The art history BA centers engagement with art—as a material, critical, and social practice—in a curriculum designed to foster students’ curiosity and intellectual growth. The program is committed to the rigorous interrogation of received histories and their relation to entrenched systems of oppression, and to producing scholars equipped to contribute to building a more just world.

The study of art history introduces students to all periods of history and many of the world’s cultures. The program offers study of the various forms of art and architecture: painting, sculpture, graphics, decorative arts, photography, design, and performance. Scholarly approaches to these media emphasize social, cultural, and political history and explore a wide range of interdisciplinary and theoretical methods.

Study on Campus, in New York City, and Abroad

The program is designed to introduce not only subjects but approaches: visual and stylistic analysis, criticism, iconography, historiography, and methodology. Because art history requires the study of original works of art, many courses are supplemented by field trips to museums and art galleries in New York City, just 20 miles south of the Purchase campus. The on-campus Neuberger Museum of Art is also a major resource. Internships and the college’s study abroad programs provide many opportunities for undergraduates to get involved in the art world outside the classroom.

The Junior Year

During the junior year, students select a broad field of study that includes the architecture, sculpture, and painting of one of several periods or areas (e.g., Renaissance, African, or modern). Students are urged to take at least three courses outside art history related to their area of study (e.g., courses in 19th- and 20th-century literature, history, and/or philosophy, if the focus is on the modern period). The Junior Seminar in Art History examines selected approaches to the study of art history by analyzing various interpretations of the work of a single artist.

The Senior Project

The program culminates in a two-semester senior project, in which each student uses the methods of art history in an in-depth project that may take a variety of forms: a research thesis, an exhibition at the Neuberger Museum of Art, or a critical study.

After Graduation

Many alumni choose to pursue their interest in art history through employment at museums and galleries, often earning advanced degrees in art history and museum studies. Other alumni have chosen to work in such fields as art education, film production, publishing and as art handlers and transporters. Still others pursue careers outside of the arts, but find the critical thinking, visual literacy, and subject matter of this field meaningful and useful to their lives and work.

Updated 9-24-20


In addition to meeting General Education requirements, all art history undergraduate majors must complete 14 courses and an 8-credit senior project, as follows:

  • ARH 1010/History of Art Survey I
  • ARH 1020/History of Art Survey II
  • ARH 1021/History of Art Survey II Discussion
  • Six specialized art history courses, which must include:
    • ARH 3880/Junior Seminar in Art History
    • One course in the history of art before 1800
  • Two studio courses in the visual arts
  • Three courses in related disciplines and/or a foreign language
  • SPJ 4990/Senior Project I: 4 credits
  • SPJ 4991/Senior Project II: 4 credits

Internships may also be taken at the Neuberger Museum of Art or at area museums and galleries. Internships can count toward the elective academic requirements for the major.

Art History majors with a particular interest in museums may want to consider the Museum Studies Minor as a supplement to the major.

Minor requirements:

The minor in art history is designed for undergraduate students in all disciplines at Purchase College who are interested in art history and visual culture.

Students interested in pursuing this minor should submit a completed Application for a Program of Minor Study to the School of Humanities main office. Upon admission to the minor, the student is assigned a minor advisor from the art history faculty.

Academic Requirements for the Minor in Art History

Six courses in art history, as follows:

  • ARH 1010/History of Art Survey I
  • ARH 1020/History of Art Survey II
  • ARH 1021/History of Art Survey II Discussion
  • Three specialized art history courses (2000 level or above)

Note: Art history courses offered by the School of Liberal Studies may not be used to fulfill these requirements.


  • Lecturer of Art History
    • BA, University of Albany, SUNY
    • MA, University of Illinois
    • PhD, University of Bradford
  • Alex Gordon Curator of Art of the Americas, Neuberger Museum of Art
    • MA, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
    • BA, MA, PhD, University of Montreal
  • Lecturer of Art History
    • BA, MBA, PhD, New York University
  • Professor of Art History
    • BS, Wheelock College
    • MDiv, Harvard University
    • PhD, Emory University
  • Associate Professor of Art History
    • BA, Oberlin College
    • MA, University of Iowa
    • PhD, University of Southern California
  • Assistant Professor of Art History
    • BA, Fordham University
    • MA, City of College of New York
    • PhD, University of Pennsylvania
  • Director, Neuberger Museum of Art
    Associate Professor of Art History (on leave)
    • BA, Tufts University
    • MA, George Washington University
    • PhD, Rutgers University
  • Professor of Art History
    • BA, University of California, Santa Barbara
    • MA, PhD, Stanford University
  • Professor of Art History
    • BA, Hampshire College
    • MA, PhD, Boston University
  • Lecturer of Art History
  • Assistant Professor of Art History
    • BA, Harvard University
    • PhD, Graduate Center, City University of New York

Contributing Faculty

  • Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing
    • BA, Princeton University
    • MA, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London
    • MFA, Rhode Island School of Design