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Art History, B.A.

Through Saint Louis University’s undergraduate program in art history, students learn the essential skills of critical analysis, research and communication via examining the social context in which art was historically — and continues to be — created. SLU's art history faculty members offer a broad field of study that ranges from the earliest civilizations, the Western canon of art and the art of world cultures to the beginnings of modernity and the most current movements in contemporary art.

Art history is an interdisciplinary field that incorporates essential skills from various humanities disciplines such as history, philosophy, theology and economics, and students analyze artworks and the societies that have affected the disciplines.

Additional highlights include:

  • In the Jesuit tradition, art history faculty at SLU educate the whole person about humanistic values as expressed through the history of art.
  • At SLU, art history courses offer intimate class sizes with individualized attention from faculty.
  • SLU art history students engage with arts and cultural institutions locally and nationally through class visits, field trips, internships and employment.

Curriculum Overview

A Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Saint Louis University provides students with an in-depth study of the art world. A curriculum that covers a wide range of art offers students the opportunity to delve deeper into their specific periods of interest. The art history major and minor are offered at the St. Louis and Madrid campuses.

Each student receives a strong, balanced foundation in studying global traditions in art history through a series of core courses. Faculty have fashioned this curriculum to develop essential art historical methodologies such as critical analysis, social history and semiotics.

To earn a B.A. in Art History at SLU, students must complete 37 credits of required coursework. Eighteen of the 37 credits must be from the 3000- and 4000-level courses.

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

SLU's art history students are not limited to the classroom. They take advantage of the active arts community at the University and in the surrounding St. Louis area. In addition to the Saint Louis University Museum of Art, resources such as the Historic Samuel Cupples House and Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art are located on the Saint Louis University campus, offering students a hands-on chance to experience the artists and periods they discover in the classroom. The recently renovated Saint Louis Art Museum and numerous other galleries are all within a 10-mile radius of campus.

The benefits of SLU's art history program also include several unique internship and career opportunities, both in the St. Louis region and nationally. On campus, the Samuel Cupples House and the Saint Louis University Museum of Art regularly hire interns. The Missouri Historical Society and the Saint Louis Art Museum are just two of many local institutions that work with students. SLU students have also held internships in Washington, D.C., at the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian. Additionally, research opportunities exist at major libraries and archives.

Careers

Many SLU graduates work in art-related institutions such as galleries, auction houses and museums, as well as in marketing, advertising, law, journalism and other fields that require an understanding of the visually based culture and the ability to express intelligent, well-researched opinions. Others have continued their studies in internationally recognized graduate programs. All have developed critical thinking and communication skills that aid them in pursuing the career of their choice.

Admission Requirements

Begin Your Application

Saint Louis University also accepts the Common Application.

Freshman

All applications are thoroughly reviewed with the highest degree of individual care and consideration to all credentials that are submitted. Solid academic performance in college preparatory coursework is a primary concern in reviewing a freshman applicant’s file.

To be considered for admission to any Saint Louis University undergraduate program, applicants must be graduating from an accredited high school, have an acceptable HiSET exam score or take the General Education Development (GED) test. 

Transfer

Applicants must be a graduate of an accredited high school or have an acceptable score on the GED.

Students who have attempted fewer than 24 semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must follow the above freshmen admission requirements. Students who have completed 24 or more semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must submit transcripts from all previously attended college(s).

In reviewing a transfer applicant’s file, the Office of Admission holistically examines the student’s academic performance in college-level coursework as an indicator of the student’s ability to meet the academic rigors of Saint Louis University. Where applicable, transfer students will be evaluated on any courses outlined in the continuation standards of their preferred major.

International Applicants

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are two principal ways to help finance a Saint Louis University education:

  • Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, service, leadership and financial need.
  • Financial Aid: Financial aid is provided in the form of grants and loans, some of which require repayment.

For priority consideration for merit-based scholarships, apply for admission by Dec. 1 and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1.

For information on other scholarships and financial aid, visit www.slu.edu/financial-aid.

Accreditation

Saint Louis University's art history program has been continuously accredited since 2011 by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

  1. Graduates will be able to contextualize artwork.
  2. Graduates will be able to conduct research and critically analyze source materials.
  3. Graduates will be able to apply the principal methodologies of art history to analyze a work of art, an artist, a patron, a place or a text.
  4. Graduates will be able to articulate the importance of observing art in person.

 Art history students must complete a minimum total of 37 credits for the major.

University Undergraduate Core32-35
Major Requirements
Introductory Courses
ARTH 1010Art and its Histories3
Professional Preparation
ARTH 2000Art History Seminar1
Research Course
ARTH 4900Research Methods3
Global Arts
Select one course (3 credits) with the 'Art History - Global Arts' attribute. 3
Studio Art Elective
ART 2000-levelStudio elective3
Major Electives
Select 21 credits from the following two categories:21
Select a minimum of 9 credits with the 'Art produced BEFORE 1800' attribute.
Select a minimum of 9 credits with the Art produced AFTER 1800' attribute.
Internship or 3000/4000-level Elective
Select one of the following:3
ARTH 4910
Internship
ARTH 3000/4000 Elective
General Electives48-51
Total Credits120

AP and Transfer Policies

No more than 9-12 credits of transfer credit may be applied to fulfill specific courses or elective courses towards the completion of the 37 credits required for the major in art history.

Advanced Placement credit, with a score of 4 or 5, will take the place of 3 credits for the Introductory courseARTH 1010 Art and its Histories (3 cr)

Continuation Standards

A student must maintain a C average in major courses.

Graduation Requirements

  • Complete a minimum of 120 credits (excluding pre-college level courses numbered below 1000).
  • Complete the University Undergraduate Core curriculum requirements.
  • Complete major requirements: minimum 30 credits required.
  • Complete remaining credits with a second major, minor, certificate and/or electives to reach the minimum of 120 credits required for graduation.
  • Achieve at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average, a 2.00 grade point average in the major(s) and a 2.00 grade point average in the minor/certificate, or related elective credits.
  • Complete department-/program-specific academic and performance requirements.
  • Complete at least 50% of the coursework for the major and 75% for the minor/certificate through Saint Louis University or an approved study abroad program.
  • Complete 30 of the final 36 credits through Saint Louis University or an approved study abroad program.
  • Complete an online degree application by the required University deadline.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester.  Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
ARTH 1010 Art and its Histories (Recommended but not required that this course is taken in the first year) 3
CORE 1000 Ignite First Year Seminar (Must be taken in first 36 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 2-3
CORE 1500 Cura Personalis 1: Self in Community (Must be taken in first 36 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 1
CORE 1900 Eloquentia Perfecta 1: Written and Visual Communication (Should be taken in first 36 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 3
General Electives 6
 Credits15-16
Spring
2000-level Art History course for Global art requirement 3
CORE 3200 Ways of Thinking: Quantitative Reasoning (Should be taken in first 45 credit hours at SLU) 3
CORE 1600 Ultimate Questions: Theology 3
General Electives 6
 Credits15
Year Two
Fall
ARTH 2000 Art History Seminar (may also be taken in first semester of first year) 1
2000-level ARTH course 3
CORE 1200 Eloquentia Perfecta 2: Oral and Visual Communication (Should be taken in first 60 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 3
CORE 1700 Ultimate Questions: Philosophy 3
General Electives 5
 Credits15
Spring
2000-level and 3000-level ARTH course 6
CORE 3800 Ways of Thinking: Natural and Applied Sciences 3
CORE 2500 Cura Personalis 2: Self in Contemplation 0
General Electives 6
 Credits15
Year Three
Fall
Two 3000/4000-level ARTH courses 6
CORE 2800 Eloquentia Perfecta 3: Creative Expression 2-3
CORE 3400 Ways of Thinking: Aesthetics, History, and Culture 3
General Electives 4
 Credits15-16
Spring
ARTH 4910 Internship 3
3000/4000-level Art History course 3
CORE 3600 Ways of Thinking: Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
CORE 4000 Collaborative Inquiry 2-3
General Electives 4
 Credits15-16
Year Four
Fall
ARTH 4900 Research Methods (may also be taken in first semester of third year) 3
CORE 3500 Cura Personalis 3: Self in the World (May be added to a capstone for the major / Cannot carry attributes) 1
General Electives 11
 Credits15
Spring
3000/4000-level ARTH course 3
2000-level ART course requirement 3
General Electives 9
 Credits15
 Total Credits120-123

Students can complete all or part of the art history major at SLU’s campus in Madrid.

Learn More

2+SLU programs are formal  transfer agreements for students seeking an associate degree at a partner institution.