Student participating in the Borland Project Space "Rocks, Minerals and the History of Art" by Heather McCune Bruhn.

Art History, B.A.

B.A. in Art History

Transform your love of art into a life with art.

It’s one thing to look at a work of art and appreciate it. It’s another to know how, why, and what a painting, music video, or building means on a deeper level. Investigate art to its fullest by pursuing an Art History degree at Penn State with renowned scholars, graduate student mentors, and the resources of a Big Ten University to guide you.

Palmer Museum of Art x-ray fluorescence investigation.

Earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History from Penn State

Passionate about art, architecture, history, languages, travel, and other cultures? Combine your interests!

The Penn State Department of Art History offers lecture/discussion courses and seminars on a broad range of topics from Ancient to Contemporary art. Courses are taught by fifteen faculty members, and three affiliate faculty members (who are curators in the Palmer Museum of Art).

Our connection with the Palmer Museum of Art as well as our proximity to major art cities, including New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C. offer students the opportunities of a friendly college town setting with the art world at their fingertips.

Next Steps

Is the Bachelor's Degree in Art History right for you?

The Bachelor’s Degree in Art History is your ticket to an education that will bring the world closer through art, architecture, cultures, languages, travel, museums, and history. Our close-knit community provides you with direct access to top faculty researchers in the field, committed to supporting you.

Freshmen enroll first as general students at Penn State and then declare the Art History major once they have earned grades at the University. Freshmen may begin their studies at any Penn State location, but majors must study at University Park to complete their degrees. Transfer students are considered for admission to University Park.

Students can take courses in Ancient to Contemporary art and architecture with faculty members who specialize in:

  • African and African Diaspora
  • Ancient Egyptian
  • Architectural History
  • Baroque
  • Contemporary
  • East Asian
  • European and British
  • Medieval
  • Modern
  • Museum Studies
  • Pre-Columbian and Colonial Latin America
  • Renaissance
  • South Asian

What can you do with an Art History degree?

The real question is what can’t you do? Get creative!

Alumni Spotlight

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alumni spotlight

Kimberly Henrikson

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.

Level Up

Seize these opportunities, make the most of your education.

Suggested Minors

Art History Minor
Pursuing another major? The Art History minor can help you gain a critical understanding of visual culture in a diversity of societies around the world.

Architectural History Minor
The interdisciplinary minor in architectural history is a perfect match with the B.A. in Art History.

Student Opportunities

  • Work in the field, as a student
    The Department of Art History has work-study positions in the Visual Resources Centre and the departmental office. The Palmer Museum of Art also has work-study and internship opportunities.
  • Awards and Scholarships
    A wide range of scholarships and grants are available to support student participation in symposia, study abroad, and service opportunities. Additionally, numerous financial and honor awards recognize student scholarly and leadership successes.

Study Abroad

  • Todi Summer Study
    Spend the summer immersed in art with the Todi Summer Study Abroad program and visit Rome, Florence, and everywhere in between with a cohort of engaged students.

Faculty Spotlight

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faculty spotlight

Amara Solari

Professor of Art History and Anthropology

Amara Solari teaches courses in Latin American art from the pre-Columbian through the colonial period. Her research focuses on processes of cultural, visual, and theological interchange between indigenous groups and Spanish settlers of New Spain. She recently received a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of her research project, “Maya Christian Murals of Yucatán: Indigenous Catholicism in Early Modern New Spain,” which focuses on fragile religious murals painted by Christianized Maya artists in Yucatán, Mexico, between 1550 and 1750.

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