Close-up of red painting

Fine Arts & Art History

The Department of Art History offers undergraduate and graduate programs of study. Students have a range of degree options that offer a variety of alternatives for studying the visual and creative arts and for developing visual literacy and critical thinking skills.


Students in class in a museum

BA in Art History

Study masterworks first-hand at renowned galleries and museums

The Art History programs encourage the pleasures of looking and direct, interpretive engagement with the visual arts. Our location in Washington, D.C. ensures the availability of bountiful cultural and historical resources, while our faculty offer diverse methodological and scholarly approaches to the arts. We advocate the intertwining of visual, historical analyses with philosophical hypotheses and theoretical, political debates. We are attentive to the narrative qualities and rhetorical persuasiveness of art historical writing in dialogue with art objects, spaces and performances. In teaching the research and writing of art history, we cultivate connections to the studio arts and interdisciplinary exchanges with other fields of inquiry. 

The Bachelor of Arts in Art History curriculum covers ancient to contemporary art, with significant emphasis in developing research and writing skills. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the rich resources of the D.C. area through courses and internships with the world-class area institutions.

The Department of Fine Arts and Art History website has more information on the program in Art History.


A student paints in a studio.

BA in Fine Arts

Reimagine the possibilities of contemporary art with traditional rigor

The Fine Arts program fosters a rigorous and experimental approach to art making, while encouraging students to pursue their creative commitments in the studio and in the world. Students may pursue a wide range of studio arts including sculpture, ceramics, photography, painting and drawing and new media.

The Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts balances creative study with academic work. Fine Arts students are encouraged to cross conventional visual, technical and conceptual boundaries as well as engage with the history and traditions of art. Working at a research university prepares students to respond to the complexity of possibilities facing the contemporary artist. The program emphasizes a critical and creative relationship between content and form, an awareness of art historical connections and engagement with the contexts of creative production.

For more information, please go to the Department of Fine Arts and Art History website.


A painting class.

Combined BA in Fine Arts and Art History

Cross traditional boundaries to engage with art in a fresh way

The combined Fine Arts and Art History major is a hybrid program of studio, art history and art theory courses. The program offers undergraduate art history majors excelling in their studies the opportunity to advance to graduate level coursework in their senior year and enter the master’s program upon graduation. The combined major offers a platform where creative expression, research and theory are seamlessly explored and practiced. Combined majors are encouraged to cross conventional visual, technical and conceptual boundaries and engage with the history and traditions of art.

Students with an interest in the combined program can visit the Department of Fine Arts and Art History website for more information.


A painting studio with exciting wall designs.

Combined BA/MA in Art History

Cross traditional boundaries to engage with art in a fresh way

The combined Fine Arts and Art History major is a hybrid program of studio, art history and art theory courses. The program offers undergraduate art history majors excelling in their studies the opportunity to advance to graduate level coursework in their senior year and enter the master’s program upon graduation. The combined major offers a platform where creative expression, research and theory are seamlessly explored and practiced. Combined majors are encouraged to cross conventional visual, technical and conceptual boundaries and engage with the history and traditions of art.

Students seeking more information on the Combined BA/MA in Art History are encouraged to visit the Department of Fine Arts and Art History website.