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Art and Art History Advising


The Art & Art History major can be completed with a concentration in either art history or studio art. Courses at the introductory and intermediate levels allow students to develop a critical understanding of formal and conceptual aspects of art that form a foundation for work at the advanced level. The department encourages students to take a diverse mix of courses, which will facilitate a greater depth of knowledge as students work toward intensive research and artistic practice during senior year.

Courses appropriate for prospective majors

Introductory level courses should be taken first: 101, 102, and 108 for art history; 122, 123, 221, or 224/226 for studio. These courses will fulfill prerequisites for 200 and 300 level courses. 200-level courses without prerequisites may also be taken at the initial stages of the major.

Please note: studio students with sufficient experience might be eligible to place out of the 122 Fundamentals of Composition and Drawing course. This is contingent on a portfolio review and consultation with your advisor. In the case of a student placing out of 122, the requirement for the major will be made up with an extra elective. 

Courses that fulfill distribution requirements

Arts requirement:
Any course in the department may be taken to fulfill the Arts requirement.

Comparative Civilizations:
Courses offered in non-Western art will fulfill this requirement, including ARTH108, 205 (as appropriate to topic), 209, 305, and 391 (as appropriate to topic).

Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Certificate Program:

ARTH 130 Art and Sustainability

Suggested curricular flow through the major

Rather than specify courses in a specific order semester by semester, the following are general guidelines regarding the trajectory of the major. First and second year students should focus on introductory (100-level) and intermediate (200-level) courses that provide a foundation for advanced study during the junior and senior years. Upon declaring the major students should meet with advisors to map a path through the major that aligns with specific goals and interests while providing a range of knowledge. Please be aware when you plan your courses through the four years that some requirements are offered in specific semesters, for example, Art History 101 is only offered during the fall semester.

Senior Seminars

The Art History Senior Seminar, 407, is taken during the fall semester of senior year. The Senior Studio Art Seminar consists of two courses, 410 in the fall and 411 in the spring. Both courses must be taken sequentially during senior year in order to complete the major in studio art. 

The senior seminars in art history and studio provide intensive capstones to the major. They involve an integrated, professional-level 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 that showcases a body of work produced over the course of senior year and is accompanied by a catalogue with images and artist statements. For further information, see the A&AH web site.


Department of Art & Art History majors may seek Honors, the highest academic award a department can bestow.

For the art history concentration, honors may be pursued by the invitation of department faculty following self-nomination the spring of their junior year to undertake a year-long independent study with an advisor. A Departmental GPA of a minimum 3.3 at the time of application. During the Summer after the Junior Year, each applicant submits a 2-page proposal that outlines an independent research project significantly above the level of required courses, and which asks the Department for permission to enroll in Independent Research during both the Fall and Spring semesters of the Senior year. These courses will count toward graduation and will receive grades, regardless of the outcome of the Honors project. If the student's proposal is accepted by the Department, the student is identified as a Candidate for Honors. Each Candidate will work with a Departmental advisor (and other Department faculty, as appropriate) throughout the Senior year, and will produce a research paper. At a designated time during the Spring of the Senior year, each candidate will submit a final paper, at least 30 pages in length, which is bound and kept on file in the Art & Art History Department and the College Archives. The student will also make an appropriate formal public presentation of the research (that is, a lecture on the topic). Normally, all members of the Art & Art History Faculty attend each such presentation. The candidate must be prepared to defend all aspects of the work at this presentation.

Honors in the studio art concentration is awarded to students having produced a body of thesis work exemplifying formal and conceptual excellence. In order for studio art students to qualify as candidates for honors, they must have a 3.7 GPA, in the major, at the end of the first semester of senior year. Students meeting this criteria will be considered official candidates for honors. Upon the completion of senior gallery talks in support of The Trout Gallery thesis exhibition, studio art faculty will determine if the quality of a candidates thesis work merits the distinction of honors. Honors in studio art is assessed by considering the depth and rigor of the investigation that takes place during senior year. The ability to successfully connect conceptual and formal elements in the body of work, in addition to positioning the work within the context of historical and contemporary approaches is critical. Evolution, the willingness to take risks in an attempt to push beyond convention, and the ability to produce a cohesive body of resolved work will guide faculty members final decision.

Independent study and independent research

Independent study courses are undertaken through consultation with an Art and Art History department advisor and potential instructor of the course. A proposal of the topic and program of work must be submitted to the instructor for approval.


The Department of Art & Art History can organize internships for advanced students through The Trout Gallery and other regional museums, galleries, art associations, commercial galleries, and architectural firms. In the past, art history majors have undertaken museum internships at The Metropolitan Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walters Art Gallery, The State Museum of Harrisburg, and the Springfield (MA) Museum of Fine Arts, among others. Studio and art history majors have also interned at commercial galleries in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and New York City and some these internships have included conservation and restoration work.

Opportunities for off-campus study

The Art & Art History major was designed to allow students to spend a year or semester studying abroad during their junior year. Students planning on going abroad should meet with their advisor as early as possible, so that they can map out a path through the major. This is especially important for any student that is attempting to double major in addition to going abroad. The advising guide specifies courses that should be completed before leaving campus.

To study abroad in art history for a full year, the department suggests that students have completed at least four art history courses consisting of two at the intro level 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 a semester abroad, a minimum of three classes is recommended, including one intro and two at the upper level. To study abroad in studio art for a full year, three studio courses and one art history are suggested; for a semester, two studio courses and one art history.

The Department of Art & Art History has two official partner programs that are highly recommended for majors looking to study abroad. For art history, the Syracuse University program in Florence, Italy is recommended and for studio art, the Temple University program in Rome, Italy. Both programs are considered top abroad programs in their areas of focus and offer a diverse range of courses. For students going on other Dickinson programs and partner programs it might be possible to find an art history or studio course, but certain programs have limitations in the study of art and this is not always possible. Thorough research and consultation with your academic advisor, and director of the specific abroad program, is required to determine what possibilities might exist.

For information regarding the suggested guidelines, please feel free to contact an Art & Art History faculty member. Students not following these guidelines may still be able to study abroad and complete the major, but will likely face a highly demanding senior year.

Additional Remarks

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, nominated by faculty, 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 in Art & Art History have the opportunity to study abroad at Dickinson programs, or partner programs, in Rome, Florence, Toulouse, Norwich, Bremen, and Bologna. It is importnat to consult with your advisor during sophmore year to determine the program that will work best based on your interests and the courses that need to be completed in the major. Studio art students are highly encouraged to study at the Temple University partner program in Rome, Italy. Art History students are generally encouraged to attend the Syracuse University partner program in Florence. Please see the "Study Abroad" page on the Art & Art History website for more information.