The University of Kentucky College of Fine Arts

Art History & Visual Studies

Art History & Visual Studies Major

Art Museum Vault - Art History and Visual Studies Students - Dana Rodger PhotographyThe UK SA/VS Art History & Visual Studies program is predominately devoted to modern and contemporary art and visual culture, viewed from both Western and non-Western perspectives.  Faculty specialize in contemporary, modern, 19th-century European, Asian and African art and visual culture, as well as ancient Roman/early Christian/early medieval art and visual culture.  Art History & Visual Studies also offers broad foundational courses in early world art, post-medieval Western art, and visual studies.  Majors may choose been two different tracks depending on the students' interests - Art History or Visual Studies.  The Art History track is designed for students whose primary interest is the study of the traditional high art cultures in Western and non-Western societies.  The degree typically prepares students for careers in museums and galleries, and as educators.  Students in this track often go on to pursue graduate work in art history.  The Visual Studies track is more closely connected to contemporary art, society, and visual culture.  It is designed to give students a broad understanding of how images impact the world we live in.  Students might consider this degree as complimentary to the study of visual communication.  Graduates often pursue careers in curating contemporary art and other forms of visual expression, as well as a variety of design fields in which high level critical visual skills are in high demand.  Either track teaches students the fundamentals of research, to read both texts and images critically, to communicate effectively in written form about visual material, and to present orally in a clear and effective manner their research to others.  

University Scholars Program

This program offers gifted and highly motivated students the opportunity and challenge of integrating their undergraduate and graduate courses of study in a single continuous program culminating in both a baccalaureate and a master’s degree. Students admitted to the University Scholars Program may share up to 12 credit hours of coursework between the bachelor’s and the master’s degrees. The requirements for the completion of the bachelor’s degree are unaffected. Generally, it means that students participating in the program may be able to complete an MA in Art History and Visual Studies in one year rather than two.  Check below for more information on when and how to apply to the University Scholars Program.

Study Abroad, African Art in ParisThe Art History & Visual Studies program offers two distinct tracks for undergraduate majors and minors.  These tracks are designed to help students prepare for the many career choices available to students pursuing a degree in one of the richest and most diverse fields in the humanities.

Art History & Visual Studies: Art History

B.A. Degree

This option focuses on the development of the visual arts, particularly on the histories of “high” or “fine” art within a broad liberal arts tradition. Students study artistic images, objects, and events representing diverse cultures within a global context.  The program puts strong emphasis on the acquisition of skills in written and oral communication, foreign language comprehension, critical reading, and problem solving, all leading to the pursuit of independent scholarship in art history.  These are skills useful for virtually any career path, but specifically, this option prepares majors to pursue post-graduate studies in art history and related humanistic disciplines, leading to careers in academia, arts administration, visual resources management, museum professions, and similar fields.

Art History Track Requirements

Art History & Visual Studies: Visual Studies

B.A. Degree 

Ours is a visual culture. Workplaces today are visually saturated environments, our dominant pastimes are visual media (films, television, video, the internet, etc.); knowledge is commonly communicated visually. Visual Studies teach critical viewing to prepare us for the visually complex milieu of the 21st Century. This option offers majors a broad interdisciplinary selection of courses and methodologies from the arts, design, humanities, social sciences, and sciences to study the uses to which people put the visual and the place of the visual within the context of diverse cultures and within a global context.  Students who choose this option could pursue further training leading to careers in visual resource management, law, journalism, or may pursue graduate work in visual studies, cultural studies, film studies, and art history.

Visual Studies Track Requirements

Official Degree Requirements & Course Information

Always be sure to check the full major requirements on the current UK Registrar Bulletin.  The details listed below are simplified for brevity and presented for your convenience.

College Requirements
6 credit hours
UK Core Requirements
30 credit hours

Premajor Foundations Requirement

All students take: A-H 106 Renaissance to Modern Art
3 credit hours
Plus one of the following:
  • A-H 101 Introduction to Visual Studies
  • A-H 105 World Art Before 1400
3 credit hours
Plus one of the following:
  • A-S 102 Two-Dimensional Surface
  • A-S 103 Three-Dimensional Form
  • A-S 130 Drawing
  • A-S 200 Introduction to Digital Art, Space and Time
3 credit hours

Premajor Subtotal: 9 credit hours

Major Requirements

Shared Curriculum Core

Courses from the three shared curriculum core groups are designed to provide students with a broad knowledge of major developments in art history and visual studies. Students will develop skills in visual analysis, research methods, problem solving, and writing and oral communication.

Select five courses, including at least one course from each of the following three groups:

Art & Visual Studies of Non-Western Cultures
  • A-H 304 African Art and Its Global Impact
  • A-H 308 Studies in African Arts (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 310 Asian Art and Culture (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 311 The Arts as Soft Power: The Japanese Tea Ceremony
minimum 3 credit hours
Art & Visual Studies of Europe Before the Modern Era
  • A-H 314 Ancient (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 323 Medieval (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 334 Reframing Renaissance Art
  • A-H 335 Early Modern Art & Visual Culture, 1400-1700 (Subtitle required)
minimum 3 credit hours
Art & Visual Studies of the Modern Era
  • A-H 339 Art & Visual Culture 1700-1840 (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 340 Art & Visual Culture 1840-1914 (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 341 20th Century (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 342 Modern American Art & Visual Studies (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 350 Contemporary Art and Visual Studies (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 360 Visual Culture of Politics
minimum 3 credit hours
Students may petition the College to substitute the following courses to fulfill the corresponding historical core category above when the focus of the subtitle is appropriate:
  • A-H 300 Topics in Art History & Visual Studies (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 301 Cross-Cultural Topics in Art History & Visual Studies (Subtitle required)

Shared Curriculum Subtotal: 15 credit hours

Electives
In addition, students must choose 21 hours of free electives.

Option In The Major (Select One)

Each of the options in the major assumes a sound knowledge of art history and visual studies provided by the shared curriculum core. Each requires upper-division art history courses and courses in one or more cognate disciplines. Majors will want to consult with their advisor in the Art History & Visual Studies program to select the path that best serves their future goals.

Art History Option

Foreign Language

Complete one of the following sequences beyond the UK foreign language requirement:

Option A: Successful completion of the fourth college semester of one foreign language, German or French recommended.
(Note: This may be accomplished by scoring at this level on a placement test for previous work in the foreign language.)
Option B: Successful completion of the third college semester course of one foreign language and the second college semester course of a second language.
(Note: Either or both may be accomplished by scoring at the appropriate level on a placement test for previous work in the foreign languages selected.)
Option C: Demonstrate equivalent competence.
Students for whom English is a second language, for instance, may use their native language to fulfill this requirement.

Language Subtotal: 6-7 credit hours

Upper-Division Art History & Visual Studies Courses

Select one of the following courses designed to provide students with direct experience with the art object through either a museum practicum or appropriate course offering:

A-H 399 Experiential Education in Art History & Visual Studies
3 credit hours
A-H 501 Museum Studies I: Introduction
3 credit hours
A-H 502 Museum Studies I: Internship
3 credit hours
A-H 504 Practical Issues in Art History (Subtitle required)
3 credit hours
Plus at least three Art History & Visual Studies courses at the 300 level or above, of which at least two must be from the following seminar areas. To fulfill the requirement, students must select two different seminar numbers (not the same seminar number with different subtitles).
  • A-H 524 Theory and Methods (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 525 Studies in Genres and Media (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 526 Art and the Artist in Society (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 527 Interdisciplinary Approaches (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 528 Topical Seminar in Art History & Visual Studies (Subtitle required)
  • A-H 529 Topical Seminar in Architectural or Design History
9 credit hours

Upper Division Subtotal: 12 credit hours

Cognate Courses
Students must complete 15 hours in courses in anthropology, art studio, arts administration, art professions, classics, history, history of film, history of interior design, history of theatre, literature, music, or philosophy. Foreign language courses over and above the foreign language requirement for the art history option are also encouraged.
15 credit hours
Capstone Course
A-H 555 Methods in Art History & Visual Studies
3 credit hours

Visual Studies Option

Students who select the Visual Studies option are required to have taken A-H 101, Introduction to Visual Studies, offered as an option for the premajor requirement.

Foreign Language
The UK foreign language requirement satisfies the Visual Studies option.

Upper-Division Art History & Visual Studies Courses

Select four of the following. To satisfy this requirement, courses must have a different subtitle from those used to satisfy the shared curriculum core, or cognate requirements:

A-H 300 Topics in Art History & Visual Studies (Subtitle required)
3 credit hours
A-H 301 Cross-Cultural Topics in Art History & Visual Studies (Subtitle required)
3 credit hours
A-H 350 Contemporary Art and Visual Studies (Subtitle required)
3 credit hours
A-H 360 Visual Culture of Politics
3 credit hours
A-H 399 Experiential Education in Art History & Visual Studies
3 credit hours
A-H 504 Practical Issues in Art History (Subtitle required)
3 credit hours
A-H 524 Theory and Methods (Subtitle required)
3 credit hours
A-H 525 Studies in Genres and Media (Subtitle required)
3 credit hours
A-H 526 Art and the Artist in Society (Subtitle required)
3 credit hours
A-H 527 Interdisciplinary Approaches (Subtitle required)
3 credit hours
A-H 528 Topical Seminar in Art History & Visual Studies (Subtitle required)
3 credit hours
A-H 529 Topical Seminar in Architectural or Design History (Subtitle required)
3 credit hours

Upper-Division Subtotal: 12 credit hours

Cognate Courses
In consultation with their advisors, students must identify and propose courses relevant to visual studies that do not have an A-H prefix. At least three of these course selections must be at the 300 level or above; students should bear in mind that some of the courses may have prerequisites. No more than three cognate courses may be from one discipline (ENG, A-S, ANT, etc.).
21 credit hours
Capstone Course
At least one capstone course in Art History & Visual Studies will be offered each semester and so designated in the Schedule of Classes. A-H 555 Methods in Art History & Visual Studies, offered once each year, always serves as a capstone course.
3 credit hours

Total: minimum 120 credit hours

Art History Minor

The Minor in Art History focuses on the development of the visual arts, particularly the histories of "high" or "fine" art, within a broad liberal arts tradition. Students study artistic images, objects and events representing diverse cultures within a global context.  It is a particularly good minor for students majoring in the humanities or the arts.

Requirements

Two courses selected from the following (6 credit hours):
  • A-H 101 Introduction to Visual Studies - 3credit hours
  • A-H 105 World Art Before 1400 - 3 credit hours
  • A-H 106 Renaissance to Modern Art - 3 credit hours
One applied course in the College of Fine Arts appropriate to art history. Courses in art studio, art education, as well as costume, make-up, or set design would apply.
3 credit hours
Four additional Art History & Visual Studies courses (A-H prefix)
12 credit hours

Total Hours: 21


Visual Studies Minor

The Visual Studies Minor offers a more broadly based curriculum than that covered by traditional Art History, reaching into everyday life and popular culture to deal with all aspects of visual communication.  The Visual Studies Minor curriculum teaches critical viewing skills to prepare students to successfully interpret and navigate the visual complexity of the 21st century, both inside and outside the workplace. Students from any college may choose to minor in Visual Studies.

Requirements

No more than four courses may be from Art History & Visual Studies (AH prefix). At least two courses selected must be taken at the 300 level or above (including 4th requirement below).

A-H 101 Introduction to Visual Studies
3 credit hours
One course selected from the following:
  • A-H 105 World Art Before 1400
  • A-H 106 Renaissance to Modern Art
3 credit hours
One course selected from the following:
  • A-S 102 Two-Dimensional Surface
  • A-S 103 Three-Dimensional Form
  • A-S 130 Drawing
  • A-S 200 Introduction to Digital Art, Space, and Time
3 credit hours
One course selected from any Art History & Visual Studies course at the 300 level
3 credit hours
Three courses selected from the following:
In consultation with an Art History & Visual Studies advisor, students may identify and propose courses relevant to visual studies other than those listed below to fulfill this requirement. They must file a College of Fine Arts petition form for approval of the substitution of the alternate course with the College of Fine Arts Dean's Office.
  • A-H Art History & Visual Studies – up to one additional course
  • A-S 200 Introduction to Digital Art, Space, and Time (if not already used to fulfill #3 above)
  • A-S 280 Introduction to Photographic Literacy
  • A-S 345 Web Design
  • A-S 346 Digital Video
  • ANT 450 Symbols and Culture
  • ARC 212 History and Theory I: 15th-17th Centuries
  • ARC 213 History and Theory II: 18th-19th Centuries
  • ARC 314 History and Theory III: 20th Century and Contemporary Architecture
  • ARC 315 World Architecture and Urbanism
  • CHI 321 Introduction to Contemporary Chinese Film
  • CLA 100 Ancient Stories in Modern Films
  • CLA 135 Greek and Roman Mythology
  • CLA 210 The Art of Greece and Rome
  • COM 101 Introduction to Communications
  • COM 249 Mass Media and Mass Culture
  • COM 449 Mass Media and Social Influence
  • COM 453 Digital and Mass Communication Media Literacy
  • ENG 280 Introduction to Film
  • ENG 284 History of Film I
  • ENG 285 History of Film II
  • ENG 480G Studies in Film (Subtitle required)
  • FR 103 French Cinema
  • GER 105 German Film Today
  • GER 361 German Cinema
  • HIS 597 Westerners in East Asia, 1839 to the Present
  • ID 161 History and Theory of Interior Environments I
  • ID 162 History and Theory of Interior Environments II
  • ISC 161 Introduction to Integrated Strategic Communication
  • ISC 319 World Media Systems
  • JOU 455 Mass Media and Diversity (Subtitle required)
  • JPN 283 Japanese Film
  • LA 205 History of Landscape Architecture
  • MAS 520 Social Effects of the Mass Media
  • MAT 247 Dress and Culture
  • RUS 275 Russian Film
  • RUS 370 Russian Folklore (in English)
  • RUS 372 Russian Culture 1900-Present
  • SPA 371 Latin American Cinema (Subtitle required)
  • SPA 372 Spanish Cinema (Subtitle required)
9 credit hours

Total Hours: 21

Institut du Monde ArabeThe Master of Arts in Art History & Visual Studies prepares students with the course work, language skills, and research experience needed for further graduate study or work in a museum or educational setting. The curriculum is structured to provide both breadth and depth of inquiry through a variety of approaches to art history and, more broadly, visual studies. We recommend that courses be broadly selected to take full advantage of the multiple approaches, expertise, and insights of the faculty.

The relatively small size of the M.A. program, the richness of available resources, and the dedication of its faculty enable students to tailor their program of study to particular needs while simultaneously attaining a strong general grounding in the discipline. Campus resources include the Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center, the Special Collections of the M. I. King Library, the W.T. Young Library, the UK Art Museum, the School of Art & Visual Studies’ Visual Resources Office, and the Bolivar Art Gallery.

Current classes, admission information, and degree requirements can be found in the Graduate School Bulletin.
Current student can also find the SAVS Graduate Student Handbook, required documents, and helpful links on the Student Resources page.

AHVS Study Abroad - African Art in Paris SeminarThe University Scholars Program offers particularly gifted and highly motivated students the opportunity of integrating their undergraduate and graduate courses of study in a single continuous program culminating in both a baccalaureate and a master's or doctoral degree.  An application to the program should be submitted at the end of the student’s junior year, upon completion of at least 90 credit hours of work, for entry into the program in the student’s senior year. Tuition and financial aid during the first year of the program is still covered by previously awarded undergraduate funding, at the cost of undergraduate credit hours. University Scholars are eligible to apply for assistantships their second and final year in the program.

Admission Requirements

  1. 3.5 GPA in Art History and Visual Studies major and 3.2 GPA overall
  2. Completed 90 hours of coursework
  3. Completed all Core Curriculum requirements

Application Process

  1. Identify a faculty sponsor in Art History and Visual Studies
  2. Complete University Scholars application form in consultation with the faculty sponsor.
  3. Submit with letter of intent addressed to Art History and Visual Studies graduate advisor

This form should be returned along with the standard Graduate School application form.

Tuition

Tuition and financial aid during the first year of the program (the University Scholar's fourth year at UK) is still covered by previously awarded undergraduate funding, at the cost of undergraduate credit hours. University Scholars are eligible to apply for assistantships their second and final year in the program.

Deadlines

Spring Admission - November 15
Summer II Admission - April 15
Fall Admission - April 15

Art History & Visual Studies Faculty

Director of the School of Art and Visual Studies
Professor of Art History. Twentieth Century and Contemporary
102A Art & Visual Studies Building
859-257-8151
Gallery Director, Lecturer
114A Art and Visual Studies Building
859-257-8151
Teaching Assistant
Art History
Art and Visual Studies Building
Professor of Art History
Eighteenth Century to Contemporary, Visual Studies
303A Fine Arts Bldg
859-257-2291
Associate Professor
Art History, Late Classical World and Medieval
201A FA
859-257-2303
Instructor
Art History
301A Art and Visual Studies Building
859-218-1316
Teaching Assistant
Art History
Art and Visual Studies Building
Assistant Professor
Art History, Contemporary and Visual Studies
301 Fine Arts Building
257-1716
Associate Professor (On sabbatical 2017-2018 academic year)
Art History, Arts of Asia
307A Fine Arts Bldg.
859.257.2344
Associate Professor
Art History, Arts of Africa and Contemporary
307 Fine Arts Building
859-257-1398
Adjunct Associate Professor
Art History, Classical World
201 FA
859-257-1398
Senior Lecturer
Art History Foundations
301A FA
859-257-9380