Art History program

Undergrad minor

Investigate art from centuries past

From cave paintings to contemporary art, art history is an exploration of works created around the world. Art history trains students in the essential skills of research, writing, and visual literacy.

UW-La Crosse’s Art History Minor allows students to work directly with art collections and digital resources. Local partners such as the La Crosse Historical Society provide students with hands-on experience curating exhibitions, presenting research and networking with a variety of professionals including historians, conservators, exhibition designers, curators, artists and other professionals locally and nationally.

Art history jobs

Although you may not have a specific career in mind when you enroll in the art history program, the skills you acquire throughout your course of study will open the doors to many career options; both in careers directly related to the degree, as well as those not directly related to it.

An art history minor pairs well with many other majors and is particularly popular with majors of history, sociology, art, education and even chemistry.


Art history skills

  • Visual, verbal and written literacy
  • Critical thinking and analytical thought
  • Aesthetic and design consciousness
  • Cross-cultural communication
  • Historical or archival research methods
  • Ability to think critically about art, the media, and the past
  • An understanding of contemporary issues in the practice and display of art
  • Presentation and public speaking 

Art history related careers

  • Archival technician
  • Art advisor
  • Art appraiser
  • Archivist
  • Art auctioneer
  • Art critic
  • Art dealer
  • Art handler
  • Art librarian
  • Arts administrator
  • Archaeology
  • Conservator
  • Curator
  • Gallery assistant
  • Grant writer
  • Historic preservationist
  • Installation designer
  • Museum educator
  • Museum public relations
  • Professor
  • Registrar

What distinguishes UWL’s art history program?

Gain practical, hands-on experience

Students work with real art collections both online and in-person. They also gain experience in exhibition planning, writing museum labels, and creating audio guides.

Connect with working professionals

Whether through virtual meetings or in-person visits, students are able to connect with professional historians, conservators, exhibition designers, curators, practicing artists and others in the local community and throughout the nation.

Experience museums

Students take field trips to museums both locally and in larger cities such as the Minneapolis-St.Paul area.

Find internships

Faculty help students identify and apply to internships within the field of art history.

Sample courses

ART 251 Survey of Art History This course is a survey of selected art and design from diverse cultures - prehistory to the present. Students explore basic art history methods of formal, stylistic, and iconographic analysis and practice skills needed to develop critical looking and thinking. Emphasis placed on the relationships between artifacts and cultures, and how the production of art and design is a form of human world knowledge. Themes include the role of the artist and designer over time, techniques and materials as technological advancements, the social and religious context of art, how art history influences contemporary images and photography, and how to apply art history analysis skills to interpreting contemporary media images. Offered Fall.

ART 331 Art and the Environment in the United States This course presents a thematic overview of the visual arts of the United States - from pre-colonization to today - focused on the interrelationships between the natural environment and human society. Students study a diversity of artistic responses to the environment, including artworks that 1) depict landscapes and environments; 2) are sited in or made from the land; 3) engage with environmental issues such as biodiversity, deforestation, and climate crisis. In addition to art historical study, students also reflect on their own social responsibility about the environment by participating in an applied art project. Offered Fall.

ART 315 Writing About Art This is an advanced course with a focus on research, analytical skills and writing about art. Students analyze essays by different artists, scholars, and critics, and will learn the practice of different forms of art writing, including formal analysis, wall text, exhibition review, and research paper. Prerequisite: ART 251. Offered Spring.