Undergraduate Program Art History

Three PSU art students at a museum

Art History Bachelor's Degree and Minor Overview

Art history is the study of art and visual culture created around the world. We look at art and material culture in its historical context, taking into account the time, location, cultural ideals, philosophy, aesthetics, and techniques involved in its creation.

Our program offers a broad spectrum of courses covering art created in the earliest days of human culture to the contemporary art scene. You will delve into courses like Italian Renaissance Art, Chinese Painting, Islamic Art, and Latin American Women Artists, as well as thematic courses like Medieval Monsters and Nature into Art.

Through a bachelor's degree in art history you will learn to look closely, think critically and communicate effectively about the world’s rich and diverse visual culture. We offer a flexible degree path and our dedicated faculty are eager to help you forge an individual course of study based on your interests and career goals.

We offer:

  • Small classes of 15-35 students at the upper-division level
  • Student research opportunities throughout the curriculum
  • A senior year thesis project option
  • Opportunities to apply for travel grants for independent research
  • Faculty-lead group travel opportunities to visit museums and cultural institutions outside of Portland
  • Guest lectures representing a variety of art historical themes
  • Participation in the Portland Art Museum’s College Creative License program, offering a reduced price annual museum pass.

Some students participate in internships with local arts and non-profit institutions.

Degree Details

  • BA
    Bachelor of Arts
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
  • BS
    Bachelor of Science
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
  • m
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

Art History Bachelor's Degree or Minor: Why PSU?

Located just steps from museums and hundreds of independent art galleries, Portland State University’s location offers endless opportunities to experience Portland’s vibrant creative and cultural scene. Through our program you'll gain access to the Portland Art Museum’s College Creative License program, offering reduced price annual museum pass. You will also have the opportunity to create community through participation in our Art History Student Association.

The faculty in our art history program are active scholars as well as educators. Our art history degree is flexible and based on creating an individual path of study, so you can mesh your interests to meet your personal goals. As an art history major at PSU, you will not only grow academically: you will be challenged to explore.

What can I do with a bachelor's degree or minor in Art History?

A bachelor’s in art history prepares you for a variety of careers, providing key skills that are useful in both professional and life experiences. While some of our graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees, many choose careers in the arts, non-profit administration, and other business careers that depend on creative thinking and strong communication skills.

  • Museum or Gallery Curator
  • Corporate Curator
  • Writer and Editor
  • Cultural Specialist
  • Art Conservation and Restoration
  • Museum Marketing and Public Relations
  • Art Consultant
  • Art Dealer
  • Art Appraiser
  • Nonprofit administration
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Lawyer (specialty in art law or intellectual property)
  • Secondary and University-level Teacher
  • Exhibition Coordinator
  • Visual Resources Curator

Featured Courses

  • ARH 337U Nature into Art
  • ARH 355 Medieval Monsters
  • ARH 371U Italian Renaissance Art
  • ARH 379 Latin American Baroque Art
  • ARH 398 Contemporary Art
  • ARH 315U Chinese Buddhist Art
  • ARH 360U Art of War: Representing the Crusades
  • ARH 319U Modern Japanese Painting
  • ARH 426U African Art
  • ARH 449 Art History Methods


  • ARH 431U Women in the Visual Arts
  • ARH 432U Issues in Gender and Art
  • ARH 357U Byzantine Art and Architecture
  • ARH 474 Art and the Early Modern City
  • ARH 392 History and Contemporary Issues in Photography
  • ARH 311U Survey of South and Southeast Asian Art
  • ARH 351U Ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian Art


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).