Art History

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B.A. in Art History

The B.A. degree in art history trains students to negotiate a world saturated with images. It challenges students to confront critically the issues posed by the visual culture that mediates their understanding of the past, present and future. Built on the fertile exchange between the arts and the humanities, art history at SMU subscribes to an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach to learning. Students are taught to think across current categories and boundaries and practice a socially responsible art history. In addition to developing acute visual sensibilities, students acquire the ability to evaluate and organize information, conduct scholarly research and articulate their ideas in both written and spoken language. Students completing this course of study are prepared for advanced training in the field of art history; museum and gallery professions; or work in a broad range of other fields, including publishing, arts administration, teaching and public policy

Note: Only courses passed with a grade of C or better will count toward the major in art history. Courses passed with a grade of C- or less may count toward other, elective requirements in a student's degree plan.

See List of Art History Courses & their Description

Requirements for the Degree Credit Hours
UC/GEC Requirements varies
  • ARHS 1307 Introduction to Art History (AP credit may be substituted)
  • ARHS 4399 Research and Methods in Art History
  • Six credit hours must cover a period pre-1500 C.E. and six must cover a period post-1500 C.E.; six of these 12 credit hours must have a global perspectives designation
Methods and Theories:
  • At least one seminar course
Art History Electives:
  • No more than six credit hours at the 1000 level
Studio Art 3
  • Students must complete the intermediate level in a single second language course
Free Electives:
  • Hours vary as needed to meet University residency and degree requirements
  • Many art history majors use free elective hours to complete minors or second majors in, anthropology, chemistry (for conservation), English, history, international business, international studies, languages, and psychology.

Honors Program

The Art History Honors Program is available to majors with an exceptional academic record who seek a greater intellectual challenge at the end of their four years at SMU. It is conducted as a two-term sequence (fall: ARHS 4391, and spring: ARHS 4392) during senior year, and culminates in a 30-page thesis and faculty review. Students should contact the art history undergraduate adviser for more information.

Areas of Study



Art History

Undergraduate Studies


B.A. in Art History

Minor in Art History

Minor in the History of Visual and Performing Arts

Course Descriptions

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Graduate Studies

Classes (See Catalog)


Faculty and Staff

Graduate Students

Graduate Seminars


Art History Newsletter

Department Projects

Dallas Resources

Libraries and Visual Resources

Community Engagement


Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship

Corporate Communication and Public Affairs

Creative Computation


Film and Media Arts