BA Art History
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Why Art History?
Why Art History?
Art History is the critical inquiry into how people have reimagined their worlds through art, architecture, photography, film, performance, and design. More than anything else, it is a history of creativity. In an increasingly global, competitive, and image-saturated world, it is vital that students be able to think critically and creatively about how visual forms communicate across cultures.
The UIC program in Art History introduces students to the work of artists, architects, designers, and thinkers who have changed the course of history. Classes cover all historical periods and most of the world’s cultures. Students are trained in the fundamentals of historical analysis, visual literacy, and theoretical understanding. In addition to going on to successful careers as academics and museum professionals, graduates work in teaching, publishing, arts administration, art conservation, public culture, historic preservation, journalism, advertising, business, law, and medicine.
The department’s world-renowned faculty are specialists in:
• Pre-Columbian and Native American Art
• The Art, Architecture, Archaeology, and Material Culture of the Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean
• South Asian Architecture and Art
• Renaissance and Baroque Architecture, Architectural Theory, and Military Architecture
• European Art since 1700
• Modern and Contemporary Architecture, Design, and Theory
• Modern Art, the Avant-Garde, and Art since 1945
• Modern and Contemporary Performance Art
• Critical Theory, Film Theory, and the History of Photography
• Museum Studies
Curriculum in Art History
To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Art History degree from UIC, students need to complete 120 semester hours in university, college, and department degree requirements. For University General Education and Foundation Courses, as well as the UIC First-Year Dialogue Seminar and electives, please consult the UIC Undergraduate Catalogue.
Listed below are the Art History Major Requirements, including required courses, the distribution requirement, and the specialization requirement. A minimum of 37 semester hours, the major is comprised of the following requirements:
I. Introductory Study
Select one course from each of the following categories:
a. Broad Surveys
Introduction to Art and Art History
The Naked and the Nude: Studies in Visual Literacy
World History of Art and the Built Environment I
World History of Art and the Built Environment II
b. Focused Surveys
History of Chicago Architecture
Introduction to the Art and Architecture of Asia
Photography in History
Trends in International Contemporary Art Since 1960
Introduction to Museum & Exhibition Studies
II. Methods and Writing in Art History
All Art History majors must take the two courses listed below:
Theories and Methods in Art History
Writing in Art History
- Select four electives that satisfy the Distribution and Specialization requirements described below. A maximum of one elective may be at the 100-level. Two must be at the 200- or 300-level.
- Select a minimum of two 400-level courses that satisfy the Distribution and Specialization requirements described below. Art History Distinction-track students may substitute 500-level courses, but admission is at the discretion of the professor.
V. External Study
- Two external courses are taken at UIC outside of Art History and are required for the major.
- LAS course—One course in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, selected in consultation with and approved by the faculty advisor, that addresses the same category used for the student’s area of specialization. See Specialization requirement below.
- CADA (Studio) course—One non-Art History course in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts, selected in consulation with a faculty advisor, that reflects the student’s research interests. See Specialization requirement below.
VI. Internship, Study Abroad, or Collaborative Research Project with Faculty Member
All Art History majors must complete one of the following:
- An internship approved and advised by a faculty advisor (AH 483).
- A minimum of one Art History or Museum and Exhibition Studies course at an institution outside of the U.S. approved by a faculty advisor (AH 491).
- A collaborative research project with a faculty member (AH 399). The internship, study abroad, or collaborative research should be consistent with student’s specialization area, larger study interests, or prospective career path. See Specialization requirement below.
- All courses offered through the Art History department, except for courses that satisfy the requirements for Broad Surveys (AH 100, AH 101, AH 110, AH 111), Methods and Writing in Art History (AH 301, AH 303), and the optional courses for Graduation with Distinction (AH 492, AH 490), fall under one of the three categories and eleven topical distribution areas listed below, and are devoted at least 50 percent to that area.
- Students should select one course from two different topical distribution areas (A, B, C, or D) in each category (I, II, and III). For example, in Category I, a student may select one course in IA and one in IB, but not two in IA. The Distribution requirement may be met with courses from the Focused Surveys, Electives, and Seminar requirements described above. Broad Surveys courses (AH 100, AH 101, AH 110, AH 111), courses that satisfy the Methods and Writing in Art History requirements (AH 301, AH 303), and the optional courses for Graduation with Distinction (AH 492, AH 490) do not satisfy the Distribution requirement.
A. Ancient Mediterranean/Ancient Near Eastern
C. Asian/Africa and Its Diaspora
D. Indigenous Art of the Americas
A. European and Colonial, 1350–1700
B. European, America and Colonial, 1700–1950
A. Performance Art/Contemporary Art/Contemporary Architecture
B. Film, Media, Visual Culture
C. Theory, Methodology, Historiography, Aesthetics
D. Museum Studies
Courses within Each Distribution Requirement
- Distribution area designations are listed for most courses on the department website and indicated for all courses offered in any given term in course booklets made available at registration time. Booklets are available from academic advisors, in the department office, and on the department website.
- The Specialization Requirement is for four additional courses drawn from other requirements and has four parts. Each should conform to the student’s chosen specialization area selected from the topical distribution areas included in the Courses within each Distribution Area grid above. Broad Surveys courses (AH 100, AH 101, AH 110, AH 111), courses that satisfy the Methods and Writing in Art History requirements (AH 301, AH 303), and the optional courses for Graduation with Distinction (AH 492, AH 490) do not satisfy the Specialization requirements. Focused Survey courses do satisfy the Specialization requirements.
Art History Course
- Select one additional Art History course in any one of the topical distribution areas (such as IA Ancient Mediterranean or IA Ancient Near Eastern, but not IA Ancient Mediterranean/Ancient Near Eastern). This is the student’s specialization area and the requirements below should conform to it. This course should be drawn from those used to fulfill the Electives or Seminar requirement.
- Select one course in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences related to the topical distribution area chosen to fulfill the first specialization requirement in consultation with and approved by a faculty advisor. Art History courses cross-listed with LAS do not count for this requirement. LAS courses that are cross-listed with Art History do count but can only fulfill one requirement. See External Study requirement above.
Non-Art History Course
- Select one non-Art History (studio) course in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts in consultation with and approved by a faculty advisor that reflects research interests. See External Study requirement above.
Internship, Study Abroad, or Collaborative Research Project
- Students should select an internship, study abroad, or collaborative research project with a faculty member option in consultation with a faculty advisor that reflects their specialization area, larger study interests, or prospective career path. See Internship, Study Abroad or Collaborative Research with Faculty Member requirement above.
To be eligible for Departmental Distinction, a student must have:
- Attended UIC for at least three semesters.
- Attained a university cumulative GPA of 3.50/4.00.
- Completed 21 semester hours at UIC in courses required for the major.
- Attained a GPA of 3.75/4.00 in courses in Art History.
- Written a thesis that either expands work represented in a seminar or which grows out of an AH 492-Readings in Art and Architecture History courses
General Education Requirements
The College general education requirement is 24 semester hours with a minimum of 6 semester hours of humanities, 6 hours of social sciences, 6 hours of natural sciences, and an additional 6 hours in one or more of these three areas (note: at least two departments must be represented in each area).
The humanities general education requirement cannot be fulfilled by the completion of AH 110 and 111. The University requirement of one course in Cultural Diversity can be fulfilled by any course listed for such credit but is commonly attained through Non-Western courses in Art History. The University requirement of two semesters of writing will be fulfilled with the courses English 160 and 161 (English Composition I and II) each 3 semester hours.
Art History Internships
1. The Conservation Center, Various Internships. www.theconservationcenter.com
- Brief Info: The Conservation Center is a comprehensive private art conservation laboratory.
- Keywords: object conservation, heritage, art
2. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago https://mcachicago.org/About/Internships
- Brief Info: All MCA departments offer opportunities for hands-on learning. Internships require a minimum commitment of 16 hours per week for three months.
- Keywords: modern and contemporary art, curatorial work, winter/spring career
3. Art Institute Chicago http://www.artic.edu/employment/andrew-w-mellon-summer-academy-and-under…
- Brief Info: The Andrew W. Mellon Summer Academy is a weeklong intensive program exposing undergraduate students to museum professions through workshops, behind-the-scenes tours, field trips, and networking events.
- Keywords: Curatorial work, inclusive museum work
4. Field Museum, Chicago https://www.fieldmuseum.org/about/employee-groups/women-science/field-mu…
- Brief Info: Interns will engage in collections-based research and practice communicating science to a broader community.
- Keywords: women in science internships, collections research
5. National Museum of Mexican Art http://nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org/content/general-information
- Brief Info: Through the Museum’s unpaid internship program, individuals gain practical museum experience and learn professional workplace and creative organizational skills.
- Keywords: Mexican art, museum experience, assisting departmental needs
6. Illinois Holocaust Museum https://www.ilholocaustmuseum.org/pages/get-involved/internships/
- Brief Info: Interns work with the exhibition, preservation and interpretation of Museum collections, assist with educational programs and fundraisers and take part in marketing and day-to-day operations.
- Keywords: Museum work, education, human rights
1. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York) https://www.guggenheim.org/internships
- Brief Info: The objective of the internship program is to offer practical museum training experience to individuals interested in pursuing careers in the arts and museum fields.
- Keywords: practical museum training, department’s activities, art
2. The Smithsonian (Washington D.C.) https://www.smithsonianofi.com/blog/2012/12/26/smithsonian-internships/
- Brief Info: Smithsonian internships offer an incredible range of learning opportunities.
- Keywords: National museums, natural history, library studies
3. The Met (New York) https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/internships/undergraduate-and-gr…
- Brief Info: The Met offers paid and unpaid opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as recent graduates, to explore museum careers and gain professional experience during the summer.
- Keywords: summer work, museum studies
4. Museum of Modern Art (New York) https://www.moma.org/about/get-involved/internships
- Brief Info: The Seasonal Internship Program provides undergraduate and graduate students and beginning professionals with practical experience in a specific area of museum work.
- Keywords: summer work, modern art
5. National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.) https://www.nga.gov/opportunities/interns-and-fellows/wilmerding-interns…
- Brief Info: The John Wilmerding Fund for Education in American Art supports two 11-month internships: one in American art and one in digital interpretation.
- Keywords: Post-graduation opportunity, national gallery
6. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (California) http://www.lacma.org/internships
- Brief Info: LACMA offers internships in their Corporate Funding, Costume and Textiles, and Collections management departments.
- Keywords: Arts funding, collection preservation, archival work
1. Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Italy) http://www.guggenheim-venice.it/inglese/education/internship-program.html
- Brief Info:The museum offers an internship program for Italian and international students and recent graduates who study art, art history or related disciplines.
- Keywords: modern art, museum operations, Venice
The Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) was first established in 1986 by the Graduate Deans of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). The goal of SROP is to introduce domestic underrepresented sophomores and juniors to academic research experiences and prepare them for carrers in research. Student participants work one-on-one with a faculty mentor giving them an opportunity to experience research and the graduate student experience. The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) launched its SROP in 1986, with a total of six minority undergraduate students.
Study Abroad Scholarships
There are a variety of nationally competitive, regionally focused, UIC housed, and program sponsor scholarship opportunities for study abroad. In addition to the Study Abroad Office scholarships page, the UIC Office of External Fellowships is a great resource for both internal and nationally competitive awards.
If you are eligible for federal financial aid, you may be able to apply that funding to your Study Abroad costs. Pell grant awards and UIC institutional grants e.g. Access to Excellence grant, Gateway grant, Student-to-Student grant, and the President’s Award Program grant, may also apply toward the cost of studying abroad. Visit the OSFA website for more information on Financial Aid for Study Abroad.