» BA 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 BA 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.

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Major in Art History Tracking Sheet

Minor in Art History Tracking Sheet

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Art students at a museum Visual Thinker Lecture Series

The Department of Art presents monthly lectures 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

All artists and art historians are encouraged to join for academic and professional development. The College Art Association hosts an annual conference and publishes the renowned Art Bulletin.


The university subscribes to this digital library as a resource that provides more than one million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and sciences for teaching, learning, and research.


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 Internships

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

Alumni Success

Ayanna Dozier: BA Art History, 2012. Accepted to MA Art History at New York University

Madeline Tompseth: BA Art History, 2011 participated in the Penn State Archeological Dig in Egypt in the summer of 2010

Ariel D'Amelio: BA Art History, 2011 was accepted into MA graduate program at Hunter College in New York

Karlie Harstad: BA Art History, 2010 presented her senior thesis at a conference on contemporary Greek art in Athens

Emily Freyer: BA Art History, 2010 received a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to University of Helsinki, 2010-11


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.

Extracurricular Activities

Chapman offers an exciting range of activities that can enhance the student's learning experience


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.


Art history in Italy

Travel Courses

Students have to 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.


Chapman is the university of record for a program in Greece and a Cooperating Institute of the American School of Classical Study at Athens. In addition plans are under way to partner with the American Academy in Rome.