Art History

The history of art embodies the human imagination, human history, and the rich tapestry of human cultures in a memorable and accessible form. Art history is an examination of how images and monuments communicate and how they function in society: to teach us, move us, and to exalt us – and also, occasionally, to mislead us and to sway our opinions against our better judgment. The study of art provides an access to other cultures, other eras, and other ways of thinking, and will prepare you for your junior year abroad and for an entire lifetime of thinking and living with a global and historical perspective.

Art history majors develop a keen aesthetic sense plus excellent research, analytical, and communication skills—launching pads for many careers. Some art history majors go on to graduate school in architecture, museum studies, or law. Others pursue gallery and arts management, teaching, or nonprofit work. The major imparts a crucial combination of aesthetic appreciation and historical knowledge.

A Thriving Artistic Community

Our campus is your canvas: The university is set amid some of the world’s premier art institutions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Institute of Contemporary Art (which is located in one of the country’s oldest artist colonies, Fort Point). Boston is an architecturally rich city, home to influential buildings and monuments—from Boston City Hall to the Massachusetts State House—which will play a key role in your studies.

Suffolk also houses the New England School of Art & Design, a dynamic artistic training ground for fine artists, graphic designers, and illustrators. Their 42,000-square-foot visual arts facility features traditional and electronic studios, a woodshop, workspaces for printing and lighting, an extensive arts library, and the Suffolk University Art Gallery.

Study Abroad

Suffolk encourages you to travel during your junior year to explore the artistic cultures of cities abroad. Suffolk maintains reciprocal relationships with universities around the globe. Our faculty will work closely with you to design the ideal program. Two popular options for art history students include:

  • Suffolk University in Madrid, Spain: Suffolk maintains a campus in the flourishing Spanish capital of Madrid. The city is home to the world-class “Golden Triangle” of museums: the Prado, the Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza.
  • Florence, Rome and Venice, Italy: This six-week immersion program introduces you to Renaissance art and architecture in three of the world’s foremost art capitals.