Art History and Visual Culture Major

We live in a visual world, and the study of Art History and Visual Culture provides essential tools for experiencing and understanding humanity's creative achievements.

Studying Art History and Visual Culture develops the mind and vital skills, such as visual literacy, critical thinking, writing, and speaking, which prepare students to thrive in a wide spectrum of careers. Art History and Visual Culture alumni readily find employment and build careers in museums, galleries, and auction houses around the world, as well as in social media, law, the non-profit sector, marketing, public relations, development and fundraising, education, publishing, and nearly every occupation that requires observation, analysis, and communication. Fairfield’s dedicated alumni are valuable resources for current students and return to campus regularly to give career advice and participate in job shadow programs and intern hiring.

Fairfield’s program in Art History and Visual Culture offers a global curriculum, as well as museum studies courses. Students may choose a traditional Art History and Visual Culture major, or an Art History and Visual Culture major with a concentration in visual arts administration.

Among the many outstanding resources available to students are internships at the Fairfield University Art Museum’s Bellarmine Hall Galleries and Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery, special visits to major museums in New York and Connecticut, internships at New York and regional museums and cultural organizations, and research using the Fairfield University Arts Museum's collection and the historic Plaster Cast Collection.

Many majors enrich their experi­ence further by spending a semester or year studying abroad, including our specially-designed programs in Florence, Italy and Aix-en-Provence, France.

Students in introductory Art History and Visual Culture courses should be able to meet the following learning goals:

  • Have visual literacy and fluency

  • Be able to discern and evaluate visual forms of expression

  • Have an increased comfort in museum/gallery/cultural settings

and learning outcomes:

  • Recognize and analyze paradigm monuments, and monuments related to them.
  • Use art historical vocabulary correctly.
  • Make meaningful connections between artworks and other examples of human expression within their historical contexts.
  • Find, evaluate, and use sources to answer questions and present findings in appropriate written form.

Students in upper-level seminars should be able to show proficiency in the above outcomes, as well as:

  • Demonstrate writing and research skills necessary in the field of Art History and Visual Culture.
  • Demonstrate creative capacities in oral and written expression.
  • Analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view.

For a 30-credit major in Art History and Visual Culture, students complete the following:

Select two Exploration courses from the following:6
Exploring Art History: Technology and Art
Exploring Art History: Migration and Art: Raids, Trade, Pilgrimage
Exploring Art History: Life, Death, and the Afterlife in Art
Exploring Art History: Propaganda and Art: From Shamans, Pharaohs, and Kings to Christ
Exploring Art History: Sex, Sacrilege, Scandals: From Caves to Culture Wars
Exploring Art History: Destruction, Plunder, and Preservation
Select three 1000-level Art History and Visual Culture courses from the following: 19
Art of East Asia
Art of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas
Art of Asia
History of Architecture
Jewish Art: Moses to Modernity
Myth in Classical Art
Greek Art and Archaeology
Roman Art and Archaeology: Colosseum to Catacombs
Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt: Images for Eternity
Medieval Art: Catacombs to Cathedrals
Celtic and Early Irish Art
Early Renaissance Art in Italy
High Renaissance and Mannerism in Italy
Modern Art
American Art and Media Culture
African-American Art
History of Photography
Art and Mythologies of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Bolshevik Russia: Comparative Systems & Outcomes
History, Theory, and Practice of Museums
Inside Museums and Galleries: Taste, Place, Public Space
Select one 2000- or 3000-level Art History and Visual Culture course from the following:3
Historic Plaster Cast Collection at Fairfield University
Arts of Ireland and the British Isles, 500-1000
Byzantine Art
Special Topics (Shell)
Museums, Art, Ethics, and the Law
Independent Study 2
Internship 2
Select three additional art history courses at the 1100 level or higher9
AHST 4999Senior Capstone Seminar3
Total Credits30

Concentration in Visual Arts Administration

For a 30-credit major in Art History and Visual Culture with a concentration in Visual Arts Administration, students complete the following:

Select two of the following Exploring Art History and Visual Culture courses:6
Exploring Art History: Migration and Art: Raids, Trade, Pilgrimage
Exploring Art History: Life, Death, and the Afterlife in Art
Exploring Art History: Propaganda and Art: From Shamans, Pharaohs, and Kings to Christ
Exploring Art History: Sex, Sacrilege, Scandals: From Caves to Culture Wars
Exploring Art History: Destruction, Plunder, and Preservation
Select one 1000-level Art History and Visual Culture course3
Select one 2000-level Art History and Visual Culture course3
Select one additional art history course numbered 1100 or higher3
Select at least one of the following museum-themed courses:3
History, Theory, and Practice of Museums
Inside Museums and Galleries: Taste, Place, Public Space
Museums, Art, Ethics, and the Law
AHST 3980Internship3
AHST 4999Senior Capstone Seminar3
ENGL 1839Grant and Proposal Writing3
Select one of the following Business courses:3
Introduction to Financial Accounting
Introduction to Management
Leading and Managing People
Entrepreneurship: Ideation and Validation
Managing Non-Profit Organizations
Principles of Marketing
Total Credits30

It is recommended that AETH 2291 Business Ethics be one of the courses taken for fulfillment Area III of the Core Curriculum. Additional DSB courses listed above are recommended as electives.

Magis Core Curriculum

Beginning with the Class of 2023, all undergraduate students will be required to complete the Magis Core Curriculum. Please refer to the Curricula section of this undergraduate catalog for a detailed explanation of the Magis Core.