History of Art

As a history of art major, you’ll be able to study areas traditionally central to the discipline such as ancient, medieval and Renaissance art, and the integration of recent fields of theory and research to the study of global visual culture. You can explore the history of cultural interactions as manifested in visual culture both inside and outside the West from antiquity to the present, furthering your understanding of the discipline of art history, its roots, its methodologies, as well as its historical and critical connections with other disciplines.


Want to start right away? Here are some basic requirements for students wanting to major in history of art. Keep in mind this isn’t the complete list of formal requirement — that list can be found on the Courses of Study page.

The major in the history of art requires 40 credits, 26 of which must be at the 3000-level or above.

For admission into the major, students need to take ARTH 1100 - Art Histories: An Introduction or complete a 3900-level tutorial.

The major requires:

  • At least one 2000-level introductory class
  • At least one 3000-level lecture class
  • VISST 2000 - Introduction to Visual Studies
  • ARTH 3101 - Proseminar
  • Two other seminars at the 4000-level or above

Sample classes

  • The Museum and the Object
  • The Art Market
  • Material Worlds: Trade and the Arts of Asia


All information below is based on the 2022 First-Destination Post-Graduate Survey. Lists are not exhaustive; rather, they are a sampling of the data. "Other" includes time off, travel, volunteer experiences, and/or preparing for graduate school. If you would like more information, please email as_careers@cornell.edu

What can you do with a degree in history of art?

Graduate school:

In 2022, many history of art majors embarked on graduate school journeys. They pursued various advanced degrees, with the majority dedicated to their JD and MA. Their graduate field interest ranges from law to history of art and arts & cultural management.

These ambitious individuals have chosen to continue their education at prestigious institutions like King's College London, New York University, The Courtauld Institute of Art, and the University of Pennsylvania.


The majority of history of art graduates entered sectors in business/industry, financial services, and retail.

Where 2022 History of Art Graduates Work

Employer Job Titles
Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Lending Specialist
bG Gallery Gallery Coordination Associate
Capsule Auctions Auction Associate
Hypebeast Associate Editor
L'Oreal USA Marketing Associate
Peter Freeman, Inc. Gallery Assistant
Serge Sorokko Gallery Art Consultant