Art History

Art History shows you the world. Whether it is an ancient temple in Corinth, Greece, or a desert landscape reinterpreted by Georgia O’Keeffe, the subtle hatching of an Old Master drawing or the brilliant stained glass of a Gothic cathedral, art history explores past and present cultures in light of contemporary intellectual, social, and artistic issues.

Art history at Notre Dame offers an extremely wide array of courses every semester. Our offerings typically include classes in each of the following areas: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance & Baroque, and Modern & Contemporary art history. Our diverse and strong faculty bring their own research and passion into the classroom and encourage students to supplement lectures and discussions with invaluable hands-on experience at the Snite Museum, the Special Collections in Hesburgh Library, or the South Bend Regional Museum of Art.

Both the 30-hour (10 courses) first major and the 24-hour (8 courses) supplementary major are designed for students who wish to pursue a career in a museum or gallery, for those who seek to continue their studies in a graduate program, or for those who simply want to deepen their knowledge of civilizations and cultures through the examination of their most beautiful, provocative, and powerful creations. Our program also offers a 33-hour (11 courses) honors degree which gives the exceptionally well-prepared student the opportunity to write a senior thesis.

A minor in art history requires 15 hours (5 courses), which include 2 at the 20000-level and 3 at the 30000-level or above for students enrolled before 2019. For 2019 and beyond, the courses include 1 at the 10000-level, 1 at the 20000-level, 3 at the 30000-level or higher. The 10000-level art history course is our University Seminar course (art history only).

Art history provides training in a number of transferable skills valued by employers: visual analysis, critical thinking and reading, the use of evidence to support an argument, and analytical writing. Students develop these competencies through the study of the art and architecture of the world in the present and the past and in relation to its context--the political, economic, scientific, and religious forces that inform the work of artists and architects. Art history is a truly global and interdisciplinary field of study.

Still have questions?

Degrees offered include 


Questions about art history? General questions can be sent to, or, you can contact Director of Undergraduate Studies, Elyse Speaks. If you have specific questions about Art History, feel free to contact a faculty member directly.