Internship in Art History (6 credits).

Read course descriptions in the online Course Catalog

The SAU Art History majors fosters an energetic exploration of art, architecture, and material culture through the study of primary visual and literary sources, with an emphasis on historical understanding, critical thinking, written and oral communication, and professional development.

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a degree in Art History as well as room for a second major (36 credits) in another discipline. This plan assumes the student has not taken three years of high school foreign language.

Details of this plan vary depending on course rotation. Sequence and timing of Gen Ed courses is flexible and can be adjusted based on course availability and requirements within second majors and/or minors.

Year One

FallCreditSpringCredit
AH 250/HIST 215 3 AH 251 Art through the Ages II 3
AH 120/LC Topics: Mythic Image 3 Social Sciences 3
HIST 102/LC Classical Mythology 3 Math 3
ENGL 101 English Composition 3 Creative Arts 3
Foreign Language 101 3 Foreign Language 102 3
Elective: New Student Seminar 1 IL 101 Information Literacy 1
Total Credits 16 Total Credits 16

Year Two

FallCreditSpringCredit
AH 250/HIST 215 (if not taken in First Year) 3 300-level AH 6
300-level AH 3 KIN 149 1
Oral Communication 3 PHIL/THEO 100-200 level 3
Natural Science 3 PHIL/THEO (any level) 3
PHIL/THEO 100-200 level 3 AH 490 Internship (1-6 credits) OR Course for 2nd major/minor 3
KIN activity course 1-2
Total Credits 16-17 Total Credits 16

Year Three

FallCreditSpringCredit
AH 490 Internship (1-6 credits) 3 AH 450 Art Historical Methods & Careers 3
300-level AH 3 300-level AH 3
PHIL/THEO 300-400 level 3 Course for second major or minor(s) 9
Course for second major or minor(s) 6
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

FallCreditSpringCredit
AH 451 Capstone [or AH 490 Internship] 3 AH 490 Internship (1-6 credits) 3
300-level AH 3 300-level AH 3
Course for second major or minor(s) 9 Course for second major or minor(s) 9
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15
Program Outcomes

Art History students will graduate having met the following four outcomes (in accordance with the recommended guidelines for accreditation with the National Association of Schools of Art and Design):

a. Graduates will possess general knowledge of the monuments and principal artists of major art periods of the past (Requires at least 17 credits at or above the 300-level, in accordance with previously approved curriculum for AH major.) ;
b. Graduates will possess general knowledge of world history;
c. Graduate will possess general knowledge of the tools and techniques of scholarship (through active research and the writing of analytical and critical essays);
d. Graduates will possess functional knowledge of the creative process (through at least 6 credits of foundation or other studio courses).

Minor in Art History (15 credits)

Choose 15 credits of Art History classes plus one additional 3-credit course in AH, ART, CSM, or HIST.

Minor in Museum Studies (18 credits)

Required:
+MUSE 380 Intro to Museum Studies (SP18), 3 credits
MUSE 381 Intro to Collections Management (FA17), 3 credits
MUSE 382 Intro to Exhibition Planning (FA18), 3 credits
MUSE 490 Internship, 3 credits
MKTG course or AH 450 Methods & Careers (FA17), 3 credits
3 additional credits of AH 490 or MUSE 490 at an approved site or one additional 3-credit AH, ART, or HIST course.*

*With approval of the program director, students interested in science or children's museums may substitute a relevant science or education course for the additional AH or HIST course requirement.

NOTE: Art History majors must take 15 distinct credits for the Museum Studies minor, in addition to the requirements for the AH major.

+ = Satisfies a General Education requirement
WI = Writing intensive

The Art History Program fosters an energetic exploration of art, architecture, and material culture through the study of primary visual and literary sources, with an emphasis on historical understanding, critical thinking, written and oral communication, and professional development.


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Contact


Terri Switzer, PhD

Art History
Ambrose Hall 320
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
563-333-6142
SwitzerTerri@sau.edu

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