Learn how to interpret and analyze art in Columbia College Chicago’s Art History bachelor’s degree program. Our unique approach to art history and theory focuses on diverse and socially engaged fields of study. Under the guidance of a faculty of art historians and artists you’ll study modern and contemporary art as well as design, photography, and architecture, all from a global and multicultural perspective. As an Art History major, you’ll become an experienced researcher and gain a critical understanding of the role of art in society. You’ll write and present original scholarship with your peers and faculty mentors. Our collaborative classroom approach fosters complex conversations that mirror experiences you’ll have in the field.
As an Art History major at Columbia College Chicago, you’ll live near several museums and galleries, such as the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Museum of Mexican Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Exciting conversations happen in every corner of the city. Art EXPO, one of the world’s largest modern and contemporary art expositions, happens every year just blocks from campus. Chicago is home to many artist-run alternative spaces as well. Your faculty mentors will help you identify opportunities for professional internship experiences at museums and galleries in the city.
As a Columbia student, you’ll have free access to the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Art History majors often pursue internships at local galleries, museums, educational organizations, festivals, and nonprofits. Columbia students have interned at places like the Chicago Artists Coalition and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Art History majors often assist faculty members in original scholarship, gaining important research opportunities that prepare them for graduate school.
As one of the foremost scholars on Archibald Motley, Amy Mooney helps organize a traveling exhibition and citywide initiative about the artist’s work.
“Columbia enabled me to dabble in many things ... as I found my way to what I was truly interested in and committed to: art history and visual culture.”
-Jamillah James ’05
Our alumni are gallerists, curators, and critics. They work as administrators at museums and community arts organizations and write regularly for a variety of publications. They comprise a supportive community, helping each other succeed.
If you’re interested in a program with a focus on studio practice, check out our Fine Arts BA and BFA programs.
Many Art History majors also pursue a minor. Some popular minors include: