At Johns Hopkins the study of art history emphasizes the historical, social, cultural, and philosophical contexts of art, as well as immersing students in the critical analysis of artistic and architectural form through close looking, writing, discussion, and debate. The History of Art department is therefore an excellent choice both for undergraduates interested in a humanistic education as well as those preparing for advanced study or for careers in the museum, heritage, and cultural sectors, collections and archives, or online and print publishing and design. Any career, from medicine and law to engineering and education, that requires close looking, careful examination of textual and visual information, and the ability to communicate clearly about these things, will be facilitated by the study of the History of Art. Each undergraduate major and minor is assigned a faculty adviser, who helps craft an individual course of study leading to the fulfillment of the graduation requirements

Learning Goals

During their course of undergraduate study at Johns Hopkins, majors in the history of art will:

  • Develop the foundational skills needed to engage in the critical study of works of visual art, including painting, graphic media, and photography; sculpture and portable arts; architecture and environmental art; and new media and performance. Cultivate methods of close observation and description of works of art to serve as building blocks toward historically situated interpretations of artistic form and meaning. 
  • Acquire a broad-based familiarity with the main currents of art history from the ancient to the modern period. 
  • Gain experience with works of art beyond the classroom, through museums, special library collections, and onsite study trips. 
  • Acquire a working familiarity with the terminology, textual sources, theoretical discourses, and historiography informing the visual arts and architecture throughout its history. 
  • Develop the skills necessary for effective, cogent, reasoned communication and self-expression, both oral and written, in the critical study and interpretation of art. 
  • Develop an appreciation for the rigors of scholarly research, writing, and argumentation, as well as the importance of language training, required for advanced research beyond the bachelor’s degree. 

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