Academics: Majors and Programs

Art and Art History Department

Art and Art History Major Requirements

The department of art and art history functions as an integral unit of the coordinated art program of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, which includes Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark Atlanta University. Spelman offers a majority of the required core courses for concentrations in studio art and art history. Spelman’s art faculty specializes in painting, drawing, sculpture, design, computer graphics, and art history.

Through the ARCHE program, the department also offers opportunities for study at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia State University, Agnes Scott, Emory University, University of Georgia, and several other visual arts programs throughout the state university system.

B.A. Degree With a Concentration in Studio Art

The concentration in Studio Art is designed to prepare students for professional career opportunities in the visual arts. The degree requires a total of 47–48 credits (14 core) to be selected from the list of art courses offered at Spelman or Clark Atlanta University.

Fourteen Core Courses

  • ART 111 Basic Drawing
  • ART 113 Basic Design
  • ART 121 Painting I
  • ART 131 Sculpture I
  • ART 141 History of Art I
  • ART 142 History of Art II
  • ART 211 Life Drawing I
  • ART 213 History of Modern Art   or   ART 143A/B African American Art
  • ART 217 Printmaking I (Clark Atlanta University)
  • ART 250 Studio Review I
  • ART 316 Intermediate Drawing
  • ART 350 Studio Review II
  • ART 492 Portfolio Criticism – Part I
  • ART 492A Portfolio Criticism – Part II

Plus one art elective

B.A. Degree With a Concentration in Art History

The art history concentration leading to advanced study in art history requires a total of 39–41 credits (10 core courses plus one art elective) to be selected from the list of courses offered at Spelman or Clark Atlanta University.

Ten Core Courses             

  • ART 110 Understanding the Visual Arts
  • ART 143A/B African American Art
  • ART 141 History of Art I
  • ART 142 History of Art II
  • ART 213 History of Modern Art
  • ART 312 African Art
  • ART 315 Contemporary Art
  • ART 492B/C Portfolio Criticism (Art History) / Honors Thesis
  • Choose one Two-dimensional Course 
  • ART 111 Basic Drawing, or
  • ART 113 Basic Design, or
  • ART 121 Painting I, or
  • ART 217 Printmaking I (Clark Atlanta University),  or
  • ART 257 Photography (Clark Atlanta University)
  • Choose one Three-dimensional Core Course 
  • ART 131 Sculpture I, or
  • ART 300 Three-Dimensional Methods and Materials,  or
  • ART 301 Jewelry Design 1/Small Metals  

Plus one art history or studio art elective

Focus in Comparative Women’s Studies

Any of the above described major programs can be enhanced with an area disciplinary or a thematic focus or self-designed program in Comparative Women’s Studies.

Optional Experiences

Students interested in hands-on experiences with a museum, gallery, design firm, or arts council will be encouraged to complete an internship at an approved site. This internship may be substituted for one of the designated elective courses, if approved by the student’s adviser and the chair of the department of Art. Students will also be encouraged to take more courses in art history, aesthetics and/or to pursue study abroad opportunities in art.

Orientation and Sophomore/Junior Evaluation

All Spelman and Morehouse first-year students majoring or minoring in art are required to participate in a scheduled group orientation session, which outlines the annual evaluations. Art majors are required to enroll in the annual spring semester evaluation courses, Studio Review I and II, during their sophomore and junior years, respectively. The Studio concentration requires portfolio reviews from selected works produced.

Art history students are required to enroll in the annual spring semester evaluation courses, Art History Review I and II, during their sophomore and junior years respectively. The Art History concentration requires professional presentation of approved, individual research topics. 

The evaluations are a prerequisite for ART 492 Part I -Portfolio Criticism or ART 492B - Portfolio Criticism (Art History). The review courses are optional for other AUC art majors. Students who declare an art major or minor after their first year will be required to participate in an orientation and the appropriate annual review.

Studio/Art History make-up review will be scheduled for the last week in August for students who were studying abroad or participating in the Domestic Exchange Program (special permission).

Students not officially enrolled in Studio Review I and II will not receive credit. Class attendance and the final review are required in order to pass the course and register for the final major capstone courses of the studio art or art history major.

Department Graduation Requirement

Successful completion of all art courses with no grade less than “C” is required for graduation. The studio concentration requires a comprehensive senior exhibition. The art history concentration requires a senior thesis/research paper or project.

Additionally, students must successfully complete Studio or Art History Review I and II; however, students who are accepted into the art program in their junior years are only required to complete Studio /Art History Review II.

Art majors and minors are required to attend all departmental events and activities. A valid written excuse must be presented to the advisor prior to the events or activities if an absence is unavoidable.

General Education Core Requirement

The general education core requirement may be satisfied with any one of the following courses selected from these Spelman College courses: Understanding the Visual Arts, Basic Drawing, Basic Design, Painting I, Sculpture I, Introduction to African American Art, History of Art I or II, History of Modern Art, African Art, or Contemporary Art.


All studio and art history majors are required to meet with an assigned faculty adviser each semester and for approval of course changes. Please see the department’s chairperson for a current list of advisers.

International/Women’s Studies Requirement

Courses that satisfy the International/Women’s Studies requirement are listed in the Course Sequence Booklet.


The following courses will satisfy Honors requirements:

  • ART 214 Issues in Latin-American Art
  • ART 315 Contemporary Art
  • ART 322 Issues in Women’s Art

Centerwide Art Electives

Each student will be advised properly on her area of concentration and course selections. Some of the following courses may be used as electives, depending on the student’s area of concentration.

Elective Courses

Spelman College

  • ART 160 Special Problems—Art Colony
  • ART 161 The Art and Culture of the African Diaspora
  • ART 212 Life Drawing II
  • ART 221 Painting II
  • ART 231 Sculpture II
  • ART 232 Sculpture III
  • ART 240 The Computer as a Creative Tool
  • ART 260 Special Problems—Art Colony
  • ART 270 Intro to New Genre Art Forms
  • ART 300 Three-Dimensional Methods and Materials
  • ART 301 Jewelry Design1 / Small Metals
  • ART 312 African Art
  • ART 315 Contemporary Art
  • ART 321 Painting III
  • ART 322 Issues in Women’s Art
  • ART 360 Special Problems – Art Colony
  • ART 381 Aesthetics
  • ART 392 Origins of Postmodernism
  • ART 442 Internship
  • ART 460 Special Problems – Art Colony
  • ART 493 Directed Studies (Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Design, Art History

Clark Atlanta University

  • ART 257 Photography
  • ART 315 Illustration I
  • ART 320 Typography and Layout II
  • ART 321 Graphic Design I     

Students are permitted to take art courses offered at other institutions of the ARCHE program if approved by their advisers, and space is available.

Special Summer Program

Spelman College Summer Art Colony is a three-week intensive painting course at Taller Portobello located in a 17th century Spanish colonial village on the Caribbean coast of the Republic of Panama. Students should consult with the director for registration information and details of the course. There are no language requirements; all classes are taught in English by a Spelman art professor.