Majors and Minors

Art Major | Studio Art Emphasis | Art History Emphasis | Art Minor

General Distribution Requirement

All art and art history courses count toward the general distribution requirement in fine arts. Topics courses taught by other departments and cross-listed with art may be counted for this requirement with special permission of faculty and chair.

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and U.S. multiculturalism will be posted on the Registrar's web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements section of this catalog.

Additional Requirements

Sophomore Informational Meeting (Declaring a Major)

The art and art history department conducts a group meeting in the spring of each year for all sophomores who wish to consider a major or minor in art or art history. It is a general orientation meeting for all interested students after which they will select an advisor for their program. The meeting is publicized in advance and students are encouraged to indicate their intention to attend it to the department coordinator. At the meeting the students will have to meet faculty and learn about becoming a studio art, architecture or art history major. Faculty also will address the steps in declaring the major and minor.

Junior Art Critique and Junior Art History Review

In the spring of their junior year, all art and art history majors participate in a faculty review of their work. Studio emphasis majors are required to bring examples of most accomplished work for the review and to prepare an oral statement regarding the concepts and goals explored in their art. Art history emphasis majors are required to make a brief oral presentation on their direction in the major and to present a plan for a capstone project they will undertake in the senior year.  Art history students are also asked to submit what they consider to be their best research paper to the chair of art history program a  week before the review. The purpose of the Junior Art Critique and Junior Art History Review is to provide students with comments from the faculty on the work done in the major so far, to make suggestions for further work in their area of study, and to discuss students' upcoming capstone projects, and their goals and objectives.

Senior Capstone Project

Senior Studio Seminar (ART 488) provides a setting in which art studio majors complete their capstone projects that culminate in a professional public exhibition of their recent work. The seminar meets during the spring semester to discuss theoretical grounding for putting contemporary art and student's own work in context. Faculty and students discuss graduate school opportunities and careers in art.  Students learn how to write their artist's statements, professional resumes, and applications for grants.

Art History Methodology Seminar (ART 487) provides a setting in which art history seniors work on their capstone project which consists of a 25-30 page research paper and a public oral presentation at the end of the academic year. The seminar meets in the fall to learn different methodological approaches to art history and teaches students how to apply them to their own research.

Students must enroll for a 2-credit independent study course in the spring semester of their senior year to complete their capstone requirement.

Distinguished Merit Awards

In the spring of each year the faculty of the art and art history department selects senior recipients of the Distinguished Merit Awards for comprehensive achievement in studio art and/or art history. The awards are based on a review of the student's work done over an extended period of time and done for their final capstone projects. Students nominated for these awards will be notified by the chair of the department and invited to receive their distinctions at the end of the semester.

Honors Projects

The art and art history department participates in the Honors Program but honors projects are accepted at the discretion of the individual faculty who are willing to supervise the independent work of a student.  Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the department are available from the department office, the departmental website, or the Director of Academic Programs.

Topics Courses

ART 194, ART 294, ART 394, ART 494

Topics courses are occasional, often experimental courses, offered by instructors at their own initiative or in response to student requests. Detailed information announced at registration. (4 credits)

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, and preceptorships. For more information contact the department office and review the Curriculum section of the catalog.

Art Major

Major Requirements

A major in art may be earned through either: 1) art studio emphasis plan 2) art history emphasis plan or 3) dual degree architecture program.

Art Studio Emphasis Plan

Requirements consist of 12 courses: ART 130; ART 160; ART 161; ART 488; one from ART 234, ART 236, ART 334 or ART 369; one from ART 131, ART 132,  ART 235; one from ART 239 or ART 367; one from level II studio ART 370, ART 371, ART 372, ART 373, or ART 374; three elective courses from the studio art curriculum; one 200- level art history elective (modern/contemporary recommended).

The senior capstone requirement for the art studio emphasis plan is satisfied by Senior Studio Seminar (ART 488) and the final comprehensive exhibition.

Art History Emphasis Plan

Requirements consist of 12 courses including: ART 149; ART 160; ART 161; ART 170 or ART 171; ART 487; five courses selected from ART 252, ART 257, ART 259, ART 263, ART 264, ART 265, or ART 294ART 328 or ART 367;  two studio courses selected from ART 130, ART 131, ART 132, ART 234, ART 235, ART 236ART 334, ART 239, ART 367, ART 369. An oral presentation of art history research paper on topic approved by the art history faculty is also required in the senior year.

The senior capstone requirement for the art history emphasis plan is satisfied by the ART 487 - Art History Methodology Seminar during which students write their 25-30 page research paper and public oral presentation at the end of the academic year.

Those students who are not able to complete the capstone requirement in the fall of their senior year must register for a  2-credit independent study course in the spring semester of their senior year to complete the requirement.

Dual Degree Architecture Program

Under the agreement with Washington University’s School of Architecture in St. Louis, students may complete three years at Macalester before transferring to Washington University for a senior year of accelerated architectural study, leading to a B.A. from Macalester. Three years of graduate study at Washington University then leads to a master’s in architecture.

Art majors considering a dual degree option in architecture are required to take nine courses in the art department: ART 130, ART 234, ART 235, ART 149, ART 160, ART 161, ART 239, ART 367 and ART 370. A final comprehensive exhibition or project is required at the end of the junior year. Two additional courses in the sciences are also required.      

Non-art majors participating in a dual degree option in architecture should take a total of six courses in the art department: ART 130, ART 235, ART 239, ART 367, plus art history courses ART 160 and ART 161. Two additional courses in the sciences are also required.

Art Minor

A minor in art includes two areas of emphasis, studio art or art history, each requiring six courses distributed as follows:

Studio Emphasis

Six courses as follows: ART 130, one from ART 234, ART 236, ART 334, ART 239 or ART 369; one from ART 130, ART 131, ART 235,  or ART 367; two elective studio course; one elective art history course.

History Emphasis

Six courses as follows: ART 149; two of the following: ART 160ART 161, ART 170 or ART 171; two art history elective courses at 200- and 300- level distributed across different art historical periods and areas; one studio course from ART 130, ART 131, ART 132, ART 234, ART 235, ART 236, ART 334, ART 239, ART 367 or ART 369.