Students in the background regard a circular stone with ancient writing.


In an increasingly visual world, Art History provides students with the skills to think with and through imagery as a global form of communication. At MSU Denver, our curriculum emphasizes an inclusive approach to diverse traditions of art making and visual cultures from around the world. We also seek to balance critical questions surrounding art, its creation, and the cultural conventions and contexts of representation with an experiential, hands-on approach to the humanities.

Why Study Art History at MSU Denver

  • Small classes of 10-40 students that range from introductory surveys of world art to lecture courses and seminars addressing specific topics in Art History.
  • An emphasis on experiential learning and innovative teaching.
  • Our long-standing commitment to diversity across the curriculum; at every level of coursework students will be introduced to the global study of art, along with complex issues of identity and representation in differing historical contexts.
  • Opportunities for one-on-one mentorship with caring faculty via work study, teaching assistantships, and individualized research projects.
  • Internship opportunities at local museums and galleries, including the Denver Art Museum, Museo de las Americas and MSU Denver’s Center for Visual Art.
  • Exposure to prominent figures in the field of Art History presenting the latest research through our Visiting Scholars program.
  • Study Abroad programs to a variety of locations including Italy, Spain, and Morocco.
  • Opportunities to present and publish research at department, university, and regional symposia and the MSU Undergraduate Research Journal: The Rowdy Scholar.
  • Connections to community both on campus and along the Front Range.

Students wander and observe ancient artifacts in a gallery.

What You’ll Learn

  • How to critically look at, describe, interpret, and analyze objects and images from global human history.
  • How to understand art in relation to the historical events and cultural norms that surrounded its creation.
  • How the materials and processes of art making impact the appearance and meaning of a work of art.
  • How to develop and use critical analysis, research skills, oral, and written communication skills.

Opportunities for Experiential Learning

travel the world

Travel the World

Our faculty offer unique study abroad programs to Italy, Greece, Spain, Morocco, Berlin and more!

Engage Your Community

Engage Your Community

We offer numerous volunteer opportunities to work with local museums, galleries, and arts non-profits.

Student organizations (ex. the Art Guild) and extracurricular event provide numerous opportunities for students to come together for trips, exhibitions, art walks, movies, game nights, etc.

Break New Ground

Break New Ground

The annual Undergraduate Research Symposium provides a university-wide forum for students to present original research.

Students can gain early experience publishing their work in the MSU undergraduate research and creative work journal, The Rowdy Scholar.

Students may also present their research in annual Art History symposia at the departmental and regional levels.

Senior Art History students are mentored to create an original thesis paper as part of their capstone experience, which will be presented at the BA Capstone symposium.

Experience Art

Experience Art

Our materials collection contains roughly 300 objects for students to interact with the materials, processes, and tools of art-making in a historical context.

Our classes regularly visit local museums to provide direct access to the objects of our study.

Guest lectures by local experts tap into the rich experience of our community to bring multiple perspectives into the classroom.

Hands-on experiments with historical art-making techniques (ex. Marble carving, faience production, etc.) enhance our experiential understanding of the objects we study in lectures.

Silhouette of student looking at art.

Develop Professionally

Internships for course credit place you in local museums and galleries to gain real-world experience in art handling, display, curation, and education.

Work study positions allow students to learn directly from faculty as research and teaching assistants.

Three students photograph their reflections in a mirror, they are wearing conference badges.

Expand Your Mind

Learn from leaders in the field with our Visiting Scholar program, which regularly brings prominent scholars and artists to share their work with students.

Attend local, regional, or national conferences. Financial support is available to students who wish to attend professional conferences.


Upon graduation students will be prepared for a variety of jobs or post-baccalaureate programs in fields like:

  • Education/ Teaching
  • Museums and Galleries
  • Advertising/ Marketing
  • Publishing
  • Architecture/ Architectural Conservation
  • Estate and Art Appraisal
  • Preservation and Conservation
  • Art Collection and Acquisitions Management
  • Art Law and Law Enforcement
  • Art Libraries/ Archives/ Digital Collections Management
  • Arts/ Cultural Non-profits
  • Art Consultation
  • Artist Representation
  • Arts Advising
  • Antiques stores and Auction Houses
  • Freelance Writing

Degrees at a Glance

Download Degree Requirements:

Major, BA

Major Four Year Progression Plan

Art at MSU Denver, Art History, Theory, and Criticism banner depicting a student standing in front of a gallery exhibit of a timeline on a wall.

Student presentations in an Art History class.
MSU Denver student, Kendall Tayler Whyht, in Egyptian Art class during finals week on May 3, 2023. Photo by Alyson McClaran
Students in the Egyptian Art class during finals week.
MSU Denver student, Carson Bailey, in looks at a students final project in Egyptian Art class during finals week on May 3, 2023. Photo by Alyson McClaran

Upcoming Events

March 8

2nd Annual Art History Research Symposium

April 2

MSU Night at the DAM

10am at CVA

April 25

Enchroma Launch

May 3

Senior Thesis Symposium

Our Faculty

Photo of Professor Armstrong

Leila Armstrong
Visiting Faculty – Art History, Theory and Criticism
[email protected]
Armstrong Directory Profile

Photo of Professor Mollenhauer

Jillian Mollenhauer, Ph.D.
Professor – Art History, Theory and Criticism Program Coordinator
[email protected]
Mollenhauer Directory Profile

Photo of Professor Pytlinski

Deanne Pytlinski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor – Art History, Theory and Criticism
[email protected]
Pytlinski Directory Profile

Photo of Professor Trentin

Summer Trentin, Ph.D.
Professor – Art History, Theory and Criticism
[email protected]
Trentin Directory Profile

Photo of Professor Weiss

Jessica Weiss, Ph.D.
Professor – Art History, Theory and Criticism
[email protected]
Weiss Directory Profile