Art History


If you see art as a form of language, for its beauty and deep reflection of history and culture, we'll teach you how to preserve and grow collections, articulate the stories, and honor the truth expressed in art.

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
  • Integrated BA/MA Degrees in Art History & Museum Studies
  • 100% Acceptance Into Graduate Programs

male student examining graphic design

students in Putnam archives

man hanging up print

Gain the skills to be an archivist, manage a gallery or museum, or explore the depths of the world as an art historian. SAU offers a unique, lively, and career-focused program to help you achieve 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 program is an energetic exploration of art, architecture, and material culture through the study of primary visual and literary sources. It emphasizes historical understanding, critical thinking, written and oral communication, and professional development.

Through traditional and non-traditional classes, you 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.

You have 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?
  • We've created a partnership with Western Illinois University that allows you to earn two degrees in five years: a BA in Art History from SAU and an MA in Museum Studies from Western. Devin Oake ‘18 believes the partnership is a win for students who also see their future in museum science. Read this story.
  • 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.
  • You'll learn and be guided by faculty who really care about your success. Read this story about Sarah Heffron '19 who double-majored in Art and Art History.
  • Join SAU's League of Art History Enthusiasts. This student organization visits museums and galleries outside the Quad Cities and sells student art.
  • The Quad Cities is a great community to prepare for, or even start, your career. The metro area is a vibrant center for the arts and provides exceptional opportunities for networking, internships, and jobs. Check out the Figge Art Museum in downtown Davenport.
  • Your advisor will help you find the best combination of majors, minors, and internships to meet your career goals. We 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.
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. You can pair this major with our unique Museum Studies minor to boost your professional opportunities, as well as begin taking master's level courses toward a Master of Museum Studies (4+1 program) as part of our partnership with Western Illinois University.

Many students also choose to double major in marketing, art, theatre, or criminal justice. Learn more about this major on the Career Center website

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
Onnica Marquez, University Archivist

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History (36 credits)

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
AH 490 Internship (at least 3 credits)

Plus 18 credits of Art History (at least of four courses must be 300- or 400-level)

Plus 6 credits from Art History, Museum Studies, Art and Design, or History

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 Art Through the Ages I 3 AH 251 Art through the Ages II 3
AH 120/LC Topics: Mythic Image 3 Social Sciences 3
ENGL 120/LC Topics: Fairy Tales 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 205 Careers 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
Total Credits 16 Total Credits 16

Year Three

FallCreditSpringCredit
AH 490 Internship (1-6 credits) 3 Course for second major/minor 9
300-level AH 3 300-level AH 6
PHIL/THEO 300-400 level 3
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
Integrated BA/MA

Currently enrolled Art History majors are eligible to apply for the integrated BA/MA program provided they have a minimum 3.2 cumulative GPA and have completed 60 credit hours.

Up to 9 credits from the following +WI AH courses can be applied to the WIU-QC MA degree requirements: AH 343, 345, 346, 347, 350, 351, 353, 355.

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 and Design, or HIST.

Minor in Museum Studies (18 credits)

Required:
AH/MUSE 205 
+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
3 additional credits from AH, Art and Design, MKTG, MUSE, SALES, 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 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

First-Year

St. Ambrose offers excellent scholarships and grants, work-study and other financial aid options! Full-time students may be eligible based upon your strong academic performance in college, your talent in fine arts or athletics or your demonstrated financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The SAU school code for the FAFSA is 001889.

First-Year Scholarships and Institutional Aid 2022-2023

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 unweighted high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Please note, while St. Ambrose University has a test-optional admissions policy, standardized test scores are required for both admission to specific programs and/or eligibility for top academic scholarships. Scholarships and grants are renewable for four years of undergraduate study. 

Your scholarship will automatically renew each year of your undergraduate studies - up to four years - as long as you maintain satisfactory progress toward an undergraduate degree, achieve certain GPA requirements (see below), and remain a full-time student. 

Download helpful PDFs of this information here: First-Year Iowa Resident or First-Year Out of State Resident


IOWA RESIDENTS LIVING ON CAMPUS

Iowa Resident On Campus Merit-Based Scholarships

Trustee Scholar
Criteria: unweighted 3.9 GPA and minimum 29 ACT or 1340 SAT score. Must maintain 3.25 cumulative GPA in successive years.
Award: $25,000/year and invited to compete for an Ambrose Scholar full-tuition award

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $15,000-$21,000/year

University Grant
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $13,000/year

Iowa Resident On Campus Additional Institutional Aid

Ambrose Advantage
Criteria: Iowa resident, Federal Pell Grant eligible, 2022 high school graduate, min. unweighted GPA 2.5, admitted to SAU, and FAFSA filed by Mar. 15. To remain eligible in subsequent years, students must maintain 2.5 GPA and qualify for the Federal Pell Grant.
Award: Full tuition

Athletic Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability
Award: varies

Fine Arts Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability in music, art and theatre
Award: varies

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

Minority Scholarship
Criteria: ethnically diverse student, FAFSA required
Award: $500-$1,000/year

Catholic Traditions Scholarship
Criteria: graduate from Catholic high school
Award: $2,000/year

Menke Parish Scholarship
Criteria: Diocese of Davenport parishioner, additional application required
Award: $1,000/year



IOWA RESIDENTS LIVING OFF CAMPUS

Iowa Resident Off Campus Merit-Based Scholarships

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $13,000-$16,000/year

University Grants
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $11,000/year

Iowa Resident Off Campus Additional Institutional Scholarships

Ambrose Advantage
Criteria: Iowa resident, Federal Pell Grant eligible, 2022 high school graduate, min. unweighted GPA 2.5, admitted to SAU, and FAFSA filed by Mar. 15. To remain eligible in subsequent years, students must maintain 2.5 GPA and qualify for the Federal Pell Grant.
Award: Full tuition

Athletic Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability
Award: varies

Fine Arts Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability in music, art and theatre
Award: varies

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $500/year

Minority Scholarship
Criteria: ethnically diverse student, FAFSA required
Award: $500-$1,000/year

Catholic Traditions Scholarship
Criteria: graduate from Catholic high school
Award: $2,000/year



OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS LIVING ON CAMPUS

Out of State On Campus Merit-Based Scholarships

Trustee Scholar
Criteria: unweighted 3.9 GPA and minimum 29 ACT or 1340 SAT score. Must maintain 3.25 cumulative GPA in successive years.
Award: $25,000/year and invited to compete for an Ambrose Scholar full-tuition award

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $17,000-$23,000/year

University Grant
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $13,000/year

Out of State On Campus Additional Institutional Aid

Athletic Scholarships
Critieria: performance and ability
Award: varies

Fine Arts Scholarships
Critieria: performance and ability in music, art and theatre
Award: varies

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

Minority Scholarship
Criteria: ethnically diverse student, FAFSA required
Award: $500-$1,000/year

Catholic Traditions Scholarship
Criteria: graduate from Catholic high school
Award: $2,000/year

Menke Parish Scholarship
Criteria: Diocese of Davenport parishioner, additional application required
Award: $1,000/year



OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS LIVING OFF CAMPUS

Out of State Off Campus Merit-Based Scholarships

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $14,000-$17,000/year

University Grants
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $11,000/year

Out of State Off Campus Additional Institutional Scholarships

Athletic Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability
Award: varies

Fine Arts Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability in music, art and theatre
Award: varies

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $500/year

Minority Scholarship
Criteria: ethnically diverse student, FAFSA required
Award: $500/year

Catholic Traditions Scholarship
Criteria: graduate from Catholic high school
Award: $2,000/year

State and Federal Grants, Work Study

Grants are money that you don't repay, and they can come from government or private sources. SAU receives all financial aid funds directly - including loans and grants - then applies them to your account: once in the fall term and once in the spring term. Grants can be used to cover your tuition, books, and housing costs. You must apply for grants each academic year. If you have any loan funds in excess of your costs, you may receive a refund. If you are a first-time borrower, there is a 30-day hold on your first disbursement. For all of these grants, you must complete the Free Application Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1.


Iowa Tuition Grant
To be eligible for the Iowa Tuition Grant, you must be a resident of Iowa as defined by the State Board of Regents and currently enrolled or planning to enroll in an undergraduate degree program at an eligible Iowa college or university (SAU is eligible). Iowa College Aid administers need-based college financial aid for Iowans, such as the Iowa Tuition Grant. FAFSA deadline is July 1.
Award: $6,800

Federal Pell Grant
Awarded to students of the highest need based on how much your family can contribute to your education. The U.S. Department of Education sets a Expected Family Contribution (EFC) threshold. Then, when you file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it computes where you land within that threshold and determines if you qualify for the grant and for how much.
Award: $6,345 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
To qualify, you must file a FAFSA by the priority deadline of March 15 and you must qualify for a Pell Grant. This grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students who have submitted all required documents for review and in time for the review to be complete. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant or SEOG, the awards will appear on your financial aid award letter. Award: $400 maximumFederal Work Study
Criteria: based on financial need. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1.
Award: $1,850

Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant 
Provides aid to students intending to teach in a high-need field at a school that serves low-income families (as determined by the U.S. Department of Education or a state education agency). Review criteria and all details here.
Award: up to $4,000

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.


Kassidy Eagleson '20


Earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History, and three complementary minors in Museum Studies, Art and Art Administration, was not Kassidy's plan when she transferred to SAU from Scott Community College. But, as she discovered, it was the path that empowered and honored her passion for art, inspired her future, and pushed her to explore and witness the world in a new way. Now, she's earning a Master of Museum Studies at Western Illinois University-Quad Cities. SAU's partnership with WIU allows her to earn a BA in Art History and an MA in Museum Studies in just five years, saving her a year of time and tuition.

Read Kassidy's Story
Kylie Flynn Cutout Mobile image Kylie Flynn Cutout image

Kylie Flynn

B.A. in Art History and Marketing,Graduate student,Class of 2019


Kylie is stepping boldly into the world. From studying abroad in London, completing two internships, and faculty who helped her reimagine what is possible, her time at SAU was life-changing. Here she gained the confidence to see and experience more. Kylie is now a graduate student in the Museum Studies program at the Lorenzo de Medici Institute in Florence, Italy.

See My Story

Apply Visit Info

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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