Art History


The School of Art offers a three year B.F.A. degree in Art History and a four year B.F.A. Honours degree in Art History, with courses open to art history majors and to students in the studio areas. Art History is a branch of the humanities.

Programs Offered Program Length
Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, Art History 3 years
Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, Art History (Honours) 4 years



All first year students are required to take Intro to Art 1 and 2. These courses examine, in a chronological order, the development of art worldwide from the prehistoric period to the present. Students will learn about artists, art movements, directions, styles, and social contexts. Cultural comparisons, aesthetics, theory, criticism, and research methodologies are also fundamental concerns. Students also have the option to take an introductory course specifically devoted to Asian art which focuses on the manner in which religion and political ideologies impact art in India, China and Japan.




Second year courses offer concentration in specific areas such as the Medieval to Renaissance era, the Renaissance to the Baroque, the Modern to the Contemporary as well as courses that have a single focal area such as Women and Art or an Introduction to Aboriginal Art.



During the third year, students will take courses that offer a more defined curriculum related to one artistic movement or era. Students will explore further concepts of art and theory in Contemporary Art, Canadian Art History, Bauhaus, Art in New Media, History of Photography, History of Ceramics, Islamic Art, and Curatorial Studies, of Special Topics courses that focus on Prairie Modernism, the Origins of Modernism, and German Art between the Wars. The Special Topics courses allow flexibility in core subject areas, while allowing a rotation of new courses addressing faculty and student interests in current issues and new approaches to the discipline of art history. In the fourth year, students will take at least one seminar course with recent offerings including Contemporary Indigenous Art, and Manitoba Modernism. The seminar courses focus on student-driven discussions, seminar presentations, and developing critical research skills in the discipline of art history.




"A Call for Rebellion: Ernst Barlach's Illustration for Reinhold Van Walter's poem, Der Kopf", Lindsay Inglis



 "In 2006 I moved from Minneapolis to Winnipeg, and after spending some time in the University 1 program I decided to enroll in the Art History program.  This program provided me with many wonderful experiences that would not have been possible elsewhere.  One thing I learned about Winnipeg as a city is that it has a firm sense of its own history and culture, which makes it a wonderful place to study art history.  In this context I was able to meet with a wide variety of professionals in the Winnipeg art community.  When taking a class with the Director of the Winnipeg Art Gallery we were given the opportunity to write the gallery description for an artwork that could be displayed for the remainder of the show.  A different course gave us the opportunity to have a guided tour of a headliner show at the WAG by the artist himself.  Each course offered us something special and exciting, adding to the quality of my educational experience.  In addition to these great experiences, the dedicated professors of this program made sure we were all aware of the multitude of career options that an Art History degree can provide.  After mulling over my options of curator, art purchaser, conservator, archivist, and many others I eventually decided to pursue a Masters of Library and Information Studies.  My experience in the Art History program at the University of Manitoba prepared me to write effectively, think critically, and to make the most of any opportunity that comes my way." - Abby Burbank 

"Back in the 90’s I studied Art History at the University of Manitoba. My professors Oliver Botar, Amy Karlinsky, and Leslie Korrick were thoughtful, engaging and knowledgeable. The process of researching and writing was rigorous and I had the time and freedom to fully develop my ideas. I don’t think any other faculty could have given me the ability to study culture in such a multidisciplinary fashion. Over the years, I’ve worked in social services, educational and cultural sectors. I once considered my BFA my vanity degree and the B Ed the “practical career” degree. However, what I considered a long shot, a career in the arts, turned out to be more realistic than working as a teacher.  I’m currently the Manager of WAG Studio at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and serve on the board of Art City.  You never know what life has in store for you so follow your interests." - Diane Lafournaise

"I registered for my first art history course at the University of Manitoba out of simple curiosity, but quickly became hooked on the remarkable subject matter and high quality of teaching offered by the program. It was only after I graduated from the school that I fully realized the distinctly innovative character of the ways in which I was taught while there – from medieval art courses grounded in study of the social realities of the period, to courses on twentieth century art and architecture centred on topics such as new media and biocentrism. In the years since I have left the School of Art, I have been consistently grateful for the solid education as to the history of ideas and culture that I received well there. as well as the skills I have gained in the reading of cultural artifacts and in writing about art and architecture." - Jeff Thorsteinson

 "I am a proud graduate of the Art History program at the University of Manitoba. Art History majors develop a thorough understanding of art historical periods, critical theories, and a broadened world view. This program provided me with an excellent foundation of knowledge and with the support of my dedicated professors I was able to pursue further study at a graduate level. I would recommend this program to anyone with an interest in history, culture, and art." - Laura Smith




"The Art History program within the School of Art at the University of Manitoba played a pivotal role in setting me on my chosen career path. I am so glad to have added the Introduction to Art History course to my timetable in my first term at the University of Manitoba. At the time, I could not appreciate how important that decision would be. Art History at the School of Art offered small class sizes, dynamic and knowledgeable instructors and a variety of compelling courses. During the pursuit of my degree, I was able to participate in a larger survey course, more intimate second and third year lecture courses on topics specific to my interest, and an excellent graduate-style seminar. I found the professors to be very supportive and excited about what they were teaching. The first year introductory course gave me a good grounding in artists,
art movements, styles and social contexts, and the art history curriculum in subsequent years taught me to think critically about how and why we tell the history of art in certain ways, and how art responds to and reflects ideas within society.

 Many of the courses that I took made use of Winnipeg’s rich artistic offerings, through guest speakers, visits to exhibitions and specially arranged viewings of artworks; the aim was to give students a direct look at what they were studying. As part of one course, I participated in the organization of an exhibition titled “That 70s Show” at the School of Art gallery. Students in the course researched and wrote about a work from the show, and created the wall texts within the exhibition. I was also able to learn some of the practical side of art making by taking the drawing course option offered with the Introduction to Art History course, and then choosing to do an B.F.A. (Honours) in Art History, which enable me to take a small number of studio courses as part of my degree. This gave me a fuller understanding of how works of art are created, and insight into the experience of the artist; this practical knowledge has proven helpful in pursuing art history.

My studies in art history gave me a solid grasp of the history of art in Canada and abroad. It also offered lessons in how to research, critically examine and present ideas and taught me new methods to understand the history of ideas beyond the realm of art. This is a skill set that could be applied to many different disciplines. I feel that the Art History Faculty at the University of Manitoba was outstanding; the breadth of ideas and rigorous scholarship presented by professors offered a rich and critically innovative perspective. This high caliber of training put me in an advantageous position when, after completing my undergraduate degree from the School of Art, I entered another program for my graduate level studies. I hadn’t realized how fresh and exciting some of the approaches taught by my art history professors at the School of Art were until I presented them to a new group of scholars in grad school and saw them received enthusiastically. The approaches to art history that I was introduced to during my undergraduate art history studies have proven frequently relevant to my work in the field of art history. Moreover, the small size of the program and the enthusiasm and support of Faculty members meant that I was able to build meaningful and lasting relationships with my professors and peers in Art History at the School of Art. I am very happy to have chosen Art History at the School of Art and am delighted to have the opportunity to recommend it to others seeking a program that will challenge and inspire them." - Brennan Smith

Undergraduate Admission Information

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Portfolio Workshop
January 22, 2020 
7:00 - 8:30 pm
364 ARTlab
phone 204.474.8294

Undergraduate Programs

  Art Studio Programs 
  Art History Programs
  Program Worksheets

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Student Advisor Contacts
491 Taché Hall
phone 204.474.8788
493 Taché Hall
phone 204.474.8294