• <a href="/live/image/gid/665/width/650/87152_Art_history_main_image.jpg" class="lw_preview_image lw_disable_preview" tabindex="-1"><picture class="lw_image lw_image87152"><source media="(max-width: 500px)" type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/665/width/500/height/479/crop/1/87152_Art_history_main_image.rev.1613003330.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/665/width/500/height/479/crop/1/87152_Art_history_main_image.rev.1613003330.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(max-width: 500px)" type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/665/width/500/height/479/crop/1/87152_Art_history_main_image.rev.1613003330.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/665/width/500/height/479/crop/1/87152_Art_history_main_image.rev.1613003330.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(min-width: 501px)" type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/665/width/720/height/690/crop/1/87152_Art_history_main_image.rev.1613003330.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/665/width/720/height/690/crop/1/87152_Art_history_main_image.rev.1613003330.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(min-width: 501px)" type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/665/width/720/height/690/crop/1/87152_Art_history_main_image.rev.1613003330.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/665/width/720/height/690/crop/1/87152_Art_history_main_image.rev.1613003330.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/665/width/720/height/690/crop/1/87152_Art_history_main_image.rev.1613003330.jpg" alt="Associate Professor of Art History Dawn Odell was awarded the Lorry Lokey Faculty Excellence Award in 2019. " srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/665/width/720/height/690/crop/1/87152_Art_history_main_image.rev.1613003330.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/665/width/720/height/690/crop/1/87152_Art_history_main_image.rev.1613003330.jpg 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2136" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a> <div class="hero-split_image_caption collapsable-caption">Associate Professor of Art History Dawn Odell was awarded the Lorry Lokey Faculty Excellence Award in 2019. </div>

Why Choose a Degree in Art History?

We are committed to helping you achieve the visual literacy that is increasingly essential to negotiating the world today. You will be prepared to pursue advanced degrees in graduate school; for careers in galleries, museums, or arts administration; and for a life enriched by the visual arts. Our students graduate with an art history degree, plus the ability to think creatively and critically through the way they analyze and discuss past and contemporary art.

What You’ll Study

The department offers two majors (studio art and art history) and one minor (art and art history). Our art history program exposes students to a wide variety of art from around the globe and throughout human history. Faculty offer rigorous introductions, advanced courses in specific periods in art history, and thematic seminars that consider art in the context of ideas rather than simply by chronological order.

Many of our students study art history and earn course credit while on an overseas or off-campus program. In addition to general cultural programs that are open to all students, there are programs designed and led by art faculty to England and New York City.

Outside the classroom, many of our students have been awarded numerous arts-related internships in Portland. Our visiting artist lecture series features nationally and internationally recognized artists working in a broad range of disciplines.


Complement Your Education With One of These Minors

The most popular minors for our art history majors are English, entrepreneurial leadership and innovation, and any of our world languages and literatures sections.

What Students are Saying about Lewis & Clark

  • Jason, sitting on the ground in front of a garden and leaning forward in a light blue collared shirt, smiling on a sunny day.

    I’m studying international affairs because I want to make a real difference in the world and try to help people. I added art history as a second major because I genuinely love art appreciation, going to museums, and learning the stories behind works.

    Jason Kowalski BA ’23
    International affairs and art history (double) | Vancouver, Washington
    More about Jason
  • Mithila Tambe BA '25

    I find it fascinating and quite liberating how the teaching of art history at L&C breaks out of the box of fine arts and leaves space for much-needed critique and analysis.

    Mithila Tambe BA ’25
    Art History | Pune, Maharashtra, India
    More about Mithila
  • Jack, in a black and white top with gray plaid pants, smiling while standing in front of bushes along a pathway on a sunny day.

    My decision to double major in German studies and art history was easy. Both departments’ professors showcase their love of the subject so well that it made me want to follow them and learn more.

    Jack Hanning BA ’21
    German studies and art history (double) | Tulsa, Oklahoma
    More about Jack

What Can You Do With a Degree in Art History?

Our alumni use their BA in art history to pursue a wide range of careers within academia, nonprofits, arts production and administration, and beyond. While some students pursue a studio practice with their bachelor’s degree, others apply their critical thinking, research and writing skills, creativity, and visual literacy to many areas other than art and art history.

Dedicated Faculty

Our expert professors are your expert mentors. You will learn directly from faculty (no graduate assistants here!) that are nationally recognized in their fields of study and who love to work with and learn from their students. Your professors will inspire you to be a thoughtful and passionate participant in a diverse world. Your small classes will support you as you explore new ideas, find your voice, and speak your truth.

Art faculty are some of the most engaged working artists in the Pacific Northwest. They are fellowship winners, run nationally recognized arts nonprofits, and have had their work supported through residencies, foundations, and grants. Our art faculty produce events annually, often bringing students on as assistants or collaborators.

Meet the Professors

  • 10% 

    of our undergraduate students are from outside the U.S.

  • 54 

    nationalities represented in our undergraduate student body

  • 10% 

    of our students are from countries other than the U.S.

  • Value 

    Lewis & Clark is on U.S. News & World Report’s 2023–24 “Best Value Schools” list.

  • Top 100 

    Lewis & Clark is in the top 100 on U.S. News & World Report’s 2023–24 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” list.

Invest in Yourself

A private liberal arts education is often more affordable than you think. Last year, Lewis & Clark distributed over $74 million in assistance from institutional, federal, state, and private sources. Additionally, we’re so confident that our first-year students will graduate with their bachelor of arts degree in four years that if you don’t, we’ll cover the extra semester of tuition.

Find Your People

The Art Club is an entirely student-run organization that coordinates lots of extracurricular art opportunities including art exhibitions, visiting artists, and the annual Art Week. Our campus also has a few student-run art and creative spaces, like the Platteau and the Coop. Incoming students can take advantage of our Creative PDX New Student Trip, which gives them the opportunity to get to know the Portland arts scene and connect with the vibrant arts programs at L&C, all before classes start.

Where Lewis & Clark Will Take You

  • Hannah smiling outside. She is wearing a black tank top with red flowers.

    My time at Lewis & Clark prepared me to engage with the world critically and with an open mind. My coursework challenged me to consider perspectives other than my own and to advocate for my own beliefs.

    Hannah Ronningen BA ’20
    Art History | Religious Studies | San Diego, California
    More about Hannah
  • Tyler smiling outside. He is wearing glasses and a blue shirt.

    The art history department helped me develop a foundation of knowledge that I apply everyday at my job, as well as strong writing and speaking skills. 

    Tyler Short BA ’21
    Art History | French Studies | Chandler, Arizona
    More about Tyler
  • Claire Lyman posing in front of a mural wearing a black top, green pants, and a blue scarf around her neck.

    We have the best professors at Lewis & Clark—especially in the art history department! The classes I took with Dawn Odell, Ben David, and Matt Johnston prepared me for the rigor of a PhD program.

    Claire Lyman BA ’18
    Art History | Classics | Wilmette, Illinois
    More about Claire

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