MICA offers both an undergraduate major in art history, theory, and criticism and a minor in art history. The major offers a unique opportunity to pursue a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) degree in art history within the context of one of the nation's top colleges of art and design. Central to the work of the art historian is the study of the history of creativity. At MICA, a student majoring in art history is immersed in studio practice and is a member of a dynamic community of artists and designers. MICA's offerings in art history are of a quality and expansiveness unmatched even by many top liberal arts colleges. MICA graduates with a particular interest in the field have gone on to graduate study and to successful careers in art history, museum studies, curatorial practice, and other related fields.
MICA's curriculum in art history balances academic coursework and independent research with a significant studio component. Almost half of the total credits required for the major are in studio coursework, and art history majors are strongly encouraged to use their studio electives to pursue a concentration in a studio discipline. In the four-year program, students complete a total of 39 credits in art history, 27 credits in other liberal arts disciplines, and 60 credits in studio coursework - approximately half of their coursework in academics and half in the studio. The intensive studio practice integral to the BFA in art history, theory, and criticism at MICA strengthens students' own art-making and informs their studies and research in art history with a deeper understanding of the art-making process.
MICA has had a long commitment to developing a full-time art history faculty of distinguished scholars and teachers. Art history majors at MICA can take advantage of a rigorous liberal arts curriculum that offers the most diverse array of art history courses at any art college and more course offerings than many university-based art history programs. Courses include such topics as Italian Renaissance art, European modernism, Environmental art, and American art and visual culture. Our full-time faculty specializes in disciplines such as contemporary Middle Eastern art, the African Diaspora, historical and modern Asian art, Medieval art, Ancient art, and Latin American art and architecture. The classes we regularly offer include Introduction to Art Criticism; Contemporary Architectural Criticism; Introduction to Curatorial Studies; and Renaissance Art and Thought. Design and craft history courses include History of World Textiles; Fashion and the Avant-Garde; Modern Western Ceramics; Contemporary Practices in Print Media; Design Theory; and the histories of animation, graphic design illustration, photography, printmaking and film. Importantly, each year MICA offers a professional practices seminar that introduces students to the variety of careers in the fields of art history and museum studies, and guides them in building a CV and writing job and internship applications.
In the foundation year, students planning to major in art history pursue MICA's renowned foundation studio program, which emphasizes building strong skills and conceptual abilities for ongoing investigation in the studio and classroom. MICA's foundation program integrates critical thinking, reading, writing, and the methods and processes of art history through two required liberal arts courses - Critical Inquiry and Art Matters.
In the sophomore and junior years, majors gain an overview of art history theories, areas, and concepts through three required survey courses, and begin to build a focus and to explore specific areas of inquiry through electives. Art history electives may be used to pursue an area of focus in art history, to gain hands-on curatorial or real-world experience, and to explore an area of research interest through independent study.
Academic course-work is balanced by studio courses during these two years. All majors are required to pursue studio coursework in drawing, photography, painting, sculptural studies, and electronic arts, and a generous number of studio electives allows art history majors to pursue a studio concentration - animation, book arts, environmental design, fashion, graphic design, interactive media, photography, printmaking - or undertake intensive studio work in an area of special interest.
In the senior year, majors complete their studies and take the Art History Senior Thesis course for which they research and write a senior thesis paper, which is presented at a public symposium. Students are guided in conducting original archival research, developing an original thesis, as well as public speaking and delivering a professional conference talk.
Art history majors can also take advantage of an array of off-campus opportunities, such as the MICA/SACI program in Florence, where students take courses in conservation, archeology, and museum studies. MICA's Summer Travel Intensive program includes regular trips to the Biennales in Venice and Berlin. Moreover, locally there are a number of internship opportunities at local galleries, as well as institutions such as The Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art.