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The major is a part of the School of Art, Design and Art History, an academic unit within the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

The Art History major offers students the opportunity to study the history of the visual arts in their cultural and social contexts. Students will gain a global perspective on the arts: the art history program emphasizes courses in western art (Western Europe and America) from ancient to modern times, as well as African art and other select non-Western fields.

Students will learn to describe, analyze, and interpret the form and content of works of art. Students will become familiar with art history theory and methods of analysis and art criticism. And students will gain valuable experience in writing and researching in the field of art history. The art history program encourages students to take advantage of the year-round JMU studies abroad programs and to participate in internship experiences both on campus during the academic year and in museums, historic houses, and galleries during the summer. 

The art history program advocates interdisciplinary study in other humanistic disciplines and actively supports students who want to double major with other related fields. JMU Art History faculty possesses expertise in a wide variety of historical areas and enjoys working with students on independent studies, honors theses, or exhibition projects. 

For further information, visit the School of Art, Design, and Art History website.

Degrees Offered



Museum Studies


Art History

Declaring the Major

New Freshmen and Transfer Students
Students should declare the art history major when they register for orientation.

Currently Enrolled Major Changers 
Students should submit a "Change or Declaration of Major" form to the School of Art, Design and Art History in Duke Hall, Room 215 and obtain the program director's signature.

Other Declaring Information 

Admission to the Major

Admission to the Museum Studies Concentration in Art History

The museum studies concentration consists of history and theory-oriented classes that will introduce students to the role and function of museums in society. While the concentration is academic and not vocational, it offers students valuable hands-on experience beneficial for admission into graduate school and entry into the competitive market of art-related professions. 

In addition to the requirements for the Art History major, the Museum Studies concentration requires 15 credit hours (five courses), three credit hours of which may count toward both the Art History major and the Museum Studies concentration. 

To be eligible to apply for admission, students must have a GPA of 3.3 within the minimum of nine credits in art history (ARTH) and General Education art history (ARTH) courses. The program will consider grades from any new transfer student who has earned JMU approved credit for an art history course taken at another institution provided the student submits a transcript 

Students may apply to the concentration in the fall or spring semester but no later than the last day of the course add registration deadline. Visit the Registrar's website for deadlines.

Progressing in the Major

Students must remain in good academic standing with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.

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