Art History, Theory and Criticism Major, B.A.
Why study Art History, Theory and Criticism?
Art Historians are like detectives and engage with the latest research to unlock the secrets of Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids and Macchu Picchu. How did kings, queens, emperors and dictators use images to communicate power and how did the countercultures of the 1960s visualize power shifts? What’s the relationship of art to the spiritual, the social, the political worlds and why should we care? These are some of the questions you’ll grapple with as an Art History, Theory and Criticism major at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
What is Art History, Theory and Criticism? In this wide-ranging degree program, you will study global visual culture, from the ancients through contemporary artists, learning the visual language of art, while also learning about the theories and societies that gave rise to different works of art.
MSU Denver professors are also committed to introducing you to the most current ideas in Art History, Theory and Criticism, while also helping you develop your abilities to think critically and communicate clearly in writing and in speech. Much of this will happen in your MSU Denver classrooms, but also expect to take part in field trips to study Denver’s various collections, participate in internships or study abroad.
The intellectual and aesthetic education you’ll receive as an MSU Denver Art History, Theory and Criticism major will prepare you for art and non-art-related careers and for graduate study.
B.A. in Art History, Theory and Criticism
Opt for this degree if you want to immerse yourself in the intellectual study of art. This degree gives you a strong background in diverse traditions as well as contemporary theory and art criticism, and prepares you for a variety of careers in the arts as well as potential graduate study.
B.A. in Art
Choose this degree if you want a well-rounded education in creative problem-solving through visual art, complemented by a minor in another field.
B.F.A. in Art
Select this degree if you want to develop a creative practice and prepare for a career as an artist, which may include preparation for graduate school. A portfolio review is required for admission into the B.F.A. program after you complete your art foundation courses.
B.F.A. in Art Education
Choose this degree to prepare to teach art in a K-12 classroom. Combining the extensive artistic training of the B.F.A. with educational theory, methods and field experiences required for teaching certification, this degree gives you the foundation to teach in elementary and secondary classrooms. A portfolio review is required for admission into the B.F.A. program after you complete your basic art classes.
B.F.A. in Communication Design
Select this degree if you are interested in the communications and graphic design. A portfolio review is required for admission into the B.F.A. program after you complete your art foundation courses.
Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver
As an MSU Denver Art History, Theory and Criticism student you will have the chance to:
- Intern at a local gallery, museum or arts organization.
- Join the student Art Guild and help plan the annual juried student art show.
- Get involved with Metrosphere—MSU Denver’s art and literary journal.
- Work at MSU Denver’s off-campus gallery, the Center for Visual Art.
- Study abroad in places like Denmark, Barcelona, Italy and Morocco.
Career Opportunities for Our Graduates
Graduates from MSU Denver’s Art History, Theory and Criticism program go on to work in museums and galleries, start their own businesses and attend prestigious graduate schools.
MSU Denver is listed in the 2017 edition of “Creative Colleges: Finding the Best Programs for Aspiring Actors, Artists, Designers, Dancers, Musicians, Writers and More,” which lists 275 schools based on the strength of their creative programs.
Associate Professor Deanne Pytlinski chairs MSU Denver’s Art Department and is a professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism. Her research focuses on the history of women, technology and art.
Associate Professor Jillian Mollenhauer is an Art History, Theory and Criticism faculty member whose specialties lie in the areas of the arts and cultures of Mesoamerica and Native American art.
“When I took my first Art History class, I knew I had found my calling. Because of Art History’s inherent interdisciplinarity, the program’s curriculum and a few very inspirational professors, I was challenged intellectually for the first time. Thinking critically has empowered my voice and given me the freedom to actively engage in larger social and cultural conversations. The faculty held me to standards that not only encouraged and prepared me for academic success in graduate school, but helped me to achieve personal growth. MSU Denver’s Art History department will always be the place where I discovered a part of myself.”
Erica C. Gomez (MSU Denver ’11)
Campaign manager for the California Academy of Sciences.
Alumni at Work
MSU Denver Art History, Theory and Criticism graduates have been hired by organizations such as:
- Museo de las Americas
- Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
- Denver Art Museum
- Auraria Digital Resources Center
MSU Denver Art History graduates have also gone on to graduate study at the following:
- George Washington University
- State University of New York at Stonybrook
- Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London
- University of Arizona
- University of Colorado
- University of Denver
As an Art History, Theory and Criticism major, you will take the foundation studio art and Art History courses. Plus, you will study contemporary art and art theory and select a range of Art History electives that includes art prior to 1900, art from a non-western culture and a senior-level seminar. Art History elective options are constantly changing and may include options such as:
- African Art
- Asian Art
- Art of the Ancient Andes
- Native American Art
- Egyptian Art
- Greek and Hellenistic Art
- Roman Art
- Medieval Art
- Italian Renaissance Art
- Northern Renaissance Art
- Spanish and Italian Baroque Art
- 17th Century Dutch and Flemish Art
- Contemporary Chicana/o Art
- Feminist Art Since 1960
- Photography and Modernism
- Cinema as Visual Art
Our variable topic selections allow faculty to highlight the changing exhibits at many of Denver's local museums including the Denver Art Museum, MCA Denver, Museo de las Americas, BMoCA, Clyfford Still Museum and MSU Denver’s own Center for Visual Art.
Facilities and Resources
As an MSU Denver Art History, Theory and Criticism student you will have the chance to take advantage of on campus exhibitions in gallery spaces such as the Emmanuel Gallery and off campus in MSU Denver’s Center for Visual Art.
MSU Denver’s Art History, Theory and Criticism program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).