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Programs as broad as history

The Department of Art History offers B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees, as well as minors in art history and architectural history and a museum studies certificate. Students have the opportunity to hold internships or assistantships at Penn State’s Palmer Museum of Art, known particularly for its strong holdings in Baroque, American, and contemporary art. The department’s faculty are internationally recognized scholars known for sharing and instilling their enthusiasm for the discipline with their students.


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Degrees +
Certificates

Student participating in the Borland Project Space

B.A. in Art History

The B.A. in Art History offers an opportunity for students to explore and examine art while developing a deep understanding of how and why it brings the world closer.
Art History graduate investigating an artifact from the African Brilliance exhibition.

M.A. in Art History

The M.A. degree in Art History transforms a passion for the arts and cultural history into a career path. Through the completion of a master’s paper or thesis, foreign language...
Palmer Museum painting analysis by Maggie Davis.

Ph.D. in Art History (+Dual Ph.D.)

Advanced study of visual arts spanning periods, cultures, and geographies. The Art History Ph.D. program – with Asian Studies or Visual Studies dual-title options – can deepen your expertise and advance your Art History career.
A 20th century decorated wooden box called a Tukula container produced by Kuba carvers from the Democratic Rebublic of the Congo.

Art History Minor

Explore art from ancient to contemporary times, in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. This minor relates visual images to the big questions of humanity.
Students sitting at the ruins of Paestum, sketching the architecture.

Architectural History Minor

The Architectural History minor teaches exceptional visual acuity and analysis. You will better understand space, design processes, and construction practice within historical periods.
A public collection of late artwork displayed at the Palmer Museum of Art. A student explains the meaning of the piece to visitors.

Museum Studies Certificate

Learn the fundamentals of museum studies. Explore the history, theory, and practice of institutional collecting and conservation. Engage in a technical investigation of art.

Faculty Spotlight

Koan Mask, by the Nuna (Nunama) of Burkina Faso. Part of the Palmer Museum's African Brilliance collection catalogued by the VRC.
Koan Mask, by the Nuna (Nunama) of Burkina Faso. Part of the Palmer Museum's African Brilliance collection catalogued by the VRC.

William Dewey

Associate Professor of Art History

William J. Dewey, associate professor of art history in the College of Arts and Architecture, curated the exhibition African Brilliance: A Diplomat’s Sixty Years of Collecting featuring eighty-three objects by twentieth-century African artists from a variety of cultures across the continent. The works include carved and decorated wooden sculptures, natural fiber and beaded textiles, metalwork, and ceramic pots that represent household, community, and ritual practices. Accompanying the exhibition is is the Palmer Museum of Art’s first online catalogue complete with photos and 3D views of each object, essays by the curators, and interviews with Davis.

Dewey was  also part of the curatorial team for “Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths” at UCLA’s Fowler Museum, recently described in The New York Times as one of “three knockout art shows to see in Los Angeles right now.”

Head shot of Associate Professor of Art History, Director of the African Studies Program, College of the Liberal Arts William

Our Facilities

Our broad program offerings are supported by rich research, archive, and display spaces.
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Art History graduate student digitally investigating color on a painting.
Art History graduate student digitally investigating color on a painting.

Visual Resources Centre

The Visual Resources Centre (VRC) manages a continuously growing digital collection of images of works of art, architecture, and other visual materials from prehistoric


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Art History graduate student digitally investigating color on a painting.

Palmer Museum of Art

The Palmer Museum of Art, a dramatic structure designed by Charles W. Moore, is the most prominent visual arts facility on the University Park


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Art History graduate student digitally investigating color on a painting.

Borland Project Space

The Borland Project Space (BPS) illuminates the vibrant research culture of the College of Arts & Architecture. With this initiative we move beyond traditional


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Alumni Spotlight

Penn State Art History alumna Kimberly Henrikson

Alumni Spotlight

Kimberly Henrikson

B.A. in Art History

Kimberly Henrikson is executive director at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking (Norwalk, CT) and president of the Print Club of New York. She is newsletter editor for the International Print Club Societies organization, and held a senior position at Artstor, where she managed training and support services for digital image licensing in higher ed and museum communities around the world.

Collage of art prints in galleries and museums.
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Aug 7

Virtual Mus. Theatre Voice Ped Workshop

Music Academic Calendar
The Penn State Musical Theatre Voice Pedagogy Workshop 2020 has been moved to online. It will be held August 7 & 8, 2020 and prices

Events

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Virtual Mus. Theatre Voice Ped Work

Music Academic Calendar
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Aug 8

The Penn State Musical Theatre Voice Pedagogy Workshop 2020 has been moved to online. It will be held August 7 & 8, 2020 and prices


SOM - Bach's Lunch

CSED All Faith Chapel
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Sep 3

Voice Jury Honors Voice students with superlative performances at their end-of-semester performance final sing a program of best songs and arias. "Bach's Lunch" is a


SOM - Bach's Lunch

CSED All Faith Chapel
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Sep 10

Sophomore Showcase Sophomore voice performance majors sing a showcase of songs and arias as a precursor to entrance to upper level study. "Bach's Lunch" is


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News from A&A

Stuckeman School graphic design students win UCDA Vote 2020 design awards

Two graphic design students in the Stuckeman School recently earned awards in the University and College Designers Association Vote 2020 Student Poster Design Initiative.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two graphic design students in the Stuckeman School recently earned awards in the University and College Designers Association (UCDA) Vote 2020 Student Poster Design Initiative. Scottie


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SOVA alumna’s artwork featured in virtual exhibition responding to pandemic

Penn State School of Visual Arts alumna and Southwest Philadelphia artist D’nae Harrison, 2014 bachelor of fine arts, has been named as a winner of the 2020 MOZAIK Future Art Award
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Creativity and the coronavirus: Interns make the most of challenging situation

Students in the College of Arts and Architecture internship program adjusted their work in creative ways during the challenging spring semester.
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