Art History


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Undergraduate Program – BA

Degrees: BA Art History and Visual CultureMinor Art History and Visual Culture

The mission of the San José State University Art History area is to enrich the lives of its students by providing an in-depth knowledge of cultural traditions and the skills necessary for applying that knowledge in the service of our multicultural society. The program also provides students with the communication skills, research techniques, and methods of critical inquiry that have become a vital part of modern life.

Course offerings include a wide range of themes and topics in ancient, Renaissance, Baroque, modern, contemporary,and global art. Examination of the visual culture of these diverse areas encourages students to become responsible citizens through an understanding of the aesthetic, cultural and ethical choices inherent in human development.

Undergraduates majoring in the history of art undertake a 45-unit program to gain a basic knowledge of the field with a concentration in one or two areas of their choosing. The program requires students to take at least one non-Western art history course, 6 upper division units in related areas of history and the humanities, and a minimum of six units of a second language. Students are also encouraged to take at least one studio course in order to gain a functional knowledge of the creative process.

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Program Website

Program Learning Outcomes (PLO)

(link to catalog)

grad program

Graduate Program – MA

MA Art Concentration in Art History and Visual Culture

The Master of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture offers a broad education in visual culture within a dynamic department that includes a strong M.F.A. program in the heart of Silicon Valley. The program prepares students for a Ph.D. or a graduate library degree with specialization in art history. It also provides training for a variety of positions, including community college professor, image researcher, museum curator, arts administrator, conservator, and visual resources librarian.

Our program is especially strong in modern and contemporary art, architecture and design, and the art of the Renaissance. We feature a variety of special-topic courses, such as Modern Architecture, History of Photography, and Conceptual Art. We regularly teach courses coordinated with local art institutions. 

Besides featuring a wide array of courses we host a number of activities during the academic year, such as the Art History and Visual Culture Colloquium, the Art History Association Symposium, the Tuesday Night Lecture Series and a range of exhibitions in the Thompson Gallery. 

Study Abroad

The program regularly offers FLP (Faculty Led Programs) to Venice, Paris, and Vienna. If you are interested in one of these programs please contact the coordinating faculty below.

Venice:  Dr. Elizabeth Carroll,
Paris:  Dr. Josine Smits,
Vienna:  Dr. Gretchen Simms, 

Quick Links

Art History and Visual Culture Area Coordinator

Graduate Coordinator – MA
Prof. Anthony Raynsford –

Program Learning Outcomes (PLO)

(link to catalog)

AHVC Faculty & Lecturers


Headshot of Elizabeth Carroll

Elizabeth Carroll


Office: ART 117


Headshot of Molly Hankwitz

Molly Hankwitz


Office: ART 115



Headshot of Sarah Mills

Sarah Mills

Assistant Professor

Office: ART 123


headshot of prof Raynsford

Anthony Raynsford

Associate Professor

Office: ART 123


Headshot of Liz Linden

Liz Linden


Office: Online


Headshot of Gretchen Simms

Gretchen Simms


Office: Online


Headshot of Josine Smits

Josine Smits


Office: ART 121

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