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Majors and Minors

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The Department of Art offers an integrated curriculum of art history and studio courses. Students engage formal analysis and critical thinking in creative practice and the acquisition of visual literacy. Both courses of study are based on the recognition that works of art of any period are related to the social, political, and cultural concerns of that period.

In art history courses students learn to translate visual experience into written and oral expression through the identification and contextual interpretation of art. Students are engaged not only in the classroom but also through firsthand interaction with objects in the Colby College Museum of Art. Students acquire familiarity with historical traditions, research and curatorial skills, and art historical literature.

In studio courses students learn to translate ideas and experience into visual expression through the physical exploration of diverse methods and media. Students gain comprehensive knowledge of the formal processes and vocabulary associated with the practice of creating art. Students develop the capacity for adaptive problem solving and aesthetic judgment in order to express themselves clearly in a visual language.


Requirements for the Major in Art

Any two of the following three courses: Art 111, 112, 173. Art 131 and one course in any three of the following four groups:

  1. Art 311, 313, 314
  2. Art 331, 332, 333
  3. Art 351, 352, 353
  4. Art 273, 274, 275

And three additional graded art courses (of three or more credits), which may be art history or studio courses in any proportion, making a total of nine courses.

The point scale for retention of the major applies to courses taken in the department. No requirement for the major may be taken satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

Students planning to continue the study of art or art history in graduate school should confer with their advisors to be sure that they have planned a substantial and adequate course of study. Art history graduate programs generally require reading proficiency in two foreign languages.

Attention is called to the interdisciplinary major in American studies.

Requirements for the Concentration in Studio Art

For students who are fulfilling the major in art, the studio concentration is offered to provide a broadly founded studio sequence that will assist in the development of skills and strengthen portfolios for any anticipated graduate studio work. The studio concentration must include at least a four-course sequence in painting, printmaking, sculpture, or photography among the requirements for the major. Additional requirements are Art 221 and 222 or equivalent (except in photography when 221 and 222 are replaced by 285 and another studio course of choice) for a total of 12 courses. Students are strongly encouraged to complete Art 131 during their first year. In addition, every effort should be made to complete the drawing requirement as early as possible, allowing advanced studio work to build upon that experience.

Requirements for the Concentration in Art  History

For students who are fulfilling the major in art, the art history concentration is offered to prepare the student for graduate work in the field. In addition to the standard requirements for the major, art history concentrators must take each of the survey courses (Art 111, 112, 173) and two additional art history courses, making sure to have at least one in each of the four distribution areas listed under requirements for the major. Art history concentrators are required to take an art history seminar at the 300 level or above, for a total of 12 courses.

Requirements for the Minor in Art

An art minor is available and should be constructed according to the student’s interests and on the advice of an Art Department faculty member. The art minor requires at least seven art courses, including Art 131 (or 161), two of the following: 111, 112, 173; and four additional courses at the 200 level or above.




Colby College reserves the right in its sole judgement to make changes of any nature in its program, calendar, academic schedule, fees, deposits, or any other matters in this catalogue.