ART – Art course descriptions


Mathew Kelly (chair), Brian Roberts, Susan Swanson


Statement of philosophy

The Art major prepares students for careers related to art, creativity, and visual communication. The major is structured with the flexibility to combine with another program of study such as Psychology, Business Management, Theatre, Communications, and teaching licensure, providing integrated pathways for students to turn their individual interests into meaningful careers.

The visual arts are a primary mode of inquiry and an essential component of a Liberal Arts education. The Art Program prepares students to be visually literate scholars who engage in the shaping of the modern world through hands-on experiences coupled with careful study and analysis of historical developments and concepts. At all levels, the Program emphasizes critical visual analysis, idea generation, and technical facility, while cultivating effective written and oral communication skills. ??Students use the knowledge gained through the close study of works and history to think critically about the relationships between art and a range of human endeavors and experiences.

Students seeking teaching certification at the elementary or secondary level must fulfill the coursework requirements for teaching licensure in the state of Iowa in addition to the Art major requirements (see the “Education – K-12 Art, Music, PE” section of the catalog).

In addition to the classroom experiences, our students are active in a variety of student organizations and co-curricular activities. All these experiences contribute to the total development of our students and help prepare them to become leaders for the 21st century.

Internships and off campus opportunities

Art students are encouraged to participate in study abroad programs and/or the Chicago or Washington, D.C. metropolitan programs. Students should consult with the department faculty and the office of internships and career services for learning opportunities available through internships with such organizations as galleries and museums. Internships are also an integral part of the Chicago and Washington programs.


Major Communication Skills

Student baseline skills are measured in ART 151, 161 and 110, 221, or 222 with an emphasis on technique, historical identification, basic application of concepts to forms and historical developments. Two- and three-hundred level courses shift to emphasize integration of concepts, synthesis of interpretive and critical analysis skills, and creative problem solving.

A critical demonstration of skills development occurs in ART 325 History of Modern Art and Architecture and in ART 485 Senior Seminar in Art. ART 325 serves as the departmental writing-intensive course and emphasizes critical reading, subject research, and writing skills. ART 485 serves as the senior capstone requiring the integration of research, studio practice, and interpretive critical analysis. In addition, students are required to make a formal oral presentation and written thesis in conjunction with their thesis exhibition.

The department conducts a final portfolio review during the fourth year. Passing the final portfolio review is necessary to receive the department’s endorsement for graduation.

Major/Minor Restrictions

Students may not minor in both Art History and Art. Art majors may not also minor in Art History.


Art Major Requirements (42 credits)

  1. Complete all of the following:
    ART      151       2D Problem Solving (4)
    ART      161       3D Problem Solving (4)
    ART      325       History of Modern Art (4)
    ART      425       Theory, Criticism, and Art Since 1945 (4)
    ART      485       Senior Seminar in Art (4) – includes senior exhibit (minimum grade “C” required)
  1. Complete two of the following:
    ART      110       Art and Architecture of the Ancient World (4)
    ART      221       Medieval Art and Architecture (3)
    ART      222       Renaissance Art and the Modern World (3)
    ART      241       Art, Science & Knowledge-Making, 1500- 1800 (3)
    ART      242       Netherlandish Art, 1400- 1650 (3)     
  1. Complete 16 credits of ART electives 
  2. Pass a final portfolio review as determined by department faculty.


Art Minor Requirements (18 credits)

Complete 18 credits of ART courses, including at least one art history course and 3 credits of studio art electives at the 300-400 level.


Art History Minor Requirements (20 credits)

  1. Complete all of the following:
    ART 221 Medieval Art and Architecture (3)
    ART 222 European Art from the Renaissance to Romanticism (3)
    ART 325 History of Modern Art (4)
    ART 425 Art Theory and Criticism (4)
  2. Complete at least 3 credits of art history electives
  3. Complete at least 3 credits of studio art electives

Teaching Licensure – Art

Students seeking teaching licensure in art at the elementary or secondary level should consult with the education department regarding specific requirements in each area.