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, lively, and career-focused program that will help you achieve your goals.

Our graduates work in fundraising, human resources, libraries, museums and research centers, and have enrolled in graduate programs across the U.S.


Ambrose Advantages

  • Hands-on Career Development
  • Lively Teaching & Charismatic Faculty
  • 100% Acceptance Into Graduate Programs

male student examining graphic design

students in Putnam archives

man hanging up print

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 (pdf)


Museum Studies Minor

students in Putnam archives
Add a Museum Studies minor to your degree

Students can combine courses, such as introduction to museum studies, exhibition planning, and collection management with internships, marketing, and courses related to their specific discipline and museum interests.

Article: New Minor Builds on Museum Growth


More information on the Art History Program

What will I learn?

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

We offer traditional and non-traditional classes. 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.

You can also learn about the history of comics or study mythical images. These non-traditional art history courses let you study topics ranging from Odysseus to Luke Skywalker, and from Neil Gaiman to Dante. 

Classes in graphic design and art history careers also are offered.

We give you two paths from which to choose: a capstone track if you plan to attend graduate school or an internship track if you plan to work immediately after graduation. Either way, we have high academic standards our students appreciate. As a result, our art history majors have earned a 100% acceptance rate into graduate programs in museum studies, archival studies, art history, history, art therapy, library science, and fine arts. Many of our graduates receive fellowships.

This degree satisfies many general education courses and pairs well with other degrees. Many students choose to double major in marketing, art, theatre, and criminal justice.

What makes Art History unique at SAU?
  • At SAU, you can study topics ranging from Odysseus to Luke Skywalker. We offer traditional courses in Russian art history, museum studies, and non-traditional courses such as the History of Comics and The Mythic Image. Our faculty encourages creative research projects, such as creating an ancient Greek pot or investigating themes in modern game and film.
  • We are proactive in your professional development. Your advisor helps you find the best combination of majors, minors, and internships to meet your career goals. You will learn the skills of résumé writing and interviewing as well as study career options in a required, upper-level course. We make sure your unique educational experience is relevant in today's job market and encourage you to volunteer, intern, or work at local museums and institutions.
  • We give you two paths from which to choose: a capstone track if you plan to attend graduate school or an internship track if you plan to work immediately after graduation. Art History students have interned at more than 15 sites throughout the Quad Cities including the Figge Art Museum, Putnam Museum, Rock Island Historical Society, German-American Heritage Center, and the Bettendorf Family Museum.
  • Join SAU's League of Art History Enthusiasts. This student organization provides community and support, even after graduation. Students organize art history-themed parties, trips to museums and galleries, and dinner and movie nights.
  • The Quad Cities offers a great community to help you prepare for, or even start, your career. The metro area has a reputation as a vibrant center for the arts and provides exceptional opportunities for networking, internships, and jobs.
Learn How Art History Helps You Succeed

"What on earth is anyone going to 'do' with a degree in art history? The answer, frankly, is anything you want." (The Independent)

Click on the following links to read more about the value of studying the humanities, including history and art history:  

At a loss for what to do? Why not History of Art? (The Independent)

15 Useful Skills You Learn As An Art History Major (BusinessInsider.com)

To Succeed in Business, Major in Art History (The Huffington Post)

Why Scientists Should Study Art And Literature (Forbes)

Learning Medicine by Looking at Art (WGBH news)

Gary Radke, "What Good is a Degree in Renaissance Art History?"

HISTORY:
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns on the important subject you won't learn in business school (The Business Insider)

History isn't a 'useless' major. It teaches critical thinking, something America needs plenty more of (Los Angeles Times)


HUMANITIES:
HumanitiesWatch.org

Jeffrey Brown with John Lithgow and Richard Brodhead: Commission on Diminished Humanities

Karl Eikenberry: The Heart of the Matter (Chicago Humanities Festival)

The Unexpected Schools Championing the Liberal Arts (The Atlantic)

View: What to study at college, and why (The Journal News)

Counting (on) Success: Does an Education in the Humanities Count in Today's Day and Age? (The Huffington Post)

Why America's obsession with STEM education is dangerous (The Washington Post)

A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements To Lure English Majors (NPR)

We Need The Liberal Arts More Than Ever In Today's Digital World, Fareed Zakaria Says (The World Post)

Why I Was Wrong About Liberal-Arts Majors (The Wall Street Journal)

Why study liberal arts? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

What are some possible careers?

Our Art History program is very interdisciplinary, and you can pair this major with our unique Museum Studies minor to boost your professional opportunities. Many students also choose to double major in marketing, art, theatre, and criminal justice.

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.

Lauren Pierce '11 earned her Master of Library Science (MLS) degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She works as a reference librarian at the Galesburg Public Library. "Taking art history classes helped improve my research and writing skills. I learned to see history through the eyes of the artists and to use art, as well as written evidence, as sources for interpreting history."

Hannah Gough '10 lives in Chicago where she works in Human Resources for the Adler Planetarium and runs her own career development business, reRighters.com.

Faculty

Terri Switzer, Professor and Program Director

Ethan Gannaway, Scholar-in-Residence

Degree Requirements

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

The SAU Art History majors 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.

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

FallCreditSpringCredit
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

FallCreditSpringCredit
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

FallCreditSpringCredit
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

FallCreditSpringCredit
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)

Required:
+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.

Scholarships and Grants

Undergraduate Scholarships

For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award; some of them are listed below.

For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The SAU school code is 001889.

You may also qualify for a scholarship or grant due to your talent in the fine arts or athletics. Give us a call or send an email so we can get to know you and find the best package for you. (You're also encouraged to seek outside scholarships and begin that search early.)

First-Year Scholarships

Amounts are for first-year students entering St. Ambrose in the 2019-20 academic year. There is no need to apply for the scholarships or grants below; students automatically are eligible if they meet specific criteria. The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

Your scholarship will automatically renew each year of your undergraduate studies, for up to four years, as long as you maintain satisfactory progress toward an undergraduate degree, a minimum 2.0 GPA, and remain a full-time student. 

On Campus (Merit-Based Scholarships)

Trustee Scholarships
Criteria: 4.0 GPA and minimum 30 ACT or 1390 SAT score
Award: $23,000 per year and invited to compete for a full tuition scholarship

Presidential Scholarships
Criteria: minimum 3.8 GPA and 28 ACT or 1310 SAT score
Award: $20,000 per year

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $14,000 per year, $15,000 per year, $16,000 per year or $17,000 per year

University Grants
Criteria: based on GPA and ACT/SAT score
$12,000 per year

On Campus (Additional Institutional Scholarships)

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $1,000 per year

Fr. Menke Catholic Parish Scholarships
Criteria: member of Catholic parish in the Diocese of Davenport
Award: varies

Freeman Pollard Diversity Awards
Criteria: diverse student
Award: $1,000/year

Off Campus (Merit-Based Scholarships)

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $11,000 per year, $12,000 per year, $13,000 per year or $14,000 per year

University Grants
Criteria: based on GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $10,000 per year

Off-Campus (Additional Institutional Scholarships)

Fr. Menke Catholic Parish Scholarships
Criteria: member of Catholic parish in the Diocese of Davenport
Award: varies

Freeman Pollard Diversity Awards
Criteria: diverse student
Award: $500 per year

Transfer Scholarships

Amounts are for transfer students entering St. Ambrose in the 2019-20 academic year. 

St. Ambrose scholarships are awarded for fall and spring semesters only and renewable up to 120 credits of undergraduate study, which includes credits transferred to St. Ambrose from prior attendance. For example: If you transfer in with an AA/AS degree, you would receive a scholarship for two additional years at St. Ambrose.

Scholarships

Phi Theta Kappa
Criteria: awarded to all Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society members transferring from a community college
Award: $14,000

OR

Transfer Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on GPA
Awards:
3.5-4.00 GPA $13,000 
3.0-3.49 GPA $12,000
2.5-2.99 GPA $11,000 
2.0-2.49 GPA $9,000 

Out-of-State Grants
Criteria: non-Iowa resident
Award: $1,000 per year

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate; on-campus students only
Award: $1,000 per year

Dual Admission Scholarships
Criteria: participant in SAU/community college dual admission program
Award: $1,000 per year

Freeman Pollard Diversity Awards
Criteria: diverse student
Award: $1,000 per year on-campus; $500 per year off-campus

Federal and State Aid

Federal Pell Grant
Criteria: based on financial need; file FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $6,095 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Criteria: based on financial need, priority to Pell Grant recipients. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1.
Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study
Criteria: based on financial need. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1
Award: $1,850

Iowa Tuition Grant
Criteria: based on financial need, Iowa residents only. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1, deadline July 1.
Award: $5,650

Athletic Scholarships

As a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), St. Ambrose can award athletic scholarships to student athletes. These scholarships allow you to earn a college education while competing in the sport that you love. At Ambrose, we embody that value of developing both the mind and body.

How do I qualify for an athletic scholarship?
You must first be eligible to play a sport at St. Ambrose. You can read about those qualifications here. The NAIA also has a complete website on how to register for eligibility at playNAIA.org

Fine Arts Scholarships

How do I qualify for a fine arts scholarship? 
Scholarships are awarded based on performance and ability in art, music and theatre. Review the various requirements below:

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Bee Central where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.


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Contact


Terri Switzer, PhD

Art History
Ambrose Hall 230
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
563-333-6142
SwitzerTerri@sau.edu

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