Majoring in Art History at Ithaca College

Ithaca College’s Department of Art History emphasizes the study of world cultures through the investigation of artistic expression and the built environment.

Students majoring in art history undertake an interdisciplinary program that emphasizes close looking and visual literacy, historical and cultural awareness, attentiveness to objects and political contexts, critical reading, writing, and thinking, and written and oral communication skills.

Innovative Curriculum

The department offers a progressive and innovative curriculum. Majors and minors in art history choose from several broad introductory courses: the history of Western art, an introduction to visual culture studies, or global art or architecture. Intermediate courses are organized by historical period theme, or medium, and include classes cross-listed with Women’s and Gender Studies Latin American Studies and Chemistry. At the upper level students enjoy small seminar experiences that explore diverse topics in depth, from material culture studies (Things, Stuff, and Objects) and exhibition planning (Exhibiting Africa) to Picasso and Frank Lloyd Wright


As an interdisciplinary field of study, art history students are required to take courses outside of the major and often find a second intellectual home in a minor field of study. Popular minors include art, languages, classical studies, medieval and renaissance studies, and history, to name just a few.

Art History beyond Ithaca College

Recent majors have interned at the Whitney Museum, the Barnes Collection, the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, the Museum of the Earth and IC’s Handwerker Gallery. Our students have studied abroad at IC’s London Center, in Barcelona, Rome and Sydney. They have gone on to pursue graduate study at Tufts,  Syracuse and NYU, and at the Courtauld Institute and The Fashion Institute of Technology,

Why Art History? Recent Findings

  • Art History majors often gain pre-professional experience by working with faculty as research assistants, in the gallery as monitors and assistants, and as interns at galleries, museums, and archives 
  • Median earnings for humanities majors with a terminal BA were about $50,000/year in 2013. Among graduates with Humanities BAs, those with Art History majors earned approximately $3,000 more per year than other fields.
  • Many career directions will directly engage your art history education. According to the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), typical positions include professor, museum curator, art librarian, visual resources curator, digital imaging or digital humanities specialist, provenance or collections researcher, archivist, gallerist, copy editor, cataloguer, registrar, and administrator of arts organizations, including public art programs, not-for-profits, community arts centers and government funding agencies (NEH/NEA), and more.
  • Many other careers take advantage of the skills that the major cultivates. SNAAP’s 2016 study found that success in entrepreneurial careers is correlated with those who earn degrees in the arts and work across disciplines. (http://snaap.indiana.edu/pdf/2016/SNAAP_Annual_Report_2016_FINAL.pdf)

For requirements of the Art History B.A., click here.

For descriptions of Art History courses, click here.

For advising sheets click here [link].