School of Art History

The Academy’s art history school provides specialized academic study that pairs art historical theory and criticism with the study of the fine and applied arts. This unique pairing presented in a single-study academic environment ensures that our graduates develop and acquire skills necessary for employment in the arts sector and elsewhere. The Art History programs are designed around the study of art, the artist and their techniques, building a well-rounded education of the art historical narrative through the material presented in art history, studio, and foreign language courses.

Explore and discuss art and artistic methods at Academy of Art University’s School of Art History, becoming part of the academic art historical narrative with your contribution to the field.

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What We Teach

As a graduate of our Art History school, you will be a passionate and determined thinker. You will challenge people’s understanding of past cultures and discuss art and architecture through their place in our own historical narrative. We will train you to marry the historical and material study of art through an understanding of artists, periods, and styles—by learning about the past to make it come alive in the present.

Ancient Greek Art: The Foundation of Western Civilization
We will examine the art, archaeology, architecture, and ideology that comprised the foundation of the ancient Greek civilization, and how it has influenced Western culture. You will write and present research papers to critically assess how such a culture became a fundamental phenomenon ingrained in the values and arts of today.
Art History Methodologies & Theory
All art history starts from a foundation of theory. As an art historian, you will use theory to challenge scholarship, and through that dialogue, find your own voice and methodology on the way to becoming part of the next generation of intellectuals and art history specialists.
The Golden Age of Dutch Art
You will learn to examine the art of the 17th century Dutch Republic and its surrounding regions. Artists covered include: Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Vermeer, Hals, Dou, and Leyster. Students will engage in critical analysis of artwork through application of primary source readings and seminal theories of Netherlandish scholarship in written work and presentations.
Traditional Materials, Tools, & Techniques in Art
We will impart knowledge of traditional methods of production and techniques used by the great artists of our past to help you understand their work's intention and value. You will develop an appreciation of their artistic methods and how they directly relate to how we understand the work as we discuss its creation.

Art History in the City: "Gates of Paradise

Lorenzo Ghiberti’s “Gates of Paradise” (1425-1452) stands as an achievement of the creativity and brilliance of the Florentine imagination during the early days of the Italian Renaissance. This video examines the narrative and stylistic charm of each panel as seen in the copy at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Being surrounded by art such as this is just one of the many perks of studying art history in San Francisco.

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Your dream is within reach. Follow your heart and get started on the career of your dreams.

Facilities & Technology

Access to the leading scholars and scholarship is essential for preparing students for employment in the art historical or related field. This comes in the form of online resource guides that connect you to JSTOR, Oxford Art and other leading scholarly journals and publications.


Our faculty makes the difference. They are art history industry veterans who help bridge the needs of the art history industry with the curriculum and experience our students get.

Alumni Testimonials

Study Abroad Opportunities

One of the best ways to learn about the world is to see the world. As we work together to turn your passion for art history into a rewarding career, we will delve into the numerous ways in which we can elevate your experience in class and beyond through our exciting Study Abroad opportunities.

Careers in Art History

As one of the top art and design schools in the country, Academy of Art University art history graduates have a range of opportunities to choose from. Our facilities, faculty, and hands-on learning approach are designed to provide you with the tools you need to succeed as a professional art historian.


Your career starts here.
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Or call 415-274-2222 to request more information about this program.
As an art appraiser, you'll work in an auction house appraising a variant of art pieces to help collectors and galleries grow their collections. With your knowledge of historical and artistic significance, you'll set the pace for the art world and its value in the cultural landscape.
Corporate Consultant
As a corporate art consultant, you'll work with private corporations as an art buyer, assessor, and art investor to assess potential additions to the collection. Understanding works of art as both a financial investment and as part of a growing collection, you'll create a portfolio of art that speaks to a specific message.
As a museum or gallery curator, you'll work as the content specialist in charge of the institution's collection. Interpret the material, organize its exhibition , and provide historical context through materials, catalogs, and labels.
As an art writer/reviewer, you'll work in a publishing house reading and reviewing art-related materials. Working in teams, you'll fact check, revise, and edit everything from articles to books.

Learn Online

Our revolutionary online courses provide the same rigorous education that we offer on campus with greater flexibility. Our online programs are purpose-built to deliver art and design courses. Study on your own time, at your own pace. Combine online and on-site classes.

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