Art History

Whether you want to be an archivist, manage a gallery or museum, or explore the depths of the world as an art historian, St. Ambrose has a unique and interdisciplinary program that will help you achieve your goals.

Our graduates work at the Figge Art Museum and teach undergraduates at the University of Iowa.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Interdisciplinary
  • Hands-on Career Development
  • 100% Acceptance Into Graduate Programs

students walking

students at tables

smiling student

Caring and knowledgeable faculty will guide you in exploring your interests in art history. Along the way, your understanding of history and culture will grow so that after graduation you are well-prepared to reach your goals.

Art History Fact Sheet

More information on the Art History Program

What will I learn?

You will learn the styles and functions of art during historical periods; study rich texts; survey the history and culture of Greece, Rome, the Medieval World, and Renaissance; and focus on the art, history, architecture, and culture of Western Europe.

Classes in graphic design and art history careers also are offered. All students get to choose a track that fits their goals. If you want immediate employment, choose an internship. If you want to continue to graduate school, choose a capstone project.

The high academic standards of our program have proven beneficial: Our students have a 100% acceptance rate into graduate programs.

What are some possible careers?

Our Art History program is very interdisciplinary, and many of our students pair this major with our unique Museum Studies minor to boost their professional opportunities. Either way, you have a variety of career options.

Here is a sampling:

  • Archivist
  • Museum professional
  • Art theft investigator
  • Art lawyer
  • Gallery owner or manager
  • Art appraiser
  • Art therapist
  • Art historian
  • Curator or critic

If you love art history but aren't sure how to use it in a career, these resources can help narrow your areas of interest:

What have alums of the program done?

Tessa Pozzi '16 was hired shortly after graduation as the Annual Giving Coordinator at the Figge Art Museum. She oversees membership and annual fundraising.

Joe Montez '13 continued his education at the University of Iowa, and earned a Master of Art History. He is now working on a PhD while also serving as a teaching and research assistant for the University of Iowa School of Art and Art History.

What about scholarships and grants?

For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award.

For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Click here to see our complete set of resources on Scholarships and Financial Aid


Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History (36 or 39 credits)

Art History majors pursue either a Capstone track (36 credits), intended for students who plan on pursuing graduate school opportunities, or the Internship track (39 credits), intended for students interested in professional development.

The track should be determined in consultation with Art History faculty, and students should determine and declare their track by the second semester of their junior year.

All courses below are 3 credits unless otherwise noted.

Required of all Art History majors:
+AH 250 (HIST 215) Art through the Ages I
+AH 251 Art through the Ages II

AH 450 Art Historical Methods & Careers

One of the following:
+AH 130 Introduction to Classical Studies
+AH 323 (HIST 321) Ancient Greece
+AH 324 (HIST 322) Ancient Rome
+AH 326 Christian through Byzantine

One of the following:
+WI-AH 343 The Medieval World
+AH 345 The Renaissance
+AH 346 Baroque & Rococo Art
+AH 353 Russia

One of the following:
+WI-AH 347 19th Century
+AH 350-WI American Art
+AH 351 20 Century

+AH 354 Contemporary Art
+AH 355 History of Graphic Design

One of the following:
+AH 120 Topics in Art History
+AH 320 Advanced Topics in Art History

+AH 352 Non-Western Art

Plus 6 additional credits in AH.
Plus 6 additional credits from AH, HIST, Classical Studies (CSM), or ART.
Either WI-AH 451 Capstone Research Experience (3 credits) OR AH 490 Internship in Art History (6 credits).

Read course descriptions in the online Course Catalog

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a degree in Art History as well as room for a second major (36 credits) in another discipline. This plan assumes the student has not taken three years of high school foreign language.

Details of this plan vary depending on course rotation. Sequence and timing of Gen Ed courses is flexible and can be adjusted based on course availability and requirements within second majors and/or minors.

Year One

AH 250/HIST 215 3 AH 251 Art through the Ages II 3
AH 120/LC Topics: Mythic Image 3 Social Sciences 3
HIST 102/LC Classical Mythology 3 Math 3
ENGL 101 English Composition 3 Creative Arts 3
Foreign Language 101 3 Foreign Language 102 3
Elective: New Student Seminar 1 IL 101 Information Literacy 1
Total Credits 16 Total Credits 16

Year Two

AH 250/HIST 215 (if not taken in First Year) 3 300-level AH 6
300-level AH 3 KIN 149 1
Oral Communication 3 PHIL/THEO 100-200 level 3
Natural Science 3 PHIL/THEO (any level) 3
PHIL/THEO 100-200 level 3 AH 490 Internship (1-6 credits) OR Course for 2nd major/minor 3
KIN activity course 1-2
Total Credits 16-17 Total Credits 16

Year Three

AH 490 Internship (1-6 credits) 3 AH 450 Art Historical Methods & Careers 3
300-level AH 3 300-level AH 3
PHIL/THEO 300-400 level 3 Course for second major or minor(s) 9
Course for second major or minor(s) 6
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

AH 451 Capstone [or AH 490 Internship] 3 AH 490 Internship (1-6 credits) 3
300-level AH 3 300-level AH 3
Course for second major or minor(s) 9 Course for second major or minor(s) 9
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15
Program Outcomes

Art History students will graduate having met the following four outcomes (in accordance with the recommended guidelines for accreditation with the National Association of Schools of Art and Design):

a. Graduates will possess general knowledge of the monuments and principal artists of major art periods of the past (Requires at least 17 credits at or above the 300-level, in accordance with previously approved curriculum for AH major.) ;
b. Graduates will possess general knowledge of world history;
c. Graduate will possess general knowledge of the tools and techniques of scholarship (through active research and the writing of analytical and critical essays);
d. Graduates will possess functional knowledge of the creative process (through at least 6 credits of foundation or other studio courses).

Minor in Art History (15 credits)

Choose 15 credits of Art History classes plus one additional 3-credit course in AH, ART, CSM, or HIST.

Minor in Museum Studies (18 credits)

+MUSE 380 Intro to Museum Studies (SP18), 3 credits
MUSE 381 Intro to Collections Management (FA17), 3 credits
MUSE 382 Intro to Exhibition Planning (FA18), 3 credits
MUSE 490 Internship, 3 credits
MKTG course or AH 450 Methods & Careers (FA17), 3 credits
3 additional credits of AH 490 or MUSE 490 at an approved site or one additional 3-credit AH, ART, or HIST course.*

*With approval of the program director, students interested in science or children's museums may substitute a relevant science or education course for the additional AH or HIST course requirement.

NOTE: Art History majors must take 15 distinct credits for the Museum Studies minor, in addition to the requirements for the AH major.

+ = Satisfies a General Education requirement
WI = Writing intensive

The Art History Program fosters an energetic exploration of art, architecture, and material culture through the study of primary visual and literary sources, with an emphasis on historical understanding, critical thinking, written and oral communication, and professional development.

Apply Visit Info


Terri Switzer, PhD

Art History
Ambrose Hall 320
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

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