Bachelor in Art History


Program Description


Why Study Art?

The Art department's mission is to train artists, art historians, and visual arts administrators, as well as to provide service courses for non-art majors. Through our courses, we aspire to build an appreciation for the rich interchange of images and ideas that can happen between art and other academic disciplines. Our graduates in art have been encouraged to consider their future professional role in the context of both the contemporary world and the historical world. Besides a reverence for art history, they have been taught appropriate skills of mind, hand, and eye. They have been helped to find the next steps in their life journey, and have been challenged to be the best they can be in their chosen specialty.

How We're Different

  1. Small classes taught by nationally and internationally renowned faculty equates to individual attention and successful mentoring.
  2. Students have access to studios 24 hours a day, seven days a week which promotes independent visual exploration, fosters camaraderie and community among students, and encourages the work ethic needed for success in the visual arts.
  3. Each studio faculty member maintains an active studio, most have gallery affiliations, and all have successful national and/or international exhibition records.
  4. Art history faculty have proven records of success including publications and presentations at national and international venues, publications in peer-reviewed literature, and internationally competitive research grants and fellowships.
  5. Faculty and students have participated in ArtPrize by curating, publishing, and exhibiting and have included Overall Winner in 2010, Top 10 in 2012, and Final Five in 2014 in the time-based category.
  6. Students can participate in a life-changing biennial study abroad program in Paris which combines rigorous art history and studio training on campus during the spring semester with a three-week travel study in Paris in May.
  7. All art students have free access to the Grand Rapids Art Museum and Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park and bus trips are offered each year to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Detroit Institute of Art
  8. Facilities include a new 25-computer Mac lab for graphic design courses.
  9. Students have successfully secured internships at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the Ford Library, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
  10. Six gallery exhibits per year showcase the art of students, faculty, and national artists.

Major Requirements

Thirty-nine (39) semester hours, including AT150, 151, 275, 391; twelve (12) elective credit hours in Art History, nine (9) hours in studio courses (from 3 different areas); and three (3) elective credit hours from film, studio, or art history.

Art History Majors are required to submit a portfolio of work completed at Aquinas before mid-term of their last semester. See department chairperson for details of this portfolio.

It is recommended that the College’s Foreign Language requirement be fulfilled in either French or German. It is recommended that three (3) credit hours of an elective be fulfilled with three (3) credit hours of AT 398, with directed readings in “Historiography” during the junior or first half of the senior year.

B.A. majors in Art History are required to earn a minimum of eighteen (18) credit hours in art history at Aquinas. Art History majors are asked to consult with Dr. Joseph Becherer for clarification of these requirements


  • AT150 History of Art and Architecture I (3) AC
  • AT151 History of Art and Architecture II (3) AC
  • AT350 Modern Survey (3) WI
  • AT275 Renaissance Art and Society (3)
  • AT391 Contemporary Art (3) WI

Last updated Jun 2019

About the School

Aquinas College, an inclusive educational community rooted in the Catholic and Dominican tradition, provides a liberal arts education with a global perspective, emphasizes career preparation focused o ... Read More

Aquinas College, an inclusive educational community rooted in the Catholic and Dominican tradition, provides a liberal arts education with a global perspective, emphasizes career preparation focused on leadership and service to others, and fosters a commitment to lifelong learning dedicated to the pursuit of truth and the common good. Read less