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Department of History of Art

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Why study the history of art?

The study of the visual arts in their historical contexts enriches our understanding of human creativity and the human condition.

Undergraduate Programs

The curriculum introduces the student to the visual arts of the past and the present. Courses cover the arts of ancient and medieval Europe, modern Europe, the United States, Africa, and East Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, and the art of Buddhism. Courses are offered in the history of photography, prints, and drawings.

Several introductory courses, that is, courses with no prerequisites, are offered every semester. These include 1- and 2-semester surveys in Western art (HA 100, HA 300, HA 150, and HA 151), HA 261 Introduction to Modern Art, HA 265 Introduction to Asian Art, HA 266 The Visual Arts of East Asia, HA 267 Art and Culture of Japan, HA 268 Art and Culture of China, HA 269 Art and Culture of Korea, and HA 330 Italian Renaissance Art.

Courses for Nonmajors

All courses are open to nonmajors if they have the necessary prerequisite, which in most cases is one of the introductory courses. An undergraduate adviser counsels nonmajors who need help selecting a course.

Why study the history of art?

The study of the visual arts in their historical contexts enriches our understanding of human creativity and the human condition.

Graduate Programs

KU offers graduate art history courses covering Europe, the United States, and East Asia. Master of Arts degrees are offered in European, American, and East Asian art; they offer students a broad knowledge of the visual arts in those fields, as well as an introduction to the basic concepts and methods of the discipline. The M.A. may be pursued as a terminal degree or as preparation for specialized doctoral studies. Ph.D. degrees are offered in European, American, and East Asian art; they offer the opportunity for advanced research and concentration. Graduates typically seek careers in college and university teaching and in museum work.

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