An Eye to Observation

Develop a critical awareness of the role cultural production plays in the creation and contestation of structures of power and identity by majoring or minoring in Art History. Students choose from an array of courses covering all periods of the art and architecture of America, Europe, Asia, North Africa and the Islamic world. Advanced courses focus more intensively on specific disciplinary and interdisciplinary issues: artistic practice and patronage, the history of an important movement, gender in art, texts and images, historiography and theory, and exhibit planning and design. You’ll learn to approach artworks from multiple theoretical angles and how knowledge can be constructed and deconstructed. You’ll graduate with a wide-ranging knowledge of art history and critical analysis skills ready for jobs or post-graduate study in a variety of fields.



Experiential EducationEmbrace Your Creative Side

Attend lectures on activist art hosted by the Fisher Center for the Study of Gender and Justice or attend a paint night at the Intercultural Affairs Center.

Explore the Colleges' extensive art collections and experience awe-inspiring art creations by students, faculty and guest artists at The Davis Gallery inside Houghton House.

At Hobart and William Smith, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors.


No Borders:Global Education

Study Renaissance art in Italy or feminist art techniques in Spain.

Wherever you go, our top-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose.


Discover the history, techniques and responses to art.

ARTH 201 – African American Art

Discover some of the contributions Black artists have made to American art by studying significant movements like the evolution of the Black aesthetic and the emergences of civil rights and Black pride.

ARTH 241 – Performance & Installation Art

Become familiar with histories and theories of performance and installation art of the 20th-21st centuries.

ARTH 249 – Islamic Art & Architecture

Examine Islamic art and architecture from its beginnings in classical Mediterranean media and forms to the expression of autonomous stylistic developments and the impact of colonialism and post colonialism. 

FacilitiesRoom to Learn

From a historic mansion to a modern art studio at the Colleges' arts campus, Art History students at HWS can take advantage of tremendous spaces to learn, grow and follow their passions. 





Alum ImpactExperiences to Empower

Kristina Weston '17
Associate Vice President, Head of Sales Coordination, Americas, at Christie’s

Internships were the name of the game for Kristina. As a student at HWS, she interned at the American Ballet Theatre to get a taste of the arts administration field and at to experience the art business and auction industry. With perseverance in her studies and the help of HWS staff and faculty, she was able to graduate a semester early and spent the following spring interning at Christie’s, which led to her full-time position.

Companies That Employ Our graduates

  • Cathedral of St. John the Divine
  • Colgate University
  • Conde Nast
  • Christie’s
  • DFS Galleria
  • Freer Gallery of Art
  • G3 Fashion
  • Hudson Valley Contemporary Art Center
  • J. Crew
  • Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme
  • KSS Architects
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
  • Pratt Institute
  • Quandrangle Group, LLC.
  • Random House Publishing
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Smith College Museum of Art
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • Sotheby’s
  • Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
  • Vineyard Vines

universities where our graduates are studying

    • American University
    • Bryn Mawr College
    • Christie’s London
    • City University of New York
    • College of William and Mary
    • Cornell University
    • Indiana University
    • Nazareth College
    • New York University
    • Newcastle University
    • Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
    • Pratt University
    • Rochester Institute of Technology
    • Savannah College of Art and Design
    • School of Oriental and African Studies
    • Syracuse University
    • University of Florida
    • University of Maryland
    • University of Massachusetts
    • University of Pennsylvania
    • University of Washington
    • University of Wisconsin at Madison
    • Virginia Commonwealth University