Art History

How do we interpret the narrative imagery of an Ancient Near Eastern sculptural relief? Why did the Spanish artist Salvador Dalí paint pictures in a dreamlike Surrealistic manner? These are examples of the types of questions art historians ask and try to answer by studying the visual arts of both the distant and more recent past. They seek to understand the cultural values expressed in a work of art, and to show how the latter fits into a larger context or tradition to which individual artists belong.  The result is that a painting, statue, building, or piece of jewelry comes to life and gives us a fresh insight into mankind’s ever-changing experience and ways of seeing the world.

Art History students are taught to think critically, research, and learn theoretical aspects of this field, and express themselves effectively in written and oral form.  Several courses contribute to interdisciplinary programs in classical studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, and Italian Studies. Student who study art history must minor in another field. Students with an undergraduate degree may prepare for a future career in teaching, in the museum world, in art-dealing, in art journalism, or to attend graduate school.

Art History Website

Plan of Study

Art History, BA

Related Career Interests

Careers in Art History

  • Museum education
  • Art education
  • Museum administration
  • Museum development
  • Historic preservation and restoration
  • Art Administration
  • Auction houses
  • Art Galleries
  • Art consulting
  • Museum curating
  • Teaching and research

Transfer to Art History

Purdue admits to individual majors. In addition to meeting overall Purdue transfer criteria, such as minimum high school course requirements, applicants must also meet major-specific requirements. The major-specific criteria for this program are listed below. Students who meet or exceed these are the most competitive candidates for admission. Before applying, review the closed programs page to confirm your desired major is open to transfer students for your desired entry term.

Minimum GPA: 2.2

Contact Information
Undergraduate Student Recruitment Office
(765) 494-6291

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