Frequently Asked Questions
I am a high school student interested in majoring or minoring in art history. What is the requirement to major in art history when I enter college?
There are no prerequisites for a major. A good preparation in history is useful for art history, as are foreign languages that correlate to the area you are interested in. But there are no prerequisites for entering the program.
I have taken AP Art History or an International Baccalaureate (IB) course. How do I get credit to count?
If you receive a 4 or 5 on the AP test you will receive 4 credits, usually for AH 101. The credit can be used toward graduation even if you do not take other art and art history courses.
If you completed a 100-level course in visual arts with a B or better, you may qualify for credit hours. For more information, see the advanced placement and international baccalaureate sections of the Advisor Handbook.
What can I do with an art history degree?
Our alumni have gone on to jobs and careers in museums, universities, historic preservation, city planning, commercial art galleries, art and architecture libraries, and architectural firms. They have worked as freelance curators, art consultants, art dealers, and professors of art and art history.
In many cases they have found their undergraduate work, with its emphasis on writing and analysis, excellent preparation for graduate school training in art history, art therapy, museum studies, journalism, and other higher degrees. Some students have completed programs in arts management, and others have gone on to law school with a focus in entertainment law or another related specialty.
Other students have thought of the art history degree as a liberal arts degree, providing them with skills in writing, research, and analysis, and have gone into fields as diverse as neuroscience, engineering, and politics.
What are the tracks in the major?
The track system allows students to design majors in accordance with their interests and ambitions. Working with the undergraduate advisor, with the option of including another faculty member, the student puts together a program of courses inside and outside the department that has some kind of coherent focus.
Tracks include architectural history, museums, contemporary art and criticism, and a focus on one or more historical periods.
What opportunities are there for students to get hands-on experience doing work in art-related fields?
The Hartnett Gallery Committee provides a chance for students to work with all aspects of:
- Selecting work for exhibitions
- Installing work
- Designing publicity
- Learning what goes into the operation of a gallery
Local opportunities for learning about museum work include internships at:
- Memorial Art Gallery, with the curatorial, exhibitions, education, and development departments
- George Eastman Museum
- The Rochester Museum and Science Center
- Genesee Country Village and Museum
- The Landmark Society of Western New York
Some students have arranged to work in commercial galleries, architects offices, advertising and design firms, as well as doing summer internships at museums in other cities.
Do you need studio art experience to take a studio course?
Not necessarily. Introductory-level courses are designed to accommodate students with a broad range of experience.
Can my high school studio experience or advanced placement portfolio be considered in determining what level studio course should be taken first?
The successful completion of our program's introductory-level courses not only assures a particular level of skill and a broad knowledge of technique and approach, it advances the importance of writing and the discursive elements of art evaluation.
These two important aspects of studio experience are difficult to assess through AP portfolios and school records. Four advanced placement credit hours (with a score of 4 or 5) can be granted if a "B" or higher is earned in any 100-level studio course.
What can I do with studio art experience upon graduation?
Our program asks students to think critically and to synthesize ideas and materials creatively; these skills are invaluable in any aspect of life. Many of our majors and minors further their academic career in noted graduate programs or go on to become professional artists.
Some teach, which can be a complement to supporting one's art career. While allowing time for an artist to develop their artwork, teaching also keeps the artist involved in the dialogue and production of art. Some students go on to freelance work in graphic and commercial design, web page design, and computer animation. Others enter the commercial art field or pursue careers and interests in museums and galleries.
Does your program offer commercial, design, ceramics, or craft-oriented courses?
Although our classes broach all of the concerns key to understanding these areas, our courses are more broad in base and application and are not limited to professional application or craft. Art production is a means of communication, and as such, is a major contributor to a rich liberal arts experience.
Can I use Sage Art Center's facilities if I am not enrolled in a studio class?
Only students currently enrolled in studio classes enjoy the privileges of using our well-equipped and well-stocked facility. Rochester is rich in opportunities for individuals interested in art making, but not enrolled in a studio class. Many resources exist off campus and are well worth pursuing.