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Art and Architecture History Major

Art history is arguably the most expansive field a student can pursue. It is the study of human civilization across time and culture through the physical things that they make--paintings, sculptures, architecture, graphic and decorative arts, film, performance, and others. As a discipline, art history considers how these works of art signify ideas, beliefs, practices, and social identities of the groups and individuals that made, viewed, or used them. Students of art history learn how to understand these works of art through research and analysis of aesthetic issues, cultural contexts, and artistic practices. They ultimately acquire specialized expertise in the important roles played by visual media in our own society and that of cultures from around the globe.

the words "Love and Honor"

Miami University Students Curate an Art Museum Exhibition

Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify the defining characteristics of major styles, historical periods, and artists in the history of art;
  2. Analyze basic methodologies of art historical investigation and apply them to their own original research;
  3. Communicate their own art historical arguments to a specialized audience in a way that demonstrates their own understanding of the history of art and their own creative thinking about that material;
  4. Collaborate with peers to present art historical arguments to a public audience.

Art History Students at Miami Can:

  • Work with outstanding professors with international reputations for their research in the fields of Classical, Renaissance, Baroque, Asian, African, modern, and contemporary art and architecture history.
  • Study works of art from across cultures in the permanent collection of the fully accredited Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum.
  • Form close mentorships with professors who are passionate about teaching at an institution nationally recognized for its commitment to undergraduate education.
  • Apply for focused study abroad programs and internships in locations such as Luxembourg, Florence and Rome, Dublin, and the Czech Republic.
  • Design and curate an exhibition at the Richard and Carole Cocks Art Museum as part of the senior capstone seminar.
  • Go on an annual senior trip to New York City, where students establish close relationships with alumni who have found rewarding careers at major art institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Gagosian Gallery, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • Prepare for a wide variety of careers that require critical thinking, visual acuity, and excellent communication skills.


The Art and Architecture History major and minor at Miami University prepares students for a wider range of career options than what many might realize. The content of the history of art will be essential knowledge for anyone looking to work in museums, galleries, or cultural institutions; attend graduate school in art history or related fields; and teach art history at the high school and college level. However, the skills acquired through the study of art history are highly desired by a much broader range of employers, whether related to the arts and humanities or not. Consider the following skills* and how they are honed through the study of art history:

Visual Analysis

Developing tools to assess the function of images in an increasingly visual world.

Comparatively analyzing works of art to understand their styles, functions, and artistic value.

Recognizing why works of art look the way that they do and how they communicate information.

Human Relations

Understanding the functions of created objects from various times and across cultures.

Identifying a culture’s values and beliefs by studying the objects created in that culture.

Explaining our own contemporary culture by exploring those of others.


Gathering, examining, and analyzing evidence in images and primary sources.

Assessing information and judging its relevance and importance.

Expanding the horizons of knowledge through novel interdisciplinary investigations.


Writing and speaking critically about topics related to created objects.

Interpreting and organizing complex and often ambiguous information.

Developing sound arguments supported by logically ordered evidence.

Contact Us

Department of Art
124 Art Building
Oxford, OH 45056