» Bachelor of Arts in Art History

Regardless of time and geography, art and architecture have been used to explore, express, and shape private selves and public lives. In an increasingly disposable world and even after centuries, some works of art have maintained their fascination. They continue to speak to us, although what they say may change. Understanding how visual and material choices create meaning, and how those meanings express and affect the world, is the pursuit of art history.

The B.A. in Art History provides students with the practical, conceptual and methodological skills required to understand this visual communication. The act of viewing is neither passive nor naïve, but rather an active and intentional series of choices meant to create meaning: it is an act of visual intelligence. The study of art history allows students to develop and mature their visual intelligence by focusing on both visual and verbal thinking.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be able to write both descriptively and analytically about works of art in a variety of media.
  2. Students will be able to write an independent research paper that uses visual analysis and scholarly research to develop and support a thesis.
  3. Students will be able to conduct advanced art historical research using the full range of scholarly resources.
  4. Students will be able to recognize the theoretical concerns of art history and its allied disciplines and apply specific theoretical perspectives to their research projects.
Current students, please contact the Department of Art for information at art@chapman.edu


Art students at a museum

Visual Thinker Lecture Series
The Department of Art presents lectures each semester designed to explore visual culture from a wide range of art professionals across disciplines offering opportunities to learn, be inspired, and network.

College Art Association: Artists and art historians are encouraged to join this national organization for academic and professional development. The College Art Association hosts an annual conference and publishes the renowned, Art Bulletin.

The 2020 symposium will mark the tenth anniversary of this event
The Undergraduate Art History Symposium is designed to offer students an opportunity to experience the professional format of conferences in the discipline to better prepare them for graduate school.


Art history students in class

Junior Seminar and Senior Thesis
Junior Seminar is for students participate in Chapman's annual Student Scholar Symposium, presenting posters, which display their research projects. During senior year, Art History majors work independently on a Senior Thesis, a focused project.

Students are encouraged to intern at the many museums, galleries, and arts-related businesses in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

Alumni Success

  • Jessica Bocinski, 2018 - Registrar, Escalette Art Collections, Chapman University
  • Katie Friesen - JD/MBA Candidate, 2019 | UCI School of Law | UCI Paul Merage School of Business
  • Leslie McShane Lodwick - PhD candidate in History of Art & Visual Culture, UC San Jose
  • Areni Nuyujukian: B.A. Art History, 2016. Assistant to Partners and Senior Director at Skarstedt Find Art, New York
  • Alex Allen and Jessica Yi: B.A. Art History, 2016. Finance and Customer Relations Department at Bonham’s International Auctioneers and Appraisers, Los Angeles
  • Clarissa Hampton: B.A. Art History, 2016. Events Assistant at P.S. Arts, Los Angeles
  • Ivy Withrow: B.A. Art History, 2015. Head of Development, In House Media Film Partners, President of Redburn Street Pictures

Interdisciplinary Opportunities

Art history student taking notes

Liberal Arts Core
Students have the opportunity and freedom to explore a range of topics, concerns, and methodologies from historical culture, formal analysis and iconography to material culture, social history and gender studies within their General Education core.

Students are encouraged to minor in Arts and Humanities, Social Cultural Studies, Area Studies and Communication Studies to supplement their major and round out their research.

Research Opportunities and SURF
Our students have taken advantage of many opportunities to travel to conduct their own original research at institutions such as Stanford University Libraries and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Some students have also participated in the competitive Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, a 10-week opportunity to develop a large project with a faculty mentor.

Seminars and Thematic Courses
Art History seminars are topical — organized around thematic and theoretical issues related to faculty research — allowing small groups of students (including non-art history majors) to work intensively with faculty in analyzing visual and material culture. We also offer thematic courses at the upper-division level that engage in a focused manner on particular cities, genres of art, or current cultural issues, enabling students to understand art in its broader context, while transcending the traditional model of the survey lecture course. 



International Opportunities

Art history in Italy

Travel Courses
Students have the opportunity to travel to Italy to explore the complexity, innovation, and magnificence of centuries of Italian history though its visual production. Future travel courses are also planned for art history in other parts of the Mediterranean, including Greece and Turkey.

Global Studies
Students are encouraged to participate in study abroad programs in almost every part of the world. Studying overseas provides a unique opportunity which can open up fresh perspectives on international political, economic and social issues, interpersonal relationships and ultimate career choices. Students may study overseas for a semester or and academic year. They may also join Professor Justin Walsh in working on his excavation in the south of Spain during the summer.

Chapman is the university of record for a program in Greece and a Cooperating Institute of the American School of Classical Study at Athens.