Jun 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Professor: Savage
Associate Professors: Corso-Esquivel (Chair), Dietrick, Starr, St. Clair
Assistant Professor: Halsted
Visiting Assistant Professor: Martinez
Adjunct Assistant Professor: Newman
Adjunct Instructor: Cornejo, Mixon

Major Requirements (A.B. Degree)

The Art Department is designed around two principal areas: creative practice and critical studies. You can earn a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in either Art History or Studio Art, and the two disciplines are closely entwined. Our goal is to encourage creative approaches to learning in all disciplines as part of the broader Liberal Arts curriculum. 

Whether you pursue the major with an Art History or Studio Art emphasis, you must take 10 courses as defined below.

Emphasis in Art History

The BA in Art with an emphasis in art history prepares students for a variety of occupations in the fields of art, art history, and visual culture, or to undertake graduate studies in the humanities and related fields.

The major pathway requires a total of ten courses:
    • Seven Art History courses at any level with no more than three courses at the 100 level.
    • One Studio Art course at any level.
    • ART 300 (Methods course): Critical Theory for Visual Studies, which is normally taken in spring of the junior year.
    • ART 402: Capstone in Art History in fall of the senior year.

Other requirements:

Art History coursework must cover three or more of the following cultural spheres:
    • Africana and African diaspora [ART 255]
    • Asia (East, Central, South, Southeast Asia) [Art 102, Art 122, Art 128, Art 224, Art 334]
    • Indigenous Americas or Oceania [none at present]
    • Islamic World [to be determined by new Art Department TT hire]
    • Latin America and Latinx Art [Art 106]
    • Current majority cultures of the United States, Canada, Western Europe, Australia or New Zealand [Art 100, Art124, Art128, Art 206, Art 208, Art 210, Art 212, Art 218, Art 220, Art 226, Art 234, Art 304]

One pre-1800 course is required.
[Art 100, Art 102, Art 122, Art 106 ,Art 206, Art 208, Art 212, Art 226, Art 304]

Emphasis in Studio Art

Nine Studio Art courses including ART 397 in the junior year and ART 401 in the senior year and one Art History course.

*AP 4 or 5 in 2-D Design, 3-D Design, or Drawing gives the student credit for ART 199 including credit for the Visual and Performing Arts Ways of Knowing requirement.

Studio Art courses are available in these five areas:

Digital - investigation of methods of artmaking using digital technologies to improve our digital literacy, visual thinking, and technical craft.

Drawing - the structure and articulation of natural and non-objective forms through mark making and analysis of composition in a variety of media.

Painting -  the exploration of color, pictorial organization and critical dialogue using a variety of media.

Printmaking - the history and techniques of printmaking including intaglio, lithography, screen printing and digital methods.

Sculpture - three-dimensional concepts in a variety of media focusing on material and spatial relationships, critical dialogue and technical processes including woodworking, welding, moldmaking, 3-D printing and bronze casting.


  • Up to five transfer/abroad credits can apply toward the major with the approval of the Art Department after the courses are completed.
  • One course may fulfill two requirements, but that does not reduce the total number of overall requirements (11 for major).
  • A student can major in Studio Art and minor in Art History (or vice versa), but may not double major in Studio Art and Art History.

Minor Requirements

A minor is offered in Art with emphasis in Studio Art or Art History.  In either case, six courses are required, to be divided as follows:

Emphasis in Art History

Six courses in Art History, with at least one course at the 300-level in art history. Art History coursework must cover at least two of the cultural spheres defined above. One Studio Art course may be substituted for one Art History course.

*AP 4 or 5 in Art History gives the student credit for ART 100.

Emphasis in Studio Art

Six courses in Studio Art, of which at least two courses at or above the 200 level.  One course in Art History may be substituted for one Studio Art course.


  • One course may fulfill two requirements, but that does not reduce the total number of overall requirements (6 for the minor).
  • A student can major in Studio Art and minor in Art History (or vice versa), but may not double major in Studio Art and Art History.

Honors Requirements

Students having a 3.2 overall average and at least a 3.5 average in the major may apply to the faculty for participation in the honors program.  In the case of an exceptional academic record, together with a thesis or exhibition of the highest quality, the department may confer high honors.

Honors in Art History

Honors offers learners an opportunity to conduct a major yearlong project of exceptional originality and promise. These projects may take a variety of formats, though a written component is required. Learners who wish to pursue honors must submit a prospectus for senior honors thesis (ART 496) in spring of junior year to their Art History thesis advisor. Thesis committees are composed of at least two faculty members, one of whom must be a Davidson art history faculty member and one of whom must have experience in the thesis topic.

Milestones are as follows:

• In spring of junior year, candidates submit a prospectus, which must be approved by the advisor and thesis committee. Honors candidates commit to the format and topic outlined in the approved prospectus. This prospectus must segment their work to include a component completed in the fall senior capstone and the remainder of the thesis work completed in the spring of the senior year. candidates may elect to conduct preparatory research in the summer before their senior year.

• Honors candidates who receive an A-range grade for their fall senior capstone receive permission to complete their thesis work in the spring semester.

• The spring semester sees through the expansion and completion of the fall capstone work. The candidate presents a public presentation and defense of their thesis. The thesis committee then decides whether to award honors.

Honors in Studio

Candidates for honors must have a 3.2 overall GPA at the end of the junior year and a 3.5 GPA in the major at the time of graduation, including an “A” in Art 401.  All students will complete a solo exhibition in the spring semester of the senior year as a requirement toward graduation.  If, in the collective evaluation of the studio faculty, the exhibition and accompanying statement reflects an exceptional level of quality and ambition, honors may be awarded.

Art History Courses

100-level courses are intended for students with no background in Art History. These are survey courses designed to introduce a large body of work. 200-level courses are designed for both the major and the non-major. 300-level courses technically do not have any prerequisites, but students are warned at the onset that these are advanced courses. Seminars (not limited to majors) and independent studies are also in this category. 400-level courses are limited to majors in their senior year.

Rationale for Art History Course Numbering

100-level “exploration” courses welcome students into the discipline of art history and visual studies. These classes have small enrollments generally capped at 12-15 students, engage a focused aspect of the discipline, are thematically organized, and limited in scope rather than encyclopedic or canonical. 100-level courses focus on highly transferable skills, self-efficacy, and include low-stakes digital work. Some emphases might include close reading skills, expository writing, intro to group work, visual literacy, and general study skills. No prior experience in art history is expected; courses have no prerequisites.

200-level “expansion” courses broaden a student’s exposure to art history. These courses may be surveys, lectures, or other formats. 200-level courses develop art historical vocabulary, encourage exploration across disciplines, and may introduce more traditional historical taxonomies; these courses build a solid foundation for more advanced 300-level work. Skills developed in 200-level courses include some highly transferable skills like developing speaking/presentation skills, intro to group and collaborative work, visual literacy, and digital literacy through course assignments. They also introduce some discipline-specific skills like art historiography, research, digital publication, and/or art criticism. 200-level courses have no prerequisites.

300-level “experiential” courses are seminar or hands-on courses with limited enrollment to develop discussion and leadership skills. They offer opportunities for diverse pre- professional experiences (for example, academic, curatorial, arts leadership, project-based learning, or community-based learning experiences). All 300-level courses are writing intensive and require projects seen through several stages with formative and summative feedback. These courses
facilitate extracurricular engagement with the Art Department, including developing and publicly showcasing student research. 300-level courses have digital requirements as relevant to their topics, such as digital publication. 300-level courses prepare students for their post-Davidson careers

400-level “capstone” is a required course for majors to demonstrate fluency in art history and visual studies. While all capstones have a significant writing component, they do not necessarily require a thesis-style paper. The capstone supports an open format to allow for projects other than a formal research paper. Capstones include a public-facing event to showcase our students’ achievements.

Studio Art Courses

100-level courses fall in the “Basic” category, and are divided by medium.  There are no prerequisites.  200-level courses are the “Advanced” category, again divided by medium. To enroll in one of these courses the student must have taken the basic course in that medium at Davidson. To enroll in an independent study, the student must have taken both the basic and advanced course in the medium of choice. 400-level courses are limited to majors in their senior year.

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