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Department ofArt and Art History

About Us

Photo by Amir I. Attia

The Department of Art and Art History offers degrees in Studio Art and Art History.

Both integrate theory with practice. Studio Art students gain a foundation in Art History and those studying Art History acquire practical experience in the process of making art. We emphasize research, analysis, writing, and presentation skills for all majors. This approach develops well-rounded graduates ready to work in a variety of fields.

Modern problems require unconventional solutions. Technology companies increasingly look to creatives rather than traditional engineers, making a degree in Art and Art History good preparation for almost anything. Whether they end up at Apple or GoPro, SFMOMA or the Louisiana Children's Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago or RISD, Santa Clara Art and Art History graduates are finding personal and professional success.

Studio Art

The studio art program offers a comprehensive foundation that cultivates both traditional art skills and conceptual understanding. Students move from classes in basic drawing and computer imaging to specialized upper-division courses in drawing, photography, painting, sculpture, or digital art.

In addition, majors take at least three Art History courses and prepare an exhibit for the Senior Art Show. We offer a class in portfolio and presentation development, artist statements and résumé writing, and artwork photography to round out the skills needed as a professional artist.

Scholarships, research, clubs, juried shows, conferences, and faculty-student projects are all available to students wanting to advance their work beyond the classroom.

Art History

The history of art is, in many ways, the history of the world. Our Art History curriculum takes a global approach and students learn to understand and contextualize the visual language of humanity. Studying the history and criticism of art develops important skills like research and analysis, reflection and discrimination, and oral and written communication.

Majors gain the hands-on experience of making art in at least two studio classes and complete their degree with a capstone research paper presented publically.

Beyond the curriculum, art history majors and minors participate in several art history symposium events in the spring quarter.

Fulfilling Core Requirements

The department offers a wide range of course work including classes to satisfy numerous Core requirements, including Culture and Ideas 1, 2, and 3, Diversity, Advanced Writing, and Arts. In addition, many of our courses fulfill Pathways requirements.


The Art and Art History Summer Scholarship grants up to four students $250 each to attend an art-related or art history-related college-level educational program over the summer.  The Mary F. and Gerald P. Scholarship is a merit scholarship, not need-based, and the recipient is judged upon outstanding work in a studio class. As the recipient of this scholarship, the funds will be automatically applied to the student's tuition and/or student loans.