MSU Denver

Explore Art at MSU Denver:

Start your possible with us

Learn more about this program

Explore more of our program options

Why study Art History, Theory and Criticism?

Art Historians are like detectives and engage with the latest research to unlock the secrets of Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids and Macchu Picchu. How did kings, queens, emperors and dictators use images to communicate power and how did the countercultures of the 1960s visualize power shifts? What’s the relationship of art to the spiritual, the social, the political worlds and why should we care? These are some of the questions you’ll grapple with as an Art History, Theory and Criticism major at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

What is Art History, Theory and Criticism? In this wide-ranging degree program, you will study global visual culture, from the ancients through contemporary artists, learning the visual language of art, while also learning about the theories and societies that gave rise to different works of art.

MSU Denver professors are also committed to introducing you to the most current ideas in Art History, Theory and Criticism, while also helping you develop your abilities to think critically and communicate clearly in writing and in speech. Much of this will happen in your MSU Denver classrooms, but also expect to take part in field trips to study Denver’s various collections, participate in internships or study abroad.

The intellectual and aesthetic education you’ll receive as an MSU Denver Art History, Theory and Criticism major will prepare you for art and non-art-related careers and for graduate study.

Benefits of Earning Your Degree at MSU Denver

An exhibit in an art gallery

As an MSU Denver Art History, Theory and Criticism student you will have the chance to:

  • Intern at a local gallery, museum or arts organization.
  • Join the student Art Guild and help plan the annual juried student art show.
  • Get involved with Metrosphere—MSU Denver’s art and literary journal.
  • Work at MSU Denver’s off-campus gallery, the Center for Visual Art.
  • Study abroad in places like Denmark, Barcelona, Italy and Morocco.

As an MSU Denver Art History, Theory and Criticism student you will have the chance to take advantage of on campus exhibitions in gallery spaces such as the Emmanuel Gallery and off campus in MSU Denver’s Center for Visual Art.

Career Opportunities for Our Graduates

Four images of various art from around the world.

Graduates from MSU Denver’s Art History, Theory and Criticism program go on to work in museums and galleries, start their own businesses and attend prestigious graduate schools.

Featured Faculty

Professor Deanne PytlinskiDeanne Pytlinski

Associate Professor Deanne Pytlinski chairs MSU Denver’s Art Department and is a professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism. Her research focuses on the history of women, technology and art.


Professor Jillian MollenhauerJillian Mollenhauer

Associate Professor Jillian Mollenhauer is an Art History, Theory and Criticism faculty member whose specialties lie in the areas of the arts and cultures of Mesoamerica and Native American art.

Alumni at Work

MSU Denver Art History, Theory and Criticism graduates have been hired by organizations such as:

  • Museo de las Americas
  • Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Auraria Digital Resources Center

MSU Denver Art History graduates have also gone on to graduate study at the following:

  • George Washington University
  • State University of New York at Stonybrook
  • Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Denver


MSU Denver’s Art History, Theory and Criticism program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Contact the Department of Art


[email protected]



Office Location:

Arts Building, Suite 187
Auraria Campus