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Major or Minor in Art History

The Bachelor of Arts in Art History in the WKU Department of Art & Design provides students with a broad and thorough understanding of the history and function of the visual arts from ancient times to the present day. Majors critically analyze paintings, prints, sculpture, architecture, and other visual media to investigate a range of historical and philosophical issues with which the visual arts have been deeply involved. As such, majors will gain an understanding of how visual practices proactively articulate and motivate rather than simply illustrate, record, or reiterate history.  Our majors are uniquely positioned to succeed in a world that is increasingly driven by images.

Our students often combine their art history degrees with majors and minors in other disciplines such as graphic design, fashion design, advertising, political science, and chemistry to craft curricula that prepares them for particular career pathways in a myriad of fields.


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Art History Students on Study Abroad


WKU Art History majors have been awarded many competitive fellowships and scholarships, and have produced two Fulbright Scholars, a Gilman Scholar, two Scholars of Potter College, two Ogden Foundation Scholars, and multiple FUSE Grant recipients.


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wku art history student katie kizer barrett

WKU Art History alumni work in major art museums, art conservation, journalism, information science, library science, medical illustration, law, and other fields both within and beyond the visual arts that require a sophisticated and systemic understanding of the world that a humanities major like Art History is particularly capable to provide. 


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Faculty in the art history program enjoy creating and leading study away and study abroad programs for our majors, which allows students to experience masterpieces of art, architecture, and visual culture first-hand.  Over the past 15 years we have designed and taught multiple study abroad courses in Italy, France, The Netherlands, and Turkey.  We also frequently take students to museums closer to home in places like New York, Washington DC, Saint Louis, Nashville, and Cincinnati.

Meet Dr. Guy Jordan      Meet Dr Ingrid Cartwright



“My undergrad experience at WKU has been invaluable to me and my career as an art museum professional. Taking a combination of art history and studio art courses, I gained a rich understanding of art historical movements and methodologies as well as a practical knowledge of artistic media and technical processes. This knowledge has served me in various roles related to art collections and exhibitions over the years, including my current position as Assistant Registrar at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. The faculty at WKU are enthusiastic and devoted educators, whom I think of often and fondly. The Department of Art at WKU offered me a hospitable and inspiring environment to explore my interest in art history and fostered in me a love for my field.”

Katie Kizer Barrett, Class of 2012

wku art history student katie kizer barrett


wku art history student kelsey mattingly

“While at WKU, I double-majored in Art History and Sociology. Majoring in Art History gave me visual context of the world around me that has been incredibly important for my life and career thus far. Dr. Jordan and Dr. Cartwright's classes, both online and in person, were incredibly engaging and insightful, where we developed skills in visual and historical analysis, and critical writing experience. My favorite courses were Greek and Roman with Dr. Jordan and Graphic Design Survey with Dr. Cartwright. Through Dr. Jordan's mentorship of my honors thesis, I was competitive to apply for and was awarded a US-UK Fulbright fellowship to earn my taught Master's in the History of Art at the University of East Anglia, an experience I am incredibly grateful for! In the past ten years, I found my way to a career in data analytics working in Institutional Research at the University of Texas at San Antonio. My experiences at WKU and abroad informed my passion to explore higher education research as a field. Along with coding and statistical analysis, every day I use design-minded thinking, explanation and interpretation of complex concepts and findings, and a bit of history to work with data. I design dashboards and visualizations to communicate complex findings in well-designed and accessible ways using data storytelling. Knowledge of the history of graphic design has definitely been foundational in my work in that area, and even getting to take foundational studio classes has informed my use of color theory and aesthetics in my reports. Art history isn't always paired with social science, but for me it helped set the stage for a career that uses historical analysis, data storytelling, and design to inform critical decision-making. If you think you might have plans for working with data visualizations in the future, an understanding of art history and design is a huge level up!”

Kelsey Mattingly, Class of 2013



The Art History program at WKU made me see the world in a new light. Art history adds a new dimension to our understanding of the past, present and future. With the support of the professors, strength of the material, and various opportunities offered by WKU, I was able to exceed my own expectations and set my career goals among the stars. My time in Art History program was a whirlwind, studying art history in Venice, Italy, working at the Kentucky Museum and the Cincinnati Art Museum, and even spending a week in DC conducting research at the United States Capitol Building and the Library of Congress with the help of a FUSE Grant. It was there that I fell in love with libraries. I now work in a public library, and I’m pursuing my Master’s in Library Science. The tight-knit, supportive, and encouraging nature of this program made me realize my own potential and strive for excellence in my academic and professional pursuits

Olivia Bowers, Class of 2020

Olivia Bowers



Courses Offered in the Fall

  • 105 History of Art to 1300
  • 334 Graphic Design Survey
  • 405 Art Theory & Criticism

Courses Offered in the Spring

  • 106 History of Since 1300
  • 390 Contemporary Art
  • 494 Art History Seminar


Fall Courses Typically Offered in Odd Years:
2023, 2025, 2027

  • Non-Western (325, 407)
  • Renaissance/Baroque (314, 315, 401, 403)

Fall Courses Typically Offered in Even Years:
2022, 2024, 2026

  • Ancient/Medieval (305, 316)
  • Renaissance/Baroque (314, 315, 401, 403)

Spring Courses Typically Offered in Even Years:
2022, 2024, 2026

  • 18th/19th or Modern (312, 313, 408, 409, 410)
  • One Additional Upper Level Offering

Spring Courses Typically Offered in Odd Years:
2023, 2025, 2027

  • 18th/19th or Modern (312, 313, 408, 409, 410)




Degree Checksheet: B.A. (613) in Art History




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 Last Modified 10/6/22