About the Department
Throughout history, art and architecture have been among the most powerful means of social interaction and communication. Today, the visual dominates perhaps more than ever before. The discipline of Art History attempts to analyze critically how art and architecture have been used in the past and are used in the present through a thorough understanding of their visual, contextual, and ideological bases.
The History of Art is a unique discipline in that it allows students to approach and to access a great variety of subjects through the study of material culture. On both the under graduate and graduate levels, students examine works of art in relation to the historical, political, cultural, social, philosophical and theological circumstances surrounding the creation.
Undergraduate studies in Art History are designed to contribute to the general education of all students. Art History stresses an understanding of the visual arts within their cultural and historical contexts. A major in Art History is essential preparation for graduate work in the discipline, and it also provides an excellent background for those planning to attend graduate and professional schools in other areas of the humanities and social sciences, or for those entering a more general job market.
The Department of the History of Art at the University of California, Riverside offers a Master of Arts degree to prepare students for further academic study at the doctoral level; and for careers in art critical writing and in museums, galleries, and other arts institutions. The graduate program at UC Riverside offers a full range of art history courses, with faculty specializing in the Arts of the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Students are encouraged to take the interdisciplinary graduate courses offered by the Anthropology, Art, Comparative Literature, Dance, English, History, Hispanic Studies, Theatre, Media and Cultural Studies, Music, and Women's Studies programs on campus.
Under the Graduate Student Guidelines, the History of Art MA degree may be completed in two years of full time study, with the first year focused on course-work and the second on the research and writing of the thesis.
The MA program seeks to expand the student's knowledge across the fields offered and to encourage in-depth research in an area of concentration. In addition to this intellectual training, students are encouraged to obtain practical experience through participation in the organization and mounting of exhibitions at the Sweeney Art Gallery and California Museum of Photography on campus, as well as through the different internships offered at art collections and institutions in Southern California.
MA level research is well supported through the Department's slide collection, the campus library (which contains over 1,500,000 titles) and the California Museum of Photography (which possesses one of the leading collections of photographs in the country).
The department works closely at both the undergraduate and graduate levels with the Sweeney Art Gallery and the California Museum of Photography to give students an opportunity to work with original material in the history of photography. Qualified students may elect internships (Art History 198-I) in these institutions or any other regional museum approved by the faculty.