The Art History program produces competitive, thoughtful scholars who meaningfully contribute to the professional world of teaching, museums and arts-related organizations.
Like the nearby Mission San Xavier del Bac, which is located on Tohono O’odham land and within the greater Sonoran Desert, our program is defined by its unique borderlands setting. Studying the cultural, historical and geographic complexity of any setting or object requires a theoretically informed and methodologically diverse practice. Art History students researching all subject areas are encouraged to engage the limits of the discipline and promote the transformational power of art.
Our program shares with the University of Arizona an emphasis on scholarship oriented toward social justice and the relationship between art and the environment. Students benefit from the breadth of Art History faculty research expertise and are encouraged to work with faculty across campus in Africana Studies, Latin American Studies, Gender & Women’s Studies, Middle Eastern and North African Studies, East Asian Studies and Anthropology, among others.
- Visual Resource Center (VRC) – Located within the School of Art and the College of Fine Arts, this digital and analog image library is dedicated to supporting the teaching, research and study needs of faculty and students.
- University Main Library – Contains an art book collection of over 120,000 volumes and 200 current art journal subscriptions, along with rare books in the Special Collections section. The computerized library catalog is online. The Interlibrary Loan Department makes available materials from other national and international collections.
- Science-Engineering and Fine Arts Library – Just west of the Main Library, it houses visual arts – including sculpture, illustration, design, drawing, painting, printing and decorative arts – and 20,000 titles and 120 periodicals centered around architectural design, history and theory, graphic communication and building technology.
- University of Arizona Museum of Art — Offers special opportunities for students, including an amazing collection for object-based study as well as opportunities for research projects, curatorial projects and internships.
- Center for Creative Photography (CCP) – Features a globally renowned collection of works by over 100 renowned 20th century photographers, along with a private research library focused on photographic history.
- Southwest Folklore Center – Houses tapes and manuscript archives of Southwest music and folklore. Located on campus in the Southwest Center, 1401 E. First St.
- Arizona State Museum – Located in the center of campus, the museum specializes in prehistoric, prehispanic and recent indigenous cultures of the Southwest. The museum also contains the Pal Kelemen Spanish Colonial Art Collection, a 30,000 volume library specializing in Southwestern archaeology and ethnology.
- Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Tucson): Established by artists in 1997, MOCA is Tucson’s only museum devoted exclusively to contemporary art from around the globe.
- Tucson Museum of Art (TMA): Encompasses an entire city block in historic downtown and houses a growing collection of nearly 12,000 works of art spanning over 3,000 years of history.
Pursuing a career with an Art History degree
An Art History degree prepares students for a variety of post-graduate experiences, especially for continued study in the discipline in graduate school, leading to careers in:
- College teaching and research
- Exhibition and curatorial work
- Museum and galleries administration
The major may lead to pursuits in such disciplines as:
- K-12 Art Education
- Religious Studies
With a focus on visual and historical analysis, as well as critical thinking, writing and communication skills, students also can pursue:
- Community service
Our faculty aren’t just scholars, they’re practitioners. They understand what it takes to succeed, bringing that insight to the classroom to help students prepare for a career in academia, museum administration and other arts organizations.
Jennifer Saracino, Ph.D.Assistant Professor
Stacie G. Widdifield, PhD; MSProfessor
Degrees & Courses
The Bachelor of Arts in Art History is a major for students with professional interest in museums, galleries, archives and other visual, creative and artistic fields. Students develop advanced research skills and originality of thought as well as a thorough knowledge of the history of art. Areas of concentration include American, Early Modern Europe, Greek and Roman, History of Photography, Latin American, Modern and Contemporary, and History and Theory of Architecture.
Download the BA Art History checklist for detailed information.
This degree allows current University of Arizona undergraduate students to use 12 units of graduate coursework towards both their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, giving students the possibility to receive both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in five years.
The Master of Arts in Art History provides a broad based and methodologically critical foundation essential to pursuing a career in Art History, whether in a university or museum setting. You can choose between Option A, a thesis track for those interested in pursuing a PhD. or advanced teaching career; and Option B, a non-thesis track that emphasizes breadth of knowledge and practical training for teaching at the community college level or art museum education, galleries and other commercial visual arts enterprises.
The PhD in Art History and Education is an interdisciplinary, theoretically informed and methodologically diverse two track PhD program in Art History or Art and Visual Culture Education. Graduates will be prepared to contribute to research, theory and practice within their respective fields in university, museum and other arts leadership settings.
Explore the history of art through visual representations, architecture, culture, and film. The minor involves 18 units of Art History coursework.
Clubs and Professional Opportunities
In addition to outstanding academics, the School of Art provides many opportunities to further engage students and help them develop a social and professional network.
- Student travel funding for professional conferences
- Annual undergraduate research essay competition and prize
- Art History Club – Student-run organization that enhances student appreciation for art and its history through social gatherings, book discussions, movie screening and trips to cultural sites
- Summer Research Institute – Readies eligible juniors and seniors for graduate studies
- Art History Graduate Symposium
- Art History Graduate Student Symposium
- Jane Welch Williams Graduate Essay Prize and Lecture
- Robert M. Quinn Endowment for Distinguished Scholars in the History of Art