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Art History

Degree Option

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with a major in art history: Art history majors receive individual attention from their faculty adviser and other professors who are passionate about teaching.

Description of Program

The Department of Art and Design helps students develop their artistic and intellectual potential, explore new areas and discover career opportunities. Drake offers both intensive experiences in art and a solid liberal arts education. Students are immersed in a professional art and design environment, develop consummate technical skills and achieve formalistic and conceptual abilities in preparation for a rewarding visual arts career.

This program enables students to develop both the vocabulary and the conceptual framework for the analysis of artistic productions from a broad range of time periods and cultures. Students develop the research and writing skills necessary for critical investigation. Familiarity with traditional and contemporary scholarship becomes a basis for focused, independent art historical inquiry.

Unlike many comparable programs, the study of art history at Drake is fully integrated within the studio and design areas of the department. The art history major combines studio experience with an introduction to the practices, theories, and debates of the discipline. Students therefore gain experience in making images as well as in interpreting them.

The art history major prepares students to navigate the complexity of visual culture, whether past or present, by introducing them to the specialized language and strategies of image making as well as by providing them with a rigorous historical introduction to the production, interpretation and circulation of images. The curriculum employs new models of teaching and theorizing art history in order to acknowledge changes in the field. For example, unlike the longstanding emphasis on chronology in beginning surveys of art history, the introductory courses at Drake employ a thematic approach that traces formal and conceptual concerns across multiple time periods and cultures. Upper-level courses offer critical reexaminations of the categories fundamental to the founding of art history including national tradition, stylistic periods and definitions of modernity.

Academic Requirements

A minimum of 124 credit hours is required for all undergraduate art degrees.

A student is placed on probation if either the cumulative grade-point average or the average in Department of Art and Design Courses falls below 2.00 (a "C" average) during any semester in which a student has earned less than 60 total credit hours. A student may be placed on probation for failing to meet the University’s standards for satisfactory progress toward completion of degree requirements. (See Probation, Suspension and Satisfactory Progress in the General Information section of the Drake University catalog.)

To continue progress toward a Department of Art and Design degree, a student must have at least a 2.5 cumulative grade-point average and a 2.5 GPA in the Department of Art and Design courses at the end of the academic term in which the student completes the 60th credit hour. For transfer students the 60th-hour GPA must be based upon at least 15 credit hours earned at Drake. Students who achieve the 2.5 GPA at the 60th-hour level are placed on probation if their GPAs fall below 2.5 in a subsequent semester. If the GPA is not raised to 2.5 or better after the probationary semester, the student may not continue in Department of Art and Design or re-enroll later.

Drake Curriculum

The Drake Curriculum, required of all undergraduates, is designed to help students meet personal and professional goals as they acquire fundamental knowledge and abilities in ten Areas of Inquiry, including communication, critical thinking, artistic experience, historical consciousness, information and technology literacy, international and multicultural experiences, scientific and quantitative literacy, values and ethics and engaged citizenship. Students work closely with their academic advisers to craft a program of study in general education that prepares students for civic and professional leadership.

The Drake Curriculum also requires first-year seminars, which foster development of critical thinking and written and oral communication skills through a topical focus; and a Senior Capstone, in which students demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills and ideas to bear on one project.

Requirements for Major

Art Credit Hours
First-year program - Art 13 or 14, 15, 16 9
Basic Studio - Painting, Printmaking, or Sculpture 3
Art History  
First-year program - Art 75 4
Art and Theory 3
Art History Electives 15
Senior Project - Art 197 4
Total Art and Art History Credits 38
Drake Curriculum and electives (may be art)  
Total Academic Credits 86

Requirements for Minor

The minor in Art History is designed for those students outside the Department of Art and Design who want to know more about the history of art and art issues. The minor of 20 credit hours generally consists of the following courses selected in consultation with an Art History faculty advisor.

Foundation Courses Credits
Art 75 Themes in Art History 4
Select One Foundation Studio Class from the three below: 3
Art 13 2D-Design (for the major)  
Art 14 3D-Design  
Art 15 Drawing I  
Art History Concentration  
Three Art History courses 9
OR Two Art History courses and one Studio Course 9
Capstone in Art History 4
Total 20
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University News
August 17, 2018
Neil M. Gorsuch, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, gave a special lecture to approximately 350 Drake Law students, faculty, and staff on Aug. 16.