KCAD’s Bachelor of Arts in Art History degree program offers a critical academic investigation
into both the history of art and the history of design, with an added option of focused
Students develop a deep understanding of creativity as a cultural and social force,
learning to analyze scholarship and write with insight and clarity. They emerge from
the program ready to pursue a wide variety of careers and prepared to place art and
design in a cross-cultural, global framework.
KCAD offers two tracks for Art History majors: a traditional academic-based curriculum
and a studio-based program, which allows students to build upon design and fine art
experiences as an enhancement to their scholarly expertise in art history.
In both tracks, a foundational survey sequence introduces you to a chronology of periods,
artists, styles, patronage, and aesthetic themes while you develop the basic skills
of critical analysis. Then, mid-level courses will continue to deepen your knowledge,
adding a global perspective and more theoretical context to your study of art history.
Finally, advanced seminars provide opportunities to study more focused art historical
topics within smaller classes that stimulate lively discussion, intensive research,
and critical writing.
You'll also round your education out with a wide range of general education courses
that will stimulate your curiosity, broaden your perspective, and inspire new creative
expressions. KCAD's flexible General Education Pathways model empowers you to direct your learning by exploring subjects you find most engaging
While earning a Bachelor of Arts in Art History, you will be able to analyze key monuments,
principle artists/designers, and cultural/aesthetic concepts, using a variety of art
historical methods. You will learn to think and write critically, and place art/design
objects in a cross-cultural, global framework. In addition, you will be able to read,
evaluate, and apply scholarly research from a variety of disciplines and critical
approaches. Thus, you will emerge from the program prepared for professional art history
careers and/or graduate studies.
KCAD s Art History degree program offers a chronological study of fine art periods
and related cultural themes, while also surveying the broader perspective of global
design. Specialized classes explore the art of particular regions as well as the history
of design disciplines such as graphic, interior, fashion, illustration, and industrial
Separate studio and academic tracks within the Art History major provide breadth and
flexibility, allowing you to focus on your individual interests. The studio track
is for those who want the added hands-on experience of studio foundation courses plus
a studio minor. The academic track is for those who prefer to deepen their understanding
of the cultural context of art/design through extensive liberal arts/sciences courses.
Whichever track you choose, the KCAD Art History faculty tailor class topics and teaching
styles to student needs, and their knowledge reflects current art historical concepts
Both the studio and academic tracks in the Art History program allow for students
to incorporate a minor into their studies. The Art History program offers a minor
in Museum Studies, which expands students art and design studies in exciting new directions.
Students will learn about the history and practices involved in museum and gallery
work, and will have the opportunity to undertake internships within a variety of settings
in museum fields as diverse as curation, education, administration, and marketing.
Art History majors may also pursue a specific interest in fine art or design through
a minor in nearly any KCAD undergraduate degree program.
Art historians concern themselves not only with art production and art objects, but
also with related cultural and aesthetic issues. As a result, there are many professional
opportunities for KCAD Art History graduates.
Possible careers include:
Visual Resource Curator
Estate and Art Appraiser
Manager of Corporate Art Collection
Explore a wealth of art history resources in the KCAD Library, which provides access to millions of books through the MeLCat shared library catalog
as well as access to specialized research databases and subscriptions to scholarly
journals. If you're looking for a more hands-on experience with the past, KCAD's Study Away programs offer opportunities to learn in some of the world s most culturally rich countries.
Right here in Grand Rapids, you'll enjoy a free membership to the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), which boasts a permanent collection including masterpieces by Rembrandt, Andy Warhol,
Mary Cassatt, William Blake, and Albrecht Durer, among many others.
Art reveals insights into the culture of a nation or group, the attitudes of a time
period, even the nature of a struggle or a conflict. Thus, as an art historian you
ll concern yourself not just with art production and art objects, but also with cultural
and aesthetic issues, which opens a wide variety of career opportunities.
You ll be ready upon graduation to continue your education in art history or related
fields, or to enter into employment in museum, publication, or similar work. The increasingly
digital nature of the modern world is opening many more national and international
career options for Art History majors.