Art History

Art history is the study of the traditions and techniques of the visual arts. It is an interdisciplinary field, drawing upon philosophy, history, literature, religion, and mythology to examine works of art and their contexts. The history of art provides means to penetrate cultural constructions and their aesthetic and artistic productions.

Each semester, art history field trips travel to study works in regional museums. The West Virginia University Art Collection provides first-hand experience with works of significant aesthetic and cultural value, and introduces students to curatorial and museum practice. Guest artist and art historian lectures and exhibitions in the Mesaros Galleries are scheduled each semester.

In order to broaden their experiences, students are encouraged to study abroad during one or two semesters of the junior year. Opportunities to study the history of art are also available within the School of Art and Design’s established International summer programs in Italy and China. In the final semester, the student will complete a senior research project on a topic selected by the student with the approval of the art history faculty.

Bachelor of Arts in Art History

The Bachelor of Arts in Art History provides a foundation in the history of art and architecture in its cultural and theoretical context. School of Art and Design courses in Art History introduce tools for the making and analysis of art, including the history of works of art, the language of art, and the cultural context for works of art… Learn more about the BA curriculum

Minor in Art History

Students who pursue degrees in other disciplines may find that the study of art history enhances comprehension of their primary field of study and permits them to achieve a broader and deeper understanding of cultural history… Learn more about the Art History minor

Master of Arts in Art History

The Master of Arts in Art History program offers a two-year M.A. degree, ensuring a solid foundation in major areas of Western Art History and theory. The program emphasizes independent exploration and interdisciplinary research. The Master of Arts in Art History degree at WVU provides a foundation in historical and theoretical study of the history of Western Art, from Medieval to Contemporary Art. The degree is administered by the School of Art and Design, a strong studio art undergraduate and M.F.A. program. The Paul and Laura Mesaros Galleries in the Creative Arts Center and the Visiting Artists program form a crucial link in the course of studies, presenting installation and curatorial opportunities and WVU’s association with regional museums and galleries encourages internships. Interdisciplinary courses of study may be arranged in consultation with faculty. Reading proficiency in one language other than English is required for the completion of the degree and writing and speaking skills needed to communicate clearly and effectively are required. To assist the student in achieving these objectives, the course of study includes requirements in academic course work, language, and research. Completion of the program culminates in the Master’s thesis, which may take a variety of forms within the context of art history and critical practices.

Two Year (30 credit hour) M.A. in Art History Graduate Program Checklist:
21 credit hours in Art History

6 credit hours in Cognate Classes
(It is recommended that these courses be outside the School of Art)

3 credit hours Master’s Thesis

For more information on applying to the Graduate Program: