Art Department Minors

Art and Design Minor

PEAKS | Humanities & Fine Arts |

The primary purpose of the Art and Design Minor is to foster creativity and critical thinking through an understanding of the practice and history of the visual arts. We seek to help students develop visual literacy and problem-solving skills, to explore confidently some of the many avenues of technical and creative expression, and to develop an appreciation for craftsmanship.

Minor Requirements (16 - 18 credits):

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Foster Creativity
  • Foster Critical Thinking
  • Develop Visual Literacy
  • Expressive use of Technology and Media

Art History Minor

PEAKS | Humanities & Fine Arts |

Art historians study the physical, social, intellectual, religious and political contexts that give rise to works of art. and architecture They analyze their stylistic qualities, explore their symbolic meanings and seek to understand the way art critics, historians and other commentators have responded to these artworks over time. The courses satisfying this minor are predominantly concerned with western art ranging from paleolithic Europe through the ancient near east, the classical world, medieval and early modern Europe to the contemporary international art world.

Minor Requirements (15 credits):


ART-497 Internship (1-3 cr) with the Rosenthal Gallery, the Boise Art Museum, a commercial gallery or any other appropriate art-oriented organization such as the Idaho Commission on the Arts or the Boise City Department of Arts and History.

Note: Courses rich in artistic content, offered by other departments, may also count towards the nine upper-level units. Such courses can be found in the departments of Anthropology & Sociology (for example Anthropology and Art); History (especially those dealing with Ancient Greece, Rome, Medieval and modern Europe); Psychology (particularly those dealing with the cinema) and Interdisciplinary courses such as London: Art, Architecture and Literature. As new courses continue to be developed, it is possible that suitable options may become available in departments other than those listed above. Students who wish to take advantage of this broader range of options should read the catalog description carefully and check with both the course instructor and Art Department faculty to confirm that the course is suitable for the art history minor. In some cases a supplementary research project relating specifically to the visual arts covered by the course in question may be required.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Critical Thinking
  • Developing analytical skills (both visual and textual)
  • Identification and solving of problems
  • Understanding the historical context in which artworks are made
  • Understanding key theoretical approaches underpinning art history
  • Understanding how pictorial conventions contribute to artistic meaning

Upon the successful completion of a minor in art history, students should also be able to communicate effectively in the following ways:

  • discuss some of the ways in which their own encounters with artistic imagery are shaped and limited by their own cultural and historical context
  • write thesis-driven visual analyses in which they conduct fruitful close readings and discuss critically elements of imagery (such as context, composition, style, technique point of view, etc.)
  • demonstrate their ability to incorporate theoretical and/or critical perspectives into their own analyses of artistic images
  • contribute meaningfully to seminar-type critical discussions of issues in art history

Associated Minors

Visual Studies Minor

PEAKS | Humanities & Fine Arts | Social Science & History |

Visual studies, sometimes also known as visual culture studies, seeks to understand the many ways that we see, and are made to see, the world, and the role that visual images play. While such imagery includes works of art, it also encompasses the imagery of movies, plays, advertisements, scientific illustrations, political posters, fashion, pornography, comics, graphic novels, WebPages, YouTube and many other areas of visual culture.

Students of visual studies analyze how the design of images (that is, their use of formal elements such as line, shape, value, texture and color), the combinations of text and image, how the media disseminates them, their sequential arrangements (in the case of narrative imagery), their choice of foci, affects our interpretation of them.

Understanding iconography--that is, the set of symbolic meanings that we attach to images-- is also important as this frequently reflects socio-political dynamics, religious beliefs, gender norms, ideals of morality etc. The latter point relates to the very important question that students of visual studies ask: For whom was the image made and why? That is, when someone makes an image they invariably do so, either consciously or not, with assumptions about the social, gender or cultural identity of the viewer. This vital point unites the study of visual imagery in art, theatre and movie history, and in the fields of psychology and anthropology.

Minor Requirements (16 credits):

The minor must include courses drawn from the social sciences and the arts and humanities, but students may take it as an Humanities & Fine Arts PEAK or a Social Science & History PEAK, depending on the relative weighting of the courses chosen.

Humanities & Fine Arts PEAK

Social Science & History PEAK

*ART-494 / MUS-494 / THE-494 to be undertaken at the conclusion of the student's coursework for the minor. It is to consist of an exemplary paper/project produced for a course making up the minor, a self-assessment of that paper, and an essay that pulls together the common threads linking all the courses taken, reflecting on the insights generated during the completion of the minor. While it is an account of the student's personal intellectual and emotional growth, it must conform to the accepted standards of academic writing. The essay should be submitted to the designated Visual Studies Minor advisor who will assign the grade. In the event that some of the material is outside the expertise of the advisor, he or she may consult colleagues who teach courses fulfilling the visual studies requirement.