New Student Programs

Art History

About the B.A. in Art History

Drawing from diverse intellectual and visual traditions, the Art History program develops students’ visual literacy skills and supports an in-depth inquiry into the practices of modern and contemporary art, criticism, design, photography and theory.

The program is committed to rigorous methods that are socially engaged and take advantage of the numerous resources in the City of Chicago. Through our curriculum of 42 credits students acquire the basic skills of art history: they analyze visual elements, relate art to its historical and cultural contexts, and explore theories that provide frameworks for understanding art and visual culture.

Additionally, through our annual art history symposium, graduating seniors have the opportunity to present original research. Training in art history prepares students for a wide variety of professional opportunities. Graduates typically pursue careers in teaching, museums and art galleries, art criticism, editing and publishing, art conservation, historic preservation, arts management, and cultural advocacy.


For Orientation

On Campus Freshmen Students

If you are attending New Student Orientation as a freshman you do not need to bring a portfolio.  We do not evaluate non-college level work for incoming freshmen.  All AP credits will be evaluated by the Office of Degree Evaluation and do not require a portfolio review.

On Campus Transfer Students

No student is required to bring a portfolio, however, any students attempting to place into upper-level courses will need to complete a portfolio review.  

Students who are attempting to transfer credits for upper-level classes in the following must bring a portfolio, as well as syllabi and course descriptions for those transfer classes.  In addition, you may want to bring an additional copy of your transcripts:

  • • Advertising Art Direction
  • • Illustration
  • • Interior Architecture
  • • Fine Art
  • • Product Design
  • • Graphic Design

Students must bring a portfolio consisting of the following:

  • • 8-10 images from each course to be evaluated.
  • • A course description/and or syllabus for each course being evaluated.
  • • The format may be a hardcopy or digital.

The following courses do not require a portfolio review and will be applied to a student’s degree after the transcripts have been evaluated by the Office of Degree Evaluation and the Art and Design department, unless the course is otherwise names, then clarification of course content may be needed.

  • • Art History I and II
  • • Beginning Drawing
  • • 2-D Design
  • • 3-D Design

On Campus 2nd BA Students

If you took art and design classes as part of your undergraduate degree you must bring a copy of your transcript and portfolio to be reviewed at Orientation.

We regret that we are unable to register any 2nd BA student for upper level courses without a portfolio review.

Students must bring a portfolio consisting of the following:

  • • 8-10 images from each course to be evaluated.
  • • A course description/and or syllabus for each course being evaluated.
  • • The format may be hardcopy or digital.

2nd BA students cannot transfer credit to Columbia College Chicago, however they can be waived out of course work that they have previously completed.


Distance Freshmen Students

We do not evaluate non-college level work for incoming freshmen. All AP credits will be evaluated by the Office of Degree Evaluation and do not require a portfolio review.


Distance Transfer Students

Students should expect to see the results of applying to transfer course credit in the following classes:

  • • Art History I and II
  • • Beginning Drawing
  • • 2-D Design & 3-D Design (unless course is otherwise named, then clarification of course content may be needed)

For more information regarding our transfer credit policies please review our Art & Design Transfer Credit Policies


For Orientation


We recommend that all students take following classes in their first semester as an Art History major:

  • • 22-1101 History of Art I

Plus the following general education classes:

  • • 48-1100 First Year Seminar
  • • 52-1151 Writing and Rhetoric I
  • • Math
  • • Science

For more information about our exciting new Foundations program please visit our website.