Once described by New York Times art critic John Russell as the best undergraduate department of art history in the country, the art history program at NYU was established to provide a rigorous and wide-ranging education in the many facets of the history and theory of art, a mission that its faculty continues to enthusiastically embrace. Students become familiar with global art from antiquity to the present. The department offers courses in ancient, medieval, Renaissance, baroque, modern, contemporary, East Asian, South Asian, Islamic, Latin American, African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian, and Native American art, treating not only painting, sculpture, architecture, and photography but also graphic media, manuscript illumination, the decorative arts, and aspects of urban design. The department is one of the few undergraduate programs in the country with extensive offerings in conservation and museology. A myriad of museums, galleries, and local architectural sites make New York City the ideal place in which to study the visual arts on site and in the flesh. Beyond New York, art history courses are offered at NYU's study away sites, such as Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Madrid, Paris, and Prague.
The department offers majors and minors in art history and in urban design and architecture studies. Since an education in the history of art can be enhanced by a firsthand understanding of its making, our majors are encouraged to minor in studio art through the Steinhardt School. The department publishes its own student journal (Ink & Image), and has an honors program which culminates in the writing and oral defense of a senior honors thesis.
Art history graduates have proven exceptionally successful in securing positions in museums, commercial galleries, auction houses, and nonprofit organizations. Those who go on to undertake graduate study typically pursue careers as curators, conservators, and academic art historians at the university and college level. Students majoring in urban design and architecture are well prepared for graduate study in architecture, urban planning, and historic preservation.
To request declaration of a minor, CAS students should visit the host department. To request declaration of a cross-school minor, CAS students should complete the online Minor Application available in their Albert Student Center. Students may also use the Minor Application in Albert to request cancellation of a CAS or cross-school minor.