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New Tracks Beginning 2018-19

Applicable for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The Art Major

The Art Major at Colorado College offers an integrative approach to studying the history and practice of art, architecture, design, and museum studies. The major introduces a wide variety of liberal arts students to the history of art and provides opportunities to experience the power of creative processes through making.  Our program is structured to ensure that all majors experience the practice of creating art and are capable of thoughtful analysis of the visual language of works of art.  We hope to prepare our majors for graduate study or careers in the visual arts, but the Art Major also develops visual, analytical, and written skills that qualify students for careers in areas other than the arts.

While students identify an area of concentration to pursue in their thesis projects, we require all majors to demonstrate their holistic understanding of the relationships between works of art and their historical and technical contexts.  Therefore, the major requires students to take courses in art history and art studio, before committing in their junior year to one of four concentrations for extended study in their senior capstone:

  • Art History
  • Art Studio
  • Architecture and Integrative Design
  • Museum Studies

Students must declare the major and area of concentration by the beginning of their junior year.   It is imperative that each student’s course of study be developed in close consultation with an advisor and approved in advance.  

The senior capstone requires majors to undertake serious and substantive independent work that results in a thesis project.  Students must identify a topic of interest, examine a specific problem and carry out independent research and analysis over an extended time.  The results of this process are expressed through a written paper, exhibition, or both.

“Distinction in Art” is granted by vote of the art faculty to graduating seniors who have done consistently excellent work in all Art Department courses, contributed to departmental activities and presented an outstanding senior project.

The Art Department maintains an active program of events including visiting artists, speakers, workshops, etc. that enrich our classes and also help draw the attention of the campus community to the visual arts. In addition, during Senior Seminar, all senior art majors spend a week in New York City with faculty visiting museums, galleries, artists’ studios, and meeting with alumni. We also offer courses abroad in Paris, Spain, Asia, and elsewhere. The income from the department's endowment, the Harold E. Berg Fund, supports these programs.


Art History

The Art History concentration introduces students to the artistic achievements of human civilizations by studying the visual arts of a variety of cultures in depth.  In the process students will develop a sensitivity to the visual environment.  The study of art history incorporates intellectual, social, economic and political history, thus offering a vivid and tangible introduction to the history and achievements of human culture. Our program is structured to ensure that majors have a general knowledge of art history and are capable of thoughtful analysis of the visual languages of art.  All art history courses emphasize developing skills in research and writing. Art history provides a solid intellectual foundation for students with a variety of interests.

Art Studio

The Art Studio Concentration emphasizes the fundamentals of the visual arts while introducing students to a wide range of traditional techniques, new technologies, experimental practices and visual theory.  Through direct experience, students build a technical skill set and a general knowledge of the visual arts that provide the foundation for undertaking a deeper creative investigation in their thesis projects.  During their studies, students build confidence in technical and creative problem solving, visual analysis and critical discussion.  The experience is enriched by numerous visiting artist lectures, workshops and extended field trips.  We strive to graduate majors who are prepared for future creative work and have a sensitivity to the visual arts that will inform their lives whether or not they choose to pursue further study or careers in the arts.

Architecture and Integrative Design

The Architecture and Integrative Design Concentration emphasizes the study of the built environment in a broad perspective that combines studio work with the study of the history of architecture and its political, social, economic, philosophical and environmental implications.  It is not a narrowly pre-professional major, but provides students with a strong foundation in the visual arts supplemented with multidisciplinary coursework intended to prepare them to use their visual skills in solving problems, communicating ideas and engaging with social and political issues.  This curriculum provides a background that can lead to graduate study in architecture, landscape architecture, or urban planning among others.  Coursework is supplemented by an active program of workshops and visitors supported by the Conway Design Fund.

Museum Studies

The Museum Studies Concentration introduces students to the theories and practices of the museum while offering an additional lens through which they may understand their study of art history.  The concentration explores the museum as a site for the construction, interpretation, and dissemination of knowledge and as a site for examination of issues museums face in today's society.  Coursework is supplemented by visitors from a broad range of museum backgrounds and opportunities to engage with the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College Museum. 

Major/Minor Requirements

A student majoring in Art may concentrate in Art History, Art Studio, Architecture and Integrative Design or Museum Studies. An art major requires a minimum of fourteen units.

Art History

The Art History Concentration consists of fourteen units: ten units of art history and four units of art studio. The ten art history courses shall include an introductory course (either one or two units), six or seven elective courses and a two-block senior capstone experience (AH412, NY trip/Senior Seminar, and AH415, Senior Thesis) taken in the fall of senior year.

Five of the electives must be at the 200 level or above.  A 300-level course should be taken prior to the senior year as preparation for advanced work at the senior level.  Majors are strongly encouraged to choose a broad range of courses, both chronological and geographical, exploring the department’s offerings in both western and global cultures.

Art Studio

The Art Studio Concentration consists of four units of art history, eight electives in art studio, and AS411 (NY trip/Senior Seminar), AS411.1 and AS411.2 extended format thesis work. Selected courses may be repeated for credit with consent of instructor.

Architecture and Integrative Design

The Architecture and Integrative Design Concentration in the Art Major requires five units of art studio, three units of art history, four units from other departments, and a two-unit senior capstone project.

Five units of Art Studio from this list

AS103 Intro Drawing
AS102 2-D Design
AS114 3-D design
AS210 Topics: Technical Drawing
AS212 Design Workshop
AS210 Topics in Architecture
AS401 Graphics Research Workshop
AS401 Special Problems in Architecture

Relevant courses abroad:  e.g. DIS in Copenhagen, Syracuse University in Florence, Temple University in Rome

Three units of Art History from this list

AH111 History of Architecture
AH204 Topics:  Modern/Contemporary Architecture
AH202 Art and the Landscape
AH204 Modern Architecture
AH413 Independent study relevant to the history of architecture or design. 

Other art history courses with a significant architecture component such as courses in Ancient, Islamic or pre-Columbian art, approved by the student's advisor. 

Four electives in environmental science, physics, performance design, political science, sociology or other relevant disciplines chosen from a current list in consultation with the student’s advisor.  Courses must be approved by the advisor in advance.

A two-block capstone, including senior seminar (AH412 or AS411) and a thesis project (AS411.1 and 411.2 or AH415). The thesis may take the form of a studio project/proposal with an architecture, urbanism, landscape design focus, and a written discussion and public presentation, or it might be a written thesis on a related topic.

Possible Electives for Architecture and Integrative Design Concentration Courses offered in 2017-18 (List to be revised annually).

EV128 Introduction to Global Climate Change
EV141 Sustainable Development
*EV212 Energy:  Environmental Thermodynamics and Energetics
EV271 Environmental Policy
EV274 Environmental Politics and Policy

PY141, 142 Introductory Physics or / PY 241, 242 Introductory Classical Physics

TH110 Fundamentals of Performance Design
*TH210 Intermediate Performance Design
TH200/AS210 Our Cities Ourselves 

*SO324 Urban Sociology

BE105 Biology of Plants
*BE202 Field Botany
*BE208 Ecology

*Indicates prerequisite

Museum Studies

The Museum Studies Concentration requires five units of art history, three units of art studio, two units of museum studies, two electives appropriate to the student’s course of study, and a two-unit senior capstone project (AH412 and AH415 or 416).

Five units of art history 

Introductory art history course, one or two units (Introduction to Art History or other comparable one or two block course.)

200/300 Level art history courses, three or four units (three units if the introductory course is two blocks; four units if the introductory course is one block)

Two units of museum studies 

GS247 Introduction to Museum Studies
GS273: Museum Collections Management: History, Ethics and Practice

Courses with a significant museum studies component or directed independent study chosen in consultation with an advisor.

Three units of art studio from this list 

AS102: Art Studio Foundations: 2D Design
AS103 Introduction to Drawing
AS114: Art Studio Foundations: 3D Design
AS207: Technical Drawing
AS212: Design Workshop

Two electives

In consultation with their advisor, students, depending on their interests, choose two electives appropriate to administration, conservation, design, education, anthropology or sociology from a current list.  Courses to count towards the major must be approved in advance by the advisor. 


A two-block capstone comprising the one-block Senior Seminar course (AH412) and a senior thesis course (AH 415 or 416).  The capstone project may take the form of a thesis, exhibition, or special internship project, developed in consultation with the student’s advisor. A limited number of internships will be offered at the Colorado Springs Fince Arts Center at Colorado College Museum.

Possible Electives for Museum Studies Concentration

Courses offered in 2017-18 (List to be revised annually).

AN208/SW273 Topics: Southwest Arts and Culture
AN208/AH200 Art of the Maya
*AN208/GY250/SW250 Topics:  Past Climates and Human History in the Southwest
*AN308 Topics: Historical Archaeology

CH107/CH108 General Chemistry

EC110 Topics: Social Entrepreneurship
*EC329: Business Organization and Management (Nonprofit)

ED210 Power of the Arts in Education

TH110 Fundamentals of Performance Design
*TH210 Intermediate Performance Design

SW102 Place, Space and the Southwest
SW272 Nature, Region and Society of the Southwest
SW273/AN208 Southwest Arts and Culture
SW275 The American Southwest:  The Heritage and the Variety

*Indicates prerequisite