Art History and Archaeology

The Department of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University has a rich past and a vibrant present. One of the oldest art history programs west of the Mississippi, the department was an important force in establishing recognition for art history outside of the eastern United States. The program was built by some of the foremost figures in the discipline, including Horst Janson, Frederick Hartt, Jean Boggs, and George Mylonas. Today, the department’s faculty have a broad-ranging expertise from Classical Art and Archaeology to contemporary visual culture.

The department offers a major and a minor in art history and archaeology for undergraduate students, and majors are encouraged to overlap their studies with other fascinating fields — especially anthropology, archaeology, classics, history, literature, philosophy, religion, and foreign languages — to get a comprehensive education. Doctoral and master’s degrees are also available in art history and archaeology.

All students benefit from working closely with faculty who are excellent teachers and active scholars. Undergraduate seminars consist of no more than 14 students, and students develop writing and presentation skills that prepare them for future professional or academic work. There are also rich resources available, including an excellent art and architecture library, an established field trip program that affords our students opportunities to visit major national exhibitions and collections, and an expansive lecture series that attracts important art history scholars to speak to our students.

The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum (formerly the Washington University Gallery of Art), which was founded in 1881, is also on campus. It is home to one of the most important modern art collections in the Midwest, and is one of the most distinguished university collections in the United States.