Skip to main content
Menu Search & Directory

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 the examination of 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 a variety of 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 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 both the St. Louis and Madrid campuses.

Each student receives a strong, balanced foundation in the study of 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, among others.

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.

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 skills in critical thinking and communication 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 the student financial services office online at https://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.

Core Requirements
College core requirements57-66
For additional information about core courses
Introductory Courses
ARTH 1010History of Western Art3
Professional Preparation
ARTH 2000Art History Seminar1
Research Course
ARTH 4900Research Methods3
Global Arts
Select one of the following:3
ARTH 1090
Global Masterpieces in Art
ARTH 2100
Art of Jerusalem and Three Faiths: Past and Present
ARTH 2120
Art in Africa
ARTH 2140
Islamic Art and Society
ARTH 2320
Art of the African Diaspora
ARTH 2350
Excavating Culture of Three Faiths
ARTH 3140
Islamic Art and Society: Advanced
Studio Art
ART 2000-levelStudio elective3
Electives
Select from the following two categories with a minimum of 9 credits in either category:21
Art produced BEFORE 1800
ARTH 1020
History of Architecture
ARTH 1090
Global Masterpieces in Art
ARTH 2070
Art and the Body
ARTH 1500
Life & Times of Michelangelo
ARTH 2100
Art of Jerusalem and Three Faiths: Past and Present
ARTH 2070
Art and the Body
ARTH 2120
Art in Africa
ARTH 2140
Islamic Art and Society
ARTH 2150
Saints in Art
ARTH 2180
History of Spanish Art
ARTH 2200
Art in Rome
ARTH 2300
Ancient Art Survey
ARTH 2320
Art of the African Diaspora
ARTH 2350
Excavating Culture of Three Faiths
ARTH 2410
Art of Cathedrals and Kings
ARTH 2450
Art of Pilgrimage and Crusades
ARTH 2500
Early Renaissance Art in Italy
ARTH 2510
High Renaissance Art in Italy
ARTH 2520
Art of Nobles and Merchants in the Northern Renaissance
ARTH 3020
Christian Art: Advanced
ARTH 3140
Islamic Art and Society: Advanced
ARTH 3450
Art of Pilgrimage and Crusades: Advanced Studies
ARTH 3410
Art of Cathedrals and Kings: Advanced
ARTH 3500
Early Renaissance Art in Italy: Advanced
ARTH 3510
High Renaissance Art Italy: Advanced
ARTH 3520
Art North Renaissance: Adv Art of Nobles & Merchants in the Northern Renaissance: Advanced
ARTH 3630
Golden Age of Spanish Art
ARTH 4930
Special Topics: General
Art produced AFTER 1800
ARTH 1020
History of Architecture
ARTH 1040
Art & Film
ARTH 1070
American Masterpieces in Art
ARTH 2020
Sculpture in Saint Louis
ARTH 2050
Controversy in Art
ARTH 2070
Art and the Body
ARTH 2120
Art in Africa
ARTH 2180
History of Spanish Art
ARTH 2190
Art and History of Madrid
ARTH 2220
African American Art
ARTH 2320
Art of the African Diaspora
ARTH 2700
American Art: Colonial to WW II
ARTH 2710
American Art: WWII to the Present
ARTH 2750
Nineteenth-Century Art Nineteenth-Century Art
ARTH 2800
Modern Art
ARTH 3010
Women in Art
ARTH 3700
American Art: Colonial to WWII: Advanced Studies
ARTH 3710
American Art: WWII to the Present: Advanced
ARTH 3750
Nineteenth-Century Art: Advanced
ARTH 3800
Twentieth-Century Art
ARTH 3770
Art and Politics: From Goya to the Cold War
ARTH 3880
History of Photography
ARTH 4810
Modern Art in Latin America
Internship or 3000/4000-level Elective
Select one of the following:3
ARTH 4910
Internship
ARTH 3000/4000 Elective
General Electives18-27
Total Credits121

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 History of Western Art (3 cr)

Continuation Standards

A student must maintain a C average in major courses.

Bachelor of Arts Core Curriculum Requirements

Please note: beginning in Fall 2022, all incoming SLU undergraduates—regardless of major, program, college or school—will complete the University Core curriculum. You can find more information about SLU’s common Core here: https://www.slu.edu/core/index.php
Core Components and Credits
Foundations of Discourse3
Diversity in the U.S.3
Global Citizenship3
Foreign Language0-9
Fine Arts3
Literature6
Mathematics3
Natural Science6
Philosophy9
Social Science6
Theology9
World History6
Total Credits57-66

Graduation Requirements

  • Complete a minimum of 120 credits (excluding pre-college level courses numbered below 1000).
  • Complete either the College of Arts and Sciences Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science 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.
  • Courses listed under the intensive English program do not count toward graduation requirements. EAP 1500 College Composition for International Students (3 cr), EAP 1900 Rhetoric & Research Strategies (3 cr) and EAP 2850 Nation, Identity and Literature (3 cr) count toward graduation requirements as equivalents to Department of English courses.

    In addition to those courses, six credits from EAP/MLNG courses at the 1000 level or higher may count toward graduation requirements
  • 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 History of Western Art 3
ART 2000-level (any)Any Art course at the 2000 level 3
CAS Core 9
 Credits15
Spring
ARTH pre-1800 1 3
CAS Core 9
Electives 3
 Credits15
Year Two
Fall
ARTH pre-1800 2 3
CAS Core 9
ARTH 2000 Art History Seminar 1
Electives 3
 Credits16
Spring
ARTH post-1800 2 3
ARTH pre-1800 1 3
CAS Core 6
Electives 3
 Credits15
Year Three
Fall
ARTH post-1800At the 3000 or 4000 level 3
ARTH pre-1800At the 3000 or 4000 level 3
CAS Core 6
Electives 3
 Credits15
Spring
Select one of the following: 3
ARTH 1090
Global Masterpieces in Art  
ARTH 2100
Art of Jerusalem and Three Faiths: Past and Present  
ARTH 2120
Art in Africa  
ARTH 2140
Islamic Art and Society  
ARTH 2320
Art of the African Diaspora  
ARTH 2350
Excavating Culture of Three Faiths  
ARTH 3140
Islamic Art and Society: Advanced  
ARTH 4910 Internship 3
Electives 9
 Credits15
Year Four
Fall
ARTH 4900 Research Methods 3
ARTH pre-1800 or post-1800 1,2 3
FA Core (Theatre, Music, Studio Art) 3 3
Electives 6
 Credits15
Spring
ARTH pre-1800 or post-1800 1,2 3
Electives 12
 Credits15
 Total Credits121
1

Courses on art produced pre-1800

2

Courses on art produced post-1800

3

All Art History majors must take a course outside of Art History that meets a Fine Arts core requirement.

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.