Art History and Criticism (BA) | Webster University

Art History and Criticism (BA)


Effective 1 June 2020 through 31 May 2021

Please see the Temporary Adjustments to Policy on Grading for Undergraduate Courses for Spring 2020

Please see the Undergraduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

This program is offered by the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts/Department of Art, Design and Art History and is only available at the St. Louis home campus.

Program Description

Art history is an empirical and humanistic discipline that investigates art as a document in the broad history of human experience. The study of art history entails the evaluation, analysis and interpretation of aesthetic objects by identifying materials and techniques, the time and place of their creation, the meaning or function of the work of art, the biography of the artist, the cultural or social origins of the work and other significations. The eclectic nature of the field encourages interdisciplinary approaches as well as extra-cultural awareness and experiences.

Degree Requirements

For information on the general requirements for a degree, see Baccalaureate Degree Requirements under the Academic Policies and Information section of this catalog.

  • 42 required credit hours
  • Applicable University Global Citizenship Program hours
  • Electives

Required Courses

  • ART 1010 Creative Strategies (3 hours)
  • ART 1110 Introduction to Drawing (3 hours)
  • DESN 1210 Design Concepts (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2200 Current Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2210 Intercultural History of Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 4920 Senior Thesis (3 hours)

A minimum of 24 credit hours must be chosen from the following:

  • ARHS 3010 Greek and Roman Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 3110 Early Renaissance Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 3120 High and Late Renaissance Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 3130 Northern Renaissance Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 3150 Baroque Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 3210 Nineteenth-Century Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 3250 Modern Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 3270 Contemporary Art I: Late-Twentieth-Century Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 3280 Contemporary Art II: Twenty-First-Century Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 4600 Topics in Art History (3 hours)
    (may be repeated for credit if topic varies)
  • ARHS 4700 Cultural Organizations: Structure and Theory (3 hours)
  • ARHS 4730 Art Theory and Criticism (3 hours)
    (may be repeated for credit if topic varies) 
  • PHIL 3120 Philosophy and Art (3 hours)    

Other Program Requirements and Opportunities

  • Intermediate proficiency in a foreign language is required.
  • The Department of Art, Design and Art History is committed to the concept of combining theory with experience; consequently, art history students are required to take courses in studio art. Further electives in studio art are encouraged.
  • Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the field, additional credit hours should be taken in related areas, included courses in history, literature, philosophy and religious studies.
  • Students are encouraged to participate in a practicum experience. They can take advantage of several internships available in local museums and galleries.
  • Students are encouraged to study at one of the Webster University international campuses. Each international campus and host city offers unique opportunities relevant to art historical studies, and students should consider choosing one with respect to their scholarly interests.
  • Alternating biennial short-term study abroad trips to Florence and to Venice are offered, each with an art history and criticism focus, and majors are encouraged to take them. The trip to Venice focuses on the Biennale, the large-scale international contemporary art show that occurs there every other year. Students are exposed to the most current ideas occurring in today's art world and how to critically engage with them. The trip to Florence, with a focus on Italian Renaissance Art, considers a specific period of art within its architectural and cultural setting, providing a more immediate interaction with works in their original locations.