Art History

Art history students at a museum

What is Art History?

LMU's Art History major helps students understand the meaning and purpose of the visual arts, and its development through history, role in society, and relationship with other cultural expressions. Through our program, students gain a keen perception and understanding of art and its visual and symbolic language.

The major exposes students to diverse artistic traditions, providing a full understanding of the historical, spiritual, and cultural context of works of art. Students develop advanced research, writing and critical thinking skills as preparation for graduate studies in art history and careers in the arts. 

The Art History program is enriched by LMU's location in one of the world's most diverse and vital centers of art activity. The wealth of public art, museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions in Southern California - including LMU's Laband Art Gallery - provides myriad opportunities to experience art, both at its traditional best and its experimental frontier. LMU's location also provides abundant opportunities for internships and post-collegiate careers. 

What do Art History majors do?

Art History majors learn to comprehend diverse historical and contemporary artistic and architectural traditions within local and global historical, social, religious, and cultural contexts. Students learn to think critically and to articulate clear ideas about art and its historical and contemporary significance.

The program nurtures in students a love of beauty and a curiosity about the human condition that motivate a search for a deeper understanding of art.

LMU's Art History facilities include a specially designed lecture room, a seminar room, and access to 1 million digital images. Videos and CD ROMs are also available through the university's main library. 

Is this major right for you?

You might be an Art History major if you:

  • Like visiting museums and galleries
  • Are interested in big ideas
  • Care about aesthetics
  • Enjoy research and writing
  • Value creativity  

About our faculty

Our faculty members are experts in subjects such as the arts of Asia, the ancient world, modern American and European art, performance art, art criticism, Renaissance art.

Faculty members have curated exhibitions, written catalogs, received fellowships and grants, contributed essays to publications such as The Encyclopedia of the Ancient World, and published books such as The Roots of Tantra. 

About our students and graduates

Our students earn internships at Los Angeles area museums, galleries, and other cultural institutions. LMU students majoring or minoring in Art History will be prepared to work in a variety of professions thanks to the philosophical, ethical, social, and historical training they receive. Students are particularly prepared for graduate study that may lead to careers as museum curators and directors, professors, writers, and other art professionals. 

Representative courses

Our courses have included: 

  • Art of the Western World
  • Arts of Ancient Greece
  • Arts of Ancient Rome
  • Medieval Art
  • Arts of Islam
  • Arts of India
  • Arts of China
  • Arts of Japan
  • Arts of Asia: Zen
  • Impressionism
  • History of Photography
  • Modernism
  • Contemporary Art
  • Modern and Contemporary Art Criticism
  • American Art
  • LA Now
  • Museum/Gallery Internship
  • Directed Studies 

Learn More: LMU Department of Art and Art History