First Year Programs - Art and Art History Skip Navigation

Art and Art History (ARTS)

Chair: P. Kaimal

The Department of Art and Art History 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 minors in Architectural Studies or Museum 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 (also offered as FSEM 160) 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 Kaimal (

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 (also offered as FSEM 160) and ARTS 105, Introduction to Architecture, in their first year.

Museum Studies

The Department of Art & Art History now offers an interdisciplinary minor in Museum Studies. Courses are drawn from listings across campus, and may address a range of topics, including actual museums (their histories, architecture, operations, politics, ethics, etc.), collective memory, institutional critique, heritage, cultural property, or public history. Courses may also count toward the program if a substantial part of their pedagogy is object-based.

The minor program consists of 5 courses and a practicum or internship, which can be fulfilled at the Picker Art Gallery or Longyear Museum of Anthropology during the academic year or over the summer, or at any other suitable museum during the summer. Museum Studies faculty will help students in the program identify practicum/internship opportunities and sources of funding, if necessary.

For more information about the program, please contact a member of the Museum Studies Advisory Committee: Elizabeth Marlowe (Art History) (, Jordy Kerber (Anthropology) (, Xan Karn (History) (, or Anja Chavez (University Museums) (

Advanced Placement

Colgate course credit is awarded to students receiving a score of 4 or 5 in AP Art History and AP Studio Art. Students receiving a score of 4 or 5 in AP Art History receive credit for ARTS 102. Students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on both the AP studio art 2-D and 3-D design exams may receive credit for ARTS 100, subject to approval of the department based on a portfolio review. Portfolios must demonstrate competence in a variety of media and conceptual approaches. Please contact the department for more information regarding a portfolio review.