Our Mission

About the Program

The Art History Department at St. Thomas seeks to explore the many dimensions of art in a broad range of periods and worldwide cultures. The courses and faculty of the department prompt students to become investigators, learning to ask and answer questions about art, from pottery to painting, from bronzes to buildings. Students are encouraged to conduct independent research and to present their findings to a broader audience, and to make art accessible inside and outside of the classroom.

Art history embodies the study of the liberal arts by considering the work of art and architecture within its broader cultural context, including religion, economic production, politics, gender and social identification.

The liberal arts and interdisciplinary nature of the major can be combined effectively with other majors such as theology, history, philosophy, or with programs emphasizing professional skills, including journalism, communication, or elementary education. Recent graduates of the Art History program have pursued careers in education, art conservation, museum education and curatorship, art gallery direction, publishing, and interior design.

Mission Statement

The undergraduate courses and curriculum of the Art History department strive to achieve the following:

  • instill in its students an understanding of the role that art plays within culture and society, including the religious and spiritual context for art, and an ability to analyze and understand the arts from a variety of viewpoints and methods;
  • develop a diverse and global perspective on art through a commitment to the teaching of non-western art;
  • strengthen the department's role in the liberal arts curriculum of the College and foster interdisciplinary cooperation and endeavors, especially through exploration of human diversity and an emphasis upon writing in its courses;
  • encourage and facilitate scholarly and professional engagement through research, writing, and presentation among its students;
  • introduce students to the exhibition and presentation of art through direct experience, active learning and exposure to a range of professional activities;
  • offer non-curricular programs and activities within and outside the University that will serve the interests and needs of the community;
  • build opportunities for active learning through internships and project-based work;
  • engage with ethical issues of the discipline at multiple levels of the curriculum.