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Art History Curriculum

Art History opens your eyes. It teaches you to look deeply and searchingly. It explores the visual cultures of diverse peoples, places, and times. Emphasizing critical, historical, and linguistic skills, as well as creativity and innovation, Art History offers a bridge between traditional, language-based fields in the humanities and the creative worlds of art, architecture, and performance. The study of Art History will change the way you look at not only paintings and statues, but also advertisements and all types of  visual phenomena. Art History is more than the History of Art. It’s a way to look at the world.


The Art History Department at Dartmouth teaches analytical skills that encourage probing and inquiring approaches to visual experience. Although one of our fundamental aims is to prepare our students for graduate study in Art History, and therefore for careers in this field, we also seek to equip students, whether majors or not, with skills – especially in visual analysis, logical reasoning, critical reading and writing, and public speaking – that will serve them well in any number of professions.


We suggest that students begin their study of Art History by enrolling in one of our introductory courses: ARTH1: Introduction to the History of Art I (offered in Fall term); ARTH2: Introduction to the History of Art II (offered in Winter term), and ARTH4: Introduction to World Architecture (generally offered every other Spring). Our mid-level courses, numbered 16 through 76, are open to all students without prerequisites. The Department also offers a Foreign Study Program in Rome every spring .


Majors & Minors

If you think you might like to major or minor in Art History, your first step should be to speak to an Art History faculty member, either one of our designated faculty advisors or another professor with whom you are acquainted. You don’t need to wait until it is time to declare your major. It helps to start thinking about all available opportunities as early as possible in your Dartmouth career. A faculty member can help you  explore what areas of Art History you might be interested in; plan a coherent program of study in the major or minor; consider the possibility of writing an honors thesis in the senior year; choose other College courses to intersect with your interests in Art History; think about language study, programs abroad, opportunities for research and travel, internships, fellowships, and art-related campus activities.


You should also familiarize yourself with the requirements for the major or minor, as well as with the variety of courses the Department of Art History offers. To help you work out a program of study, the Department has Major, Minor and Modified Major worksheets available, as well as a guide to the Distribution of Subject Matter of Art History Courses. When you are ready to declare the major or minor, you should discuss your worksheet with the Department Chair (Mary Coffey) and submit the worksheet to the Department Administrator (Samantha Potter). To complete this process, you must register with DegreeWorks through Banner Student.

Last Updated: 1/13/15