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Art History

About the major

Art is a profound and persistent human impulse. Art history explores the history of making, viewing and experiencing works of art and architecture. It asks key questions such as what is art for, what does it mean, and how does it function in broader culture? These questions will be part of a dynamic encounter with complex and compelling works of art. You will gain the historical knowledge and analytical skills to make sense of such works across time and space, to relate them to each other and to the specific historical and cultural contexts for which they were created.

You will be trained in the skills of visual and spatial analysis that are fundamental to our discipline - the ability to critically interpret the visual appearance of a given object. As well as the canonical forms of painting, sculpture and architecture, you will encounter a wide spectrum of media and art practice, from community-based social practice to internet art, from fresco to pop, from processional ritual to performance art, from land art to bark paintings.

Studying the history of art fosters insight and skills in understanding and interpreting visual communication, expression and innovation that are highly relevant in today’s image-saturated world. Many of our graduates go on to careers in the visual arts industry, as curators, critics, artists, art advisers, collection managers, registrars or educators. They work in art museums and contemporary arts spaces, commercial galleries, auction houses, state and local government community arts programs, as well as in art journalism and criticism.

Requirements for completion

The art history major and minor requirements are listed in the Art History unit of study table.

Advanced coursework

Requirements and units of study for advanced coursework can be found on the advanced coursework units of study page.


An honours year in art history allows students to specialise further in their area of interest. The honours year comprises two 4000-level seminar units of study and a thesis of 18,000-20,000 words in length.

Honours admission requirements

Admission into Honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies or Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and requires the completion of a major in art history with an average of 70 percent or above.

Prior to commencing honours, you will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts or other bachelor degree, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and, where undertaking the Bachelor of Advanced Studies, a second major.

Requirements and units of study for honours can be found on the Art History honours units of study page.

Contacts and further information

Contact details can be found on these websites:
Discipline of Art History
School of Art, Communication and English