Art & Art History First Year Courses

Chair: Elizabeth Marlowe

Department Site

The Department of Art offers courses of study in the history, theory, and practice of the visual arts for the general liberal arts student as well as majors in either art history or studio art or a minor in Architectural Studies. Such study empowers students to appreciate creativity within our visually saturated world as well as to appreciate the ways in which works of art from the past inform human values and understanding around the globe. Majors in the department have gone on to successful careers both within and outside of the arts, some examples of which may be found at Success after Colgate

Art History

The department offers more than 20 courses that trace the visual arts from antiquity to the present day. Class lectures and discussions are supplemented by visits to museums in the area and in New York City, as well as Colgate’s Clifford Gallery, Picker Art Gallery, and Longyear Museum. In this way, students increase their understanding of the visual arts as expressions of fundamental cultural values. 

Studio Art

Courses in the practice of art provide instruction in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, video art, printmaking, and digital art. These courses are designed to explore creative visual modes of expression and to help the student gain familiarity with contemporary issues in the visual arts. Studio practice is augmented by a weekly lecture series, gallery exhibitions, film and video screenings, and guest artists. 

Students interested in pursuing study with studio or art history are encouraged to begin work in the department as soon as possible. ARTS 100 is a prerequisite for all further studio work and should be taken in the first year and preferably in the first semester. In Art History, students are encouraged to enroll in a 100- or 200-level course in the first year and preferably in their first semester. 

Students interested in receiving more information about the study of Visual Arts should contact the chair, Professor Elizabeth Marlowe (

Architectural Studies

Courses in Architectural Studies concentrate on the study of historical architecture in a wide range intellectual, social, and political contexts. Participation in the Architectural Studies minor concentration is supportive of both those students seeking to go on to Architecture School and students seeking to increase their understanding of the ways that human values and culture help shape our built environment. First year students interested in Architectural Studies are strongly encouraged to take ARTS 100, Introduction to Studio Arts and ARTS 105, Introduction to Architecture in their first year.

Click the link below to view ARTS courses available to the Class of 2027.

Art Courses