Art History & Visual Culture | Art & Design | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Liberal Arts

SIU Art History student at MoMA

Art History & Visual Culture

arthistoryThe Art History program provides broad liberal arts training in the historical analysis of art and visual culture, preparing students to approach a range of visual material with intellectual rigor, historical perspective, and theoretical insight. Courses offered range from introductory undergraduate to rigorous graduate level courses, and explore issues in the production, reception, and theory of art and visual culture from antiquity to the present day in a global context.

Undergraduates can specialize or minor in Art History. The undergraduate training prepares students for further study and careers in academia, museums, galleries, auction houses, and secondary education.

arthistory2Learn more about our undergraduate program in Art History in our brochure (PDF).




Bachelor of Arts, Art History Specialization
arthistory3The undergraduate specialization in Art History is accomplished by fulfilling the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree of 120 credits. Students take a three-semester introductory survey of global art history (AD 207A,B, and C) and 300 and 400-level courses dealing with a broad range of art and design from various cultures and time periods as well as specific thematic concerns within the history of art. Upper level history courses introduce students to methods and theories of researching and writing in art history, and students work closely with their chosen faculty advisor to write a senior thesis on an area of particular interest to them.

The Tony Fehm Memorial Art History Achievement Award of up to $1,000 is awarded each year in the spring to at least one undergraduate specializing in art history who demonstrates excellence in critical analysis and art historical research.

The undergraduate program is complemented by the student-run Art History Association, which organizes on-campus events and trips to museums and galleries nationwide.

Master of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture
The MA in Art History and Visual Culture is on hold until future notice, therefore we are not accepting applications at this time.

arthistory4The curriculum is interdisciplinary, encouraging students to take courses in Anthropology, Cinema & Photography, English, History, Mass Communication and Media Arts, Philosophy, and other related fields. Students are required to take 30 credit hours over the course of their study, with a minimum of 15 credits earned at the 500 level. 18 hours constitute the core requirement (a required course in methods and theory; and five distribution electives, to include courses in pre-1800, post-1800, and design history/theory); 9 hours of free electives; and 3 - 6 hours are applied to a Master’s thesis or a comprehensive examination. During their course of study, students are required to pass a language examination in the reading of German, a Romance language, or an approved substitute. Based on full-time study (9 or more hours per semester), the program should take two years to complete.

Full time students are eligible for Graduate Assistantships that include a tuition waiver and stipend, for which they serve as Teaching Assistants, work in the School of Art and Design’s Visual Resources collection, or fulfill other functions.

Information on SIUC's graduate school admission requirements are available at:

Graduate Certificate Program in Art History

The certificate program enables students to develop a broad knowledge of the history of art, become familiar with the discipline’s methodology, and acquire training in teaching art history. Graduate students can pursue the certificate program either independently or concurrently with an MFA.

Students enrolled in the certificate program must maintain a GPA of no less than 3.0 in all coursework counting towards the certificate. Maximum time allowed to complete all requirements for the certificate is 6 years from the date of admission to the program.

Students enrolled in the certificate program will be required to complete 21 credit hours of graduate level art history coursework. Of these, 3 credit hours will consist of AD 537, Teaching Practicum. Of the 21 art history credit hours required by the certificate program, 9 can count towards requirements of another graduate degree (such as the MFA). A Qualifying Exam is required upon completion of the program.

Applications for admission to the Graduate Certificate in Art History are accepted at any time for admission in the following semester. To apply: fill out the short application (link below), submit a 250-500 word statement discussing your background and interest in pursuing a Certificate in Art History, and transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate work. Submit your complete application to the School of Art and Design's Graduate Office, Allyn 103, Mailcode 4301, SIU, Carbondale, IL 62901.

Questions? Please contact Dr. Mont Allen, Art History Graduate Coordinator, at or 618-453-5403.