Academic Programs

BA in Art History Requirements

Student looking at art on the walls of the Paul R. Jones Museum in Tuscaloosa.Program Overview 

NEW: The bachelor of arts in art history is designed to provide the undergraduate student with a broad understanding of the history of world art accompanied by an understanding of theory, analysis, and criticism. In art history courses, the student learns about works of art and their production in a global and historical context.  Graduates emerge with a functional knowledge of creative processes as well as the tools and techniques of scholarship – including discipline-specific research methodologies and critical thinking. The student acquires skills in formal analysis, critical thinking, understanding the social production of art, and discovering the role that museums and art galleries play in our contemporary culture.

Interested in upgrading your art history minor to a major?!

Looking for MA in Art History?

Program Objectives

Students graduating with the B.A. in art history will demonstrate:

  • Broad knowledge of monuments and principal artists representing major periods in the history of art
  • In writing, in-depth knowledge of multiple periods in the history of art, with a concentration in at least one area
  • Excellence in the use of discipline-specific research tools and techniques of scholarship
  • Knowledge of at least one foreign language (preferably French or German) to support the reading of primary source material

Career Opportunities

Art history students at UA visit the Permanent Collection’s curation space.

The BA in art history opens a world of opportunities and provides a foundation for careers in:

  • K-12 teaching
  • Libraries
  • Public arts organizations; non-profit organizations; grant writing
  • Museums, galleries, auction houses, with continued studies at the graduate level
  • University-level teaching with continued studies at the graduate level
  • Students and graduates of the program have secured internships and/or employment in museums, including the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum; the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; the Barnes Foundation; the Met Cloisters; the Birmingham Museum of Art; Freeman’s Auction House; and others.
  • Students interested in pursuing advanced study in art history have been accepted into graduate programs at Case Western Reserve University; the University of Georgia; Florida State University; the University of Chicago; the Parsons School of Design; New York University (Institute of Fine Arts); the University of Kansas; Washington University, St. Louis; Sotheby’s; and many others.

Read more about UA art history alumni. Read about recent art history news and events at UA.

Facilities and Resources

Read about the research and creativity of our students and faculty.

Find out what our current art history students and faculty are up to, and see what our graduates are doing.

Program Requirements

Art history graduate student Morgan Heard presenting thesis research at SECAC, Birmingham, 2018
Art history graduate student Morgan Heard presenting thesis research at SECAC.

The major in art history requires 39 hours of art history courses, including:

6 hours of introductory coursework (selected from ARH 252, ARH 253, and ARH 254)

3 hours of non-Western courses (selected from ARH 254, ARH 352, ARH 358) ADD OTHERS

15 hours of ARH electives

9 hours of ARH electives at the 300/400 levels

6 hours of Capstone (ARH 490 and another 3 hours of 400 level coursework. These are typically taken in the junior or senior year and planned under the guidance of the student’s departmental advisor. It is advised, though not required that ARH 490 and the 400 level seminar should be taken in sequence.)

6 hours of studio art (ART) courses (the studio art courses familiarize the student with the basic techniques and methods of art production). 6-8 hours of foreign language (successful completion of one year of university-level proficiency or equivalent proficiency in a single foreign language, preferably French or German) is required.

  • French and German are the preferred languages because they are required by most MA and PhD programs in art history, including the MA program of The University of Alabama.
  • Any other language taken to fulfill the art history requirements must be approved by the art history faculty of the department of art and art history.
  • It is recommended (but not required) that students, especially those considering graduate work in art history, pursue study of that foreign language for a second year (or through the 200 level).

A student majoring in art history must declare a minor.

  • In general, the student should choose a minor that complements the major.
  • Recommended minors include French or German or another language, as well as English, history, religion, anthropology or American studies.
  • Students interested in pursuing a career in arts administration may wish to minor in business or advertising.
  • Because the minor requirements vary by department, the student should check the catalog before declaring a minor.

Go to the BA in Art History 4-Year Plan

Go to the UA Undergraduate Course Catalog for Art History BA.

For more information contact Dr. Tanja Jones, Undergraduate Program Director.

Art History Facultystudents gathered around a seminar table