The story of the world and its unsolved historical mysteries is embedded in its art and architecture. Unlock mystifying works and fascinating moments in history by examining some of the most beautiful creations ever made by human hands. Art history is the interdisciplinary study of all great works of art, from the masterpieces of antiquity to the most cryptic contemporary works and how they reflect the time and place of their creation.
With a major or minor in art history, you’ll learn how to critically analyze works of art, architecture, and other forms of material culture. You’ll be challenged to interpret the visual world and investigate how the visual arts have reflected, reacted to, or shaped the world’s cultures. And you’ll gain a comprehensive knowledge of artists throughout history and their works, as well as the contexts and forces that shape them.
Related Fields of Study
As an art history student, you’ll have the combined advantage of a close-knit department and a broad curriculum that combines visual analysis with other areas of study, potentially allowing you to more successfully double major.
- Political science
- Studio art
Student Learning Outcomes
By completing a degree in art history, you will
- know the historical traditions and methods of interpretation in the visual arts;
- be able to analyze and interpret works of art through oral and written means;
- understand the rich and complex relationship of art to other aspects of culture;
- have had direct contact with art by completing studio art courses, class field trips and assignments, gallery internships, or study abroad experiences;
- understand intercultural knowledge and competence, as well as aesthetic and artistic engagement as they relate to the roles of individuals in society; and
- have developed critical thinking and problem-solving skills, along with creative thinking and artistic expression, and visual literacy.
General Education Requirements
The University of Minnesota and its faculty are committed to providing an education that invites you to investigate the world from new perspectives, learn new ways of thinking, and grow as an active citizen and lifelong learner. The University’s general education requirements are designed to be integrated throughout your four-year undergraduate experience. These courses provide you an opportunity to explore fields outside your major and complement your major curriculum with a multidisciplinary perspective.
Careers & Graduate School
Expertise in visual literacy—an ease with visual material and the ability to quickly grasp its message or allure—will give you professional advantages in almost any field you enter after graduation.
With an art history degree from UMN Morris, you’ll consistently be able to use your skills to work in a broad range of fields. The following are examples of art history-related occupations.
- Art dealer/art sales
- Art gallery attendant
- Art teacher
- Graphic designer
- Interactive communications software developer
- Interior decorator
- Lithographic platemaker
- Museum collections registrar
- Public relations professional
The University of Minnesota Morris is a national public liberal arts college committed to making a high-quality education available to students from across the country. Expenses for housing, meals, books and supplies, transportation, loan fees, and personal expenditures can vary.
Students are immediately considered for a scholarship package upon admission to UMN Morris.
Research & Engagement
Pursuing scholarly activities as an undergraduate student will give you a head start on your career or graduate program, helping you advance professionally—before you graduate.
All UMN Morris students are encouraged to pursue opportunities for research. As an art history major, you may find these opportunities with the Morris Academic Partnership program or the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. Working closely with faculty, you may also have the opportunity to write and present papers at local and regional conferences.
Another option for research as an art history major is directed study in an area of special interest. If interested, consult with art history faculty to help shape a program of study on more focused topics. The following are successful examples of past directed studies.
- Focus Exhibition: The Women Degas Created (mock proposal and guide to a small exhibition on this theme)
- Quilting and Its Impact on Women in the U.S., Past and Present
- An Evaluation of Children’s Art History Books and a Proposal for a New Series
- Notre-Dame of Paris in Text and in Reality (combined with the Morris July in Paris program)
- Contemporary Art in Cameroon (combined with a study abroad program)
- Readings in Surrealism
Study Abroad opportunities are available and strongly encouraged.
Teaching assistantships are available for upper-level students majoring in art history. Students typically assist with introductory core courses. If interested, contact the professor teaching the course at least two months before the start of the semester to learn more.
Opportunities for Students
The Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) offers students an opportunity to present research plus scholarly and creative work. Types of presentations include posters, oral presentations, and short or abbreviated theatrical, dance, or musical performances.
The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) provides University of Minnesota undergraduates from every college, major, and discipline, the opportunity to partner with a faculty member on research or creative projects.
The University of Minnesota Morris offers the Morris Academic Partnership (MAP) program, in which faculty select academically talented, qualified second-year and third-year students to assist them in scholarly and creative projects. Selected MAP students undertake assignments intended to enhance their intellectual competence and increase their interest in graduate or professional study.
The Edward J. & Helen Jane Morrison Gallery is centrally located on the main floor in the Humanities Fine Arts building. The facility is ranked among the best of galleries on small liberal arts college campuses in the United States, offering the campus and the Morris community exhibits throughout the academic year.