Faculty of Arts & Science
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Art History & Art Conservation Program at Queen's University

Art History & Art Conservation

Location: 
Ontario Hall
Room number: 
211
Telephone: 

Head of Art History & Art Conservation: J. Helland
Graduate Program Chair: A. Sherman
Undergraduate Program Chair: C. Hoeniger
Art Conservation Program Director: R. Hill
Agnes Etherington Art Centre Director: J. Allen

The Art History programme offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level. We offer a range of courses that can be grouped according to six themes: art, science & technology; gender, class & society; material culture & object-based analysis; word and image; museums, collecting & cultural policy; and post-colonial analysis.  All art history courses emphasize visual literacy and the contextual relevance of the discipline within culture and history.

The programme maintains close ties with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre on campus, which features innovative exhibitions, programs, and high-quality collections encompassing European painting of the Baroque era, with a focus on Dutch and Flemish art; contemporary art; and historical Canadian art, with smaller concentrations of the art of Indigenous peoples of North America, decorative arts, costume and heritage quilts of the region. In addition, the gallery holds a fine collection of the art of West and Central Africa.

Students may also choose to expand their experience of works of art and architecture through study in our international programs, including the Venice Summer School, University of Vienna graduate exchange, and courses at Herstmonceux Castle in England.

Degree Options

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) - BAH

Major in Art History
A major is an intensive course of study in one discipline, with approximately half of your courses within the discipline with room for an optional minor in any other Arts and Science discipline.

Medial in Art History
A dual course of study in Art History and any other Arts discipline.

Minor in Art History
A minor is a less intensive course of study in the discipline that must be combined with a major in another discipline.

Bachelor of Arts - BA

General in Art History
A less intense course of study leading to a 3-year degree.

Full list of Undergraduate Degree Plans at Queen's University

Graduate Degree Options

Art History - PhD
Art History - MA
Art Conservation (Research Stream) - MA
Art Conservation (Treatment Stream) - MA

First Year Courses

ARTH 120/6.0 Art in the West from Antiquity to Modernity
A survey of famous and lesser-known works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other art forms from Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque, and the Modern Age. Themes include politics, religion, mythology, gender roles, techniques, conservation and intersections with non-western cultures.

What it takes to study Art History in your second year >

Special Notes

Students who plan to proceed to graduate work in Art History are advised to acquire reading skills in languages appropriate to the area of specialization.

Click here for the complete list of Courses in Arts and Science

Study Abroad with Art History

Students may also choose to expand their experience of works of art and architecture through study in our international programs, including the Venice Summer School, University of Vienna graduate exchange, and courses at Herstmonceux Castle in England.

Students in Art History are encouraged to take courses at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) in their second or third year, given the importance of studying works of art first hand.  Courses at Herstmonceux take advantage of architecture, painting, sculpture and the decorative arts on both sides of the English Channel within easy travelling distance from the Castle.  Although the selection of ARTH courses at the BISC is limited, special consideration will be given to honours students returning to Art History at Queen’s after the enriching experience at the BISC.

Job and Career Opportunities for Art History Grads

The Art History program offers students an excellent opportunity to study the history of Western Art and Architecture from the medieval period up to the latest issues in contemporary art. Courses are structured for breadth in the introductory years, with increasing specialization in third year and beyond. Students in the fourth‐year Honors program are offered an opportunity to develop and apply their knowledge and skills through participation in intensive seminar classes in an intimate setting, which also provide sound preparation for graduate studies.

Graduates from our Art History program work in the following industries:

  • Architecture
  • Art Conservation
  • Cultural Festivals
  • Graphic
  • Art Heritage Policy
  • History
  • Illustration ‐ General
  • Interior Design
  • Landscape
  • Architecture
  • Magazine Industry
  • Marketing ‐ General
  • Media ‐ Electronic
  • Media ‐ Newspapers and Magazines
  • Medical Illustration
  • Museology
  • Painting
  • Promotions
  • Sculpting
  • Tourism & Travel
  • Writing

Career paths for Art History grads handout from Career Services >

Art History Electives for Non-ARTH Students

ARTH 120/6.0 Art in the West from Antiquity to Modernity
A survey of famous and lesser-known works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other art forms from Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque, and the Modern Age. Themes include politics, religion, mythology, gender roles, techniques, conservation and intersections with non-western cultures.

ARTH 250/3.0 Art Culture and Society
An introduction to the social conditions and cultural movements that shaped European visual art of the nineteenth century in its global context. The course will stress the tension between modernity and anti-modernism as well as competing views on the very nature of visual art.

ARTH 354/3.0 The Age of Rembrandt 
A detailed study of paintings produced in the Netherlands, ca. 1580-1700. Developments in style and the growth of subject types such as genre, portraiture, landscape, and still life are examined in the cultural context of life in the Dutch Republic, with particular attention to the achievements of artists such as Rembrandt, Hals, and Vermeer.

Graduate Studies in Art History

The M.A. and Ph.D. programs offer advanced training in the study of visual and material culture from the Middles Ages to the present. The Queen's Art History program is strongly committed to mentoring and to the training of graduate students in a variety of interdisciplinary approaches, methodologies, and issues, including the technical examination of art, gender studies, critical theory, cultural representation, and the relationships among art, literature, and science.

"Choosing Art History at Queen's University to pursue doctoral studies in Art History was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Attending Queen's was a positive and nurturing experience, made possible because of an advisor and faculty members who were active scholars, thoughtful pedagogues and caring mentors. It provided the best possible environment in which to foster and nurture a young scholar along the daunting steps of the Ph.D. I learned much from them on how to be a professional academic and of the expectations that awaited me upon convocation. Faculty were generous, enthusiastic and open-minded with me and my work. Today, working in School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph as an associate professor, I am proud to say I am one of three Ph.Ds from the Department of Art employed in the Art History unit. Few Art History departments in this country can boast its track record!" John Potvin, PhD, Queen's University Art History 2005

The M.A. in art history is a two-year research based program. Learn more about the Master's Program in Art History.

The Ph.D. in art history is a four-year program that requires course work, the demonstration of a reading knowledge of an appropriate second language, two field essays and a thesis. Learn more about the Ph.D. Program in Art History.

Have Questions?

Call us at 613-533-2470 or email us.

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