The B.A. degree in art history trains students to negotiate a world saturated with images. It challenges students to confront critically the issues posed by the visual culture that mediates their understanding of the past, present and future. Built on the fertile exchange between the arts and the humanities, art history at SMU subscribes to an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach to learning. Students are taught to think across current categories and boundaries and practice a socially responsible art history.
In addition to developing acute visual sensibilities, students acquire the ability to evaluate and organize information, conduct scholarly research and articulate their ideas in both written and spoken language. Students completing this course of study are prepared for advanced training in the field of art history; museum and gallery professions; or work in a broad range of other fields, including publishing, arts administration, teaching and public policy.
Foundation Courses. All students must enroll in a three-class art history foundations sequence beginning in the first fall term following declaration of the major.
Temporalities/Global Perspectives Courses. Temporalities courses are upper-level art history courses that offer frameworks for a broad understanding of temporal dimensions: a duration of time, the power of some areas over others, the telescoping of past into present and vice versa, or questions of recurrence across time. The global perspectives designation is used for courses that are structured around distinctive spatial dimensions: a geographic feature like an ocean, territorial boundaries, colonial expansion, national imaginaries, subcultures or other social spaces of artistic production.
Required Methods and Theories Courses. These small, upper-level art history classes are reading and writing intensive and offer the occasion to think critically and carefully about the dynamics of historical change and to engage with issues and debates in art history.
Minimum required grade: Only courses passed with a grade of C or better will count toward the major in art history. Courses passed with a grade of C- or less may count toward other, elective requirements in a student’s degree plan.
Many art history majors use free elective hours to complete minors or second majors in fields such as anthropology, chemistry (for conservation), English, history, international business, international studies, languages and psychology.