We live in a world of images, and the study of art history offers a critical means of assessing our visual culture in an increasingly globalized context. As an art history major at Saint Joseph's University, you will go beyond studying the process of creating art. You will dive into the history of art throughout the world as you develop your ability to view, assess and analyze various forms of art and visual culture. Additionally, students majoring or minoring in art history at Saint Joseph's University have access to many exciting cultural opportunities in the Philadelphia region to gain experience in the field.
WHAT IS AN ART HISTORY MAJOR?
Students with an art history major or minor are trained to analyze the production, function, and meaning of works of art and visual culture from prehistory to the present, including painting, architecture, sculpture, photography and new media. An art history degree involves visual culture from around the world, and its place within a broader context of politics, religion, science, history and philosophy.
The study and analysis of visual culture and its context provides a way of understanding not only the past but the present. The study of the history of art and its attendant issues provides an opportunity to explore the most important issues of our day, including ethics, gender, diversity and social justice.
WAYS TO STUDY ART HISTORY
You have the ability to tailor your education to your unique interests by choosing a double major or minor in art history. Whatever path you choose, you will receive a rigorous, student-centered education in the liberal arts, focused on critical thinking and analysis. Complementary areas of study that pair well with art history include:
- Art Education
- Communication Studies
- Francophone Studies
- Gender Studies
- Political Science
- Latin American and LatinX Studies
- Theology and Religious Studies
While students gain a broad understanding of the history of art and different art styles, they have the ability to focus on particular art periods in history or geographical areas.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH AN ART HISTORY MAJOR?
As a discipline that promotes critical thinking as well as effective communication and writing skills, art history is excellent training for a number of careers. Many students in our program go on to pursue graduate programs in art history or related fields such as museum studies, law, business and medicine, as an increasing number of medical schools require students to engage in historical art studies that involve visual analysis. Training in art history helps prepare students for art history jobs and other career fields, including:
- Art galleries and museums
- Art therapy
- Art conservation
- Grant writing and development
- Historic preservation
- Library science
- Marketing and Communications
HOW WILL SAINT JOSEPH'S UNIVERSITY PREPARE YOU FOR A CAREER IN ART HISTORY?
There are numerous opportunities beyond the classroom that Saint Joseph's University offers to prepare for life after college. As part of the Gallery Exhibition Research Assistant (GERA) program, students gain valuable experience researching and curating exhibitions in the department’s two art galleries for professional and student work.
You also have the ability to explore various object around campus and in the University's extensive permanent collection and galleries in the new Frances M. Maguire Art Museum at the Barnes Arboretum, housing many different types of art.
Looking to explore the art scene beyond Hawk Hill? Saint Joseph's location in Philadelphia, with close proximity to New York and Washington D.C, provides students with the opportunity to experience major works of art at renowned galleries and museums. Our close connection to these vibrant metropolitan areas is ideal for students seeking to pursue internships and grow their network of regional museums and cultural organizations. Study abroad options are also available for students to travel overseas and expand their art history education across the globe.