Art stands at the intersection of culture, politics, religion, and philosophy, making it an ideal discipline within which to engage in the liberal arts. Through the practice and analysis of art, students develop a rich understanding of how and why works of art are made, why art has played an integral role in human experience since the beginning of human civilization, and how to apply their understanding of visual expression to professions in the arts, as well as a wide range of other careers.There are two options for completing the major, emphasizing the study of either art history or studio art. For an explanation of the two options within the Art and Art History major, see the Academic Bulletin.
Courses appropriate for prospective majors
The usual way to begin the major is with one of the introductory courses (100 level) in studio or art history, or one of many appropriate 200 level courses that do not have pre-requisites.
Prospective majors concentrating in art history are advised to schedule ARTH 101 or ARTH 102: Introduction to Art History, or an appropriate 200-level course in the first year.
Prospective majors in studio art are advised to schedule ARTH 101 or 102, and ARTH 122 Fundamentals of Composition and Drawing, or ARTH 123, Fundamentals of Sculpture and Three-Dimensional Design, in the first year, if possible.
For course descriptions and requirements for the major, refer to the Academic Bulletin: Art & Art History. Students wishing to major or minor in Art and Art History should announce their intentions to the Art & Art History Department Chairperson as soon as possible; we like to include our majors and minors in all departmental activities.
Courses that fulfill distribution requirements
Arts (Division I C):
Any course in the department may be used to fulfill the Arts course.
Courses offered in non-Western art will fulfill this requirement.
Suggested curricular flow through the major
The A&AH major was designed with the hope that all of our students would spend a year or semester studying abroad during their junior year. As a result, we developed the curriculum so that a student who did spend a year abroad could complete all the requirements for the major, as long as she or he followed a few guidelines.
The guidelines are written for the entering student who knows he or she wants to major in A&AH. Rather than specify the courses that you “must” have in a given semester, the following are general guidelines regarding courses that we suggest you take during each year. You should think of these guidelines as giving you a fast track into the major – this provides maximum flexibility in your junior and senior year. To study abroad in art history for a full year, the Department requires students to have had at least four art history courses consisting of two intros and two courses at the upper level (one must be a 300-level course). One intro and three courses at the upper level are also acceptable. For one semester, a minimum of three classes, including one intro and two at the upper level. To study abroad in studio art for a full year, three studio and one art history courses are required; for a semester, two studio courses and one art history.
For information regarding the suggested guidelines, please feel free to contact an A&AH faculty member. Students not following these guidelines may still be able to study for a year abroad and still complete the major, but might face a more demanding senior year.
Introductory level courses should be taken first for both art history and studio tracks. 101, 102, 122, 123. 200-level courses without pre-requisites may also be taken at the initial stages of the major.
200 level courses normally follow, with 207 in art history being offered only during the spring semesters. Ideally, 207 should be taken prior to 407 (senior seminar). 300-level courses, however, may also follow directly from 100-level introductory courses.
407 and 410 (art history and studio senior seminars), are taken in the fall semester of the senior year.
One especially challenging part of the major are the senior seminars in art history and studio art. They involve an integrated, professionally-oriented experience wherein students in art history curate a formal exhibition in The Trout Gallery accompanied by a published, scholarly catalogue containing original research and essays. Studio majors undertake an analogous exhibition in The Trout Gallery wherein the works are curated from their own art produced during the seminar. They also write artist-statements for a published catalogue. For further information, see the A&AH web site.
For more explicit advising guidelines, contact an A&AH faculty member or see “Advising Guidelines” on the A&AH web site.
Department of Art & Art History majors may seek Honors, the highest academic award a department can bestow. For students in the Art History concentration honors in the major are by the invitation of department faculty following self-nomination by February of the junior year. Students undertake a year-long independent study with an advisor, and will be expected to present their work to a Dickinson audience at the end of the senior year. Students in the Studio Art concentration are invited to apply for honors during the second semester of senior year if they have a 3.7 GPA, or above, within the major by the end of first semester senior year. Eligible students are asked to submit a portfolio that outlines their senior thesis body of work and give a supporting talk to faculty and majors.
Independent study and independent research
Independent study courses are to be set up through consultation with an Art and Art History department advisor and instructor of the course. A proposal of the topic, and program of work must be submitted to the instructor for approval.
Through The Trout Gallery and other regional museums, galleries, art associations, commercial galleries, and architectural firms, the Department of Art & Art History offers internships to advanced students. In the past, art history majors have undertaken museum internships at The Metropolitan Museum, the Springfield (MA) Museum of Fine Arts, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, while studio and art history majors have interned at commercial galleries in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and New York City; these internships have included conservation and restoration work. Consult the departmental internship adviser and the college internship coordinator.
Opportunities for off-campus study
Students in Art and Art History can pursue study on Dickinson programs in Toulouse, Norwich, Bremen, and Bologna, and can also undertake semester and full-year options at Dickinson-approved programs in Florence (Syracuse University, SACI) and Rome (Temple University).
Related Activities: The Arts Collective is the student organization related to the Art & Art History Department. This group participates in organizing social events, films, field trips, and exhibitions for students interested in art and art history. Also, the Arts Collective annually presents a Senior award to the outstanding graduating major.
Majors Committee: Majors, elected from a slate of self-nominees, attend departmental meetings and serve as liaisons between faculty and other majors.
Careers: Many recent graduates are pursuing advanced Art & Art History degrees, preparing to become scholars and teachers, or working on MFA's in preparation for careers as artists. Others are employed as architects, curators in museums, directors/owners of art galleries, news photographers, stage designers, fashion designers, and appraisal experts. Art & Art History majors have also become lawyers, doctors, dentists, research scientists, and designers and buyers in business. Consult with an Art & Art History Department advisor for additional information and advice regarding careers in the visual arts.
Off-Campus Additional Information: Students may also study studio art and art history on two Dickinson partner programs in Florence, Italy: Syracuse University for art history and SACI for studio art. Students interested in these programs will want to consult with their advisors or the department chair regarding these programs and the requirements for each. Links to these programs are found on the A&AH department web page.