Art History

Art History


Western Art History students learn to interpret and analyze art and visual culture, examining the histories of art in cultural context, visual communication in the world today, and the impact of visual technology in the future. 

As art historians in-training, students explore why culturally significant objects came to exist, what purpose they served, and how they continue to captivate us. By studying human expression through an engagement with culturally significant objects, images, and ideas, artists and historians document the changing world.

Majors are also eligible for the Arts Enterprise and Cultural Innovation minor (“AECI”), a unique program of WWU focused on launching successful creative careers in the arts. Scholarships are available to students pursuing the AECI minor.

“The Art History Department here at Western has redefined the way I experience visual culture, including fine art, film, and advertising. I feel prepared to understand and participate in the current dialogue of the art world.”

– Emily Zach, Art History Student

Beyond the Classroom

Art students have unique opportunities to gain hands-on, practical experience for a future career in the art world. Faculty assist students in handling and installing artworks, learning and expanding research skills, or improving critical analysis and essay-writing abilities.  

Western Art Galleries

Students play an active role in the operations of Western’s three galleries, including the Western Gallery and two student run galleries—the Viking Union and B galleries. 


Art faculty encourage students to explore the academic world through research assistantships—an invaluable experience for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the field.


While in the department, students have a chance to do internships with local businesses, learning about how to employ their burgeoning skills in various art-related fields.

Study Abroad

The Department of Art offers many opportunities to travel abroad and domestically. Students participate in unique, life-changing encounters with art and art history.


Careers and Graduate Studies

A degree in Art History prepares students for a future as a teacher, museum educator, gallery curator, visual resource librarian, art critic, scholar, and other careers that require creative problem solving and knowledge of visual language.

Western Art alumni have gone on to pursue their passions, including: 

  • Robert McCauley: National Endowment for the Arts fellowship recipient and professional painter
  • Eugenie Tung: Head teacher for the Joan Mitchell Foundation Education Program
  • Jim Goldberg: Author of seven books, National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, and professional photographer
  • Virginia Troy: Associate professor of Art History at Berry College

"My Art History degree has been incredibly beneficial and relevant to my career in marketing. WWU’s Art History program taught me how to think critically, communicate effectively, and analyze visual design in ways others do not. Almost a decade after graduating, I’m still so happy I decided to major in Art History." 

- Marisa Ellis, Art History Alumni


Sample Jobs

  • Art Consultant
  • Curator
  • Gallery or Museum Director
  • Art Critic
  • Architectural Conservator
  • Art Dealer
  • Art Historian
  • Researcher
  • Visual Resource Librarian
  • Arts Administrator
  • Museum Educator 

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.