Art History

What Is It?:

Art History gives students the ability to interpret art as a record of social and personal experience, to assess complex and conflicting arguments critically, to understand and to interpret a diverse range of artistic traditions. Students acquire a broad education that will allow them to advance in a wide variety of careers, including (but not limited to) the arts, business, law, and education. An art history major also prepares students for graduate study in the field, which can lead to a career as a university professor or in a museum.

What is the difference between the LAS Art History major and the FAA Art History major?

There are two ways to major in art history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Students may work toward either a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the College of Fine and Applied Arts or a Bachelor of Arts degree in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The B.F.A. program requires more studio courses, while the B.A. program requires more extensive study in the humanities. Both majors have a Senior Honors Program that is strongly recommended to qualified students. This program offers seniors the opportunity to work closely with a member of the faculty researching and writing a scholarly paper over the course of two semesters.

For more information, please visit the School of Art and Design.

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • ARTH 111—Ancient and Medieval Art
  • ARTH 112—Renaissance and Modern Art
  • ARTH 113—Introduction to African Art

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

  • Art librarian
  • Architectural conservation
  • Art gallery and actuation houses
  • Art investment
  • Art law
  • Corporate curator
  • Freelance writing
  • Governmental agencies
  • Independent producer
  • Museum work
    • Administration
    • Conservation
    • Curatorial
    • Education
    • Exhibition installation
    • Reproductions and retailing
  • Preservation and conservation
  • Publishing
  • Teaching
  • Visual resource material librarian

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Author
  • Curator
  • Curatorial Researcher
  • Documentary Researcher
  • Conservator
  • Critic
  • Grant Writer
  • Educational Coordinator
  • Lecturer
  • Librarian
  • Museum Director

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • Society for Art History and Archaeology: Builds bridges between graduate students of various interests in art history, archaeology, and architecture, and develops their professional skills by providing a forum for formal and informal discussion.

Related Skills:

  • Ability to communicate through the materials used to create works of art
  • Analytical thinking
  • Creativity/inventive skills
  • Discipline and perseverance to build skills in different techniques by working and reworking art
  • Research and writing skills to combine visual analysis of works of art with in-depth research
  • Visual Analysis

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Art History, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major.

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Art History.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Art History.  These organizations include Association for Art Historians and College Art Association

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Art History in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, visit Undergraduate Programs.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Art History in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, visit Undergraduate Programs.