The Art History Program at OSU offers a Bachelor of Arts degree, Master of Arts degree and a minor in Art History.
Works of art and architecture embody the human spirit, with all its hopes and limitations. Starting with a painting or sculpture, we can first explore the artist's personal feelings. We can see how the work reflects the society in which it was produced, including historical and political realities, religious and philosophical values, and cultural attitudes. Finally, we can understand why looking at art is a pleasure which enriches our lives. Art History is the guide to this journey. Our program has a broad range of courses in European and non-Western cultures, including Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, 19th Century, 20th Century, Art Since 1945, American, African, Native American, and Asian art. A degree in the History of Art provides the student with a rich and balanced liberal arts education. Art History prepares individuals for employment as curators, slide librarians, journalists and instructors. Curators acquire, maintain, catalog and research artwork in museum, gallery and auction house collections. The discipline of art history provides excellent training for writers working as art critics. Art history is taught as part of a studio or humanities curriculum in some secondary schools however additional graduate training is required for college teaching.
Art history offers both a comprehensive insight into human cultural development as well as a uniquely challenging area of study that integrates rigorous analysis with creativity and interpretive thought. It is, in its broadest sense, a systematic exploration of imagination that develops within its students the capacity to identify and critically relate to issues inherent in the highest forms of human thought and expression. The practical skills that are developed in this study, particularly in research, writing, and the ability to analyze complex visual symbols, constitute the essential components necessary in all professions and are directly applicable in a wide variety of career options.
Jobs directly related to, and requiring training in the history of art are characterized by high degrees of challenge and variety. Some of these careers are: museum administration, gallery management, corporate art investment, interior design, clinical art therapy, art criticism, government administration of the arts, and college teaching. Beyond that, other professional occupations that require visual sophistication include artists, medical illustrators, architects and marketing specialists. Art history as a discipline and a profession is unique in that it allows for a wide exploration of cultural patterns while providing the tools for success in a large number of satisfying career areas.