Art History Program Goals
Intro Level Courses and Gen Ed (ARTH 100 - 199)
1. Study range of art and architectural works within historical and cultural contexts.
Develop skills in visual observation and analysis, learn to write organized and critical papers that employ the basic research methods of art history.
2. Become familiar with several of the Washington area’s major museums; begin examining works of art and architectural in the original.
3. Learn fundamentals of drawing or design through a studio art course; bring a basic understanding of art materials and techniques to their art history studies.
Through gallery-based classes and informal visits, art history students look at current art work by students, faculty, and visiting artists, and learn to appreciate relationships between concepts and developments of art in history and today.
1. Students understand that visual art and imagery require intelligent looking and thinking in ways that they need to develop consciously.
Students can describe works objectively and interpret works of art from a range of historical periods, respectful of each culture, in both oral and written analysis.
2. Students can apply classroom discussion of art to approach unfamiliar art intelligently and objectively.
3. Students gain understanding of how art is made and hone their ability to look at a variety of work and make unbiased aesthetic and critical judgments. They apply learned skills of observation and build confidence in their own ability to assess works of art.
Intermediate Level Courses (ARTH 200 - 399)
1. Lecture courses emphasize research methods in relation to specific periods or themes in art history. Students learn to work with a variety of primary and secondary sources, including online resources, and original works of art in museums and galleries. Papers build research and writing skills needed for advanced work.
1. Students demonstrate ability to discuss art movements and individual works in class, and to write research papers using art in museums and other appropriate sources and following standard academic format. They use proper citations for written materials and works of art, and demonstrate understanding of historical and conceptual framework of their topics.
They continue to develop abilities to interpret and assess works of art.
Upper Level Courses - Seminars, Theses, Internships (ARTH 400 - 499)
1. In seminars, students conduct research using a range of specialized art history literature and, when feasible, direct examination of works of art. Those who plan graduate study are encouraged to use languages needed for scholarship in their subjects.
Students often do some of the seminar work in small groups and learn to collaborate on projects.
2. Students proposing and writing theses develop a substantial research project beyond the scope of a one-semester seminar. With faculty guidance, they learn to organize complex topics effectively, conduct research independently, and handle the tasks of writing and editing necessary for a successful academic paper.
Through the experience of writing a thesis they also learn some of the obstacles and pitfalls encountered in research.
3. Internships in art museums or galleries teach students to apply their art historical knowledge and skills to real tasks in a professional setting.
Working under the direction of a curator, registrar, museum education specialist, or gallery director gives students the chance to assess their own aptitude for work in this field.
Besides fulfilling the requirements of the position, students keep internship journals, meet regularly with a faculty sponsor and other interns.
Internships require a tangible product such as didactic materials for an exhibition, or a study guide for teachers, that can be monitored and evaluated by the faculty sponsor.
1. Class presentations and papers demonstrate deeper understanding of the discipline of art history, its methods of research, and relationships to other disciplines. Students can present informed opinions and assessments of the scholarship and evidence pertinent to the topic or problem under investigation.
Through seminar reports, students engage in an activity similar to the sharing of research at scholarly meetings; they experience the interactions between independent and collaborative work.
2. Students show understanding of research in the field and the concept of developing an original idea or a new contribution to existing scholarship.
They develop an ability to integrate visual observations and interpretations into other interpretive arenas, such as literature, theology, science, politics, sociology and art criticism.
3. Students show the ability to work within the professional framework of a museum department or gallery and handle tasks appropriate to entry-level staff members.
Through journals and reports they demonstrate basic understanding of a museum department or specialization, the nature of interactions among departments and institutions, and between the museum and its public.
Individual projects show strong research capabilities and ability to apply research to a practical goal.
Students’ journals provide records of training and assignments and include some reflective synthesis of their experiences, usually indicating directions for further professional training.