About School of Art & Art History at Chicago

Undergraduate Thesis Group Photo, 2012
Unleash Your Radical Imagination!

The School of Art and Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago comprises artists, scholars, museum workers, educators, and researchers, all thriving within the nation’s most diverse public research university. We empower students in the making, experience, study, and interpretation of art, art history, and contemporary culture and prepare them for a professional life of interdisciplinary practice. Affirming that humanity survives and advances through radical imagination and the arts, we educate our students to rigorously engage in art’s vibrant corollaries: dialogue, critique, experimentation, and social justice.

The School of Art & Art History was founded on the principle that history, theory and practice are intimately entwined endeavors. Our programs ignite intellectual curiosity and creative innovation, and empower students to expand the boundaries of what is possible, making an impact on the world.

Art students are encouraged to work across the media-specific disciplines of studio arts, photography, moving image, and new media and actively engage departments across the university as well as the larger cosmopolitan city of Chicago. Faculty are equally committed to their research, practice and teaching, and foster an intense intellectual and creative environment where individual research and studio work are complemented by collaborative efforts and socially relevant public projects and civic engagement. The Department offers a BFA, a Minor in Art, and a MFA.  

Art History students critically inquire into the ways in which people have reimagined their worlds by visual and other means through art, architecture, photography, film, performance, and design. Students are prepared in the fundamentals of historical analysis, visual literacy, and theoretical understanding. Classes span all historical periods and most of the world’s cultures. The Museum and Exhibition Studies program focuses on the social and political contexts of cultural institutions with an emphasis on social justice. The Department offers a BA, MA (Art History or Museum Studies), and PhD. Undergradautes can also earn a Minor in Musuem and Exhibition Studies.

The School of Art and Art History is also home to the interdsciplinary IDEAS major. The Interdisciplinary  Education in the Arts Major provides an opportunity for students interested in intermedia, multimedia and across-college practice and history.

Gallery 400, a contemporary art gallery is an important resource for our students that provides culturally transformative experiences through exhibitions and by bringing world-class artists, activists, writers, and scholars to the School.