Pratt Sculpture Garden

B.F.A. in History of Art and Design

Mission Statement

The History of Art and Design Department’s mission is to develop a broad knowledge of cultural artifacts with a global perspective that enlightens students’ understanding of the current historical environment and their place within it.  As students at Pratt Institute develop their skills in their chosen fields, the study of art and design history will enrich and deepen the resources they are able to apply to their work, whether as designers, artists, writers, and scholars who pursue art and design history at a higher level. Through the study of art and design within historical and social contexts, students examine style and content, materials and techniques, and issues of gender, social class, patronage, economics of the market, politics, and religion. Critical inquiry skills are strengthened through evaluation, analysis, and comparison.

B.F.A. majors complete the regular Foundation Program, including the art history survey classes, and can begin to take upper-level electives in their sophomore year. In the required History of Art and Design courses, the goal is to give students a clear idea of the sequence of styles and major artists, and to develop their ability to discuss style and to understand cultural and social contexts. In-depth study of one epoch or one field of art or design history is covered in upper-level courses. Art History majors take at least one 3-credit history elective within the 10-credit Liberal Arts elective pool (in addition to the CH-300 and CH-400 World Civilization requirement). Students may also benefit from taking a chemistry-in-art class within their six-credit science requirement.

Students entering with an Advanced Placement score of four or five in art history may apply for exemption from the first semester survey and are allowed to substitute an elective in the survey area for second semester of survey. Entering freshman who have done well in a full-year art history survey course (but did not get a four or five score or did not take AP art history) may also apply to the chairperson of the History of Art and Design Department to substitute upper-level electives in each survey area for the required courses.

Learning Outcomes

  • Undergraduates are competent in a broad range of knowledge in the history of cultures and their art.
  • Undergraduates understand that the meaning of works of art is tied to changes in social, political, and economic contexts through time.
  • Undergraduates will be able to demonstrate the necessary writing skills to analytically observe and describe works of art and the research skills to place art in its social context.
  • Undergraduates in the B.F.A. degree with studio training and experience learn traditional and innovative techniques in the manipulation of materials that generate artistic expression.
  • Undergraduates will have gained a solid foundation that enables them to successfully apply for study in the discipline at the graduate level.

See History of Art and Design, BFA Curriculum Overview and Yearly Plan of Study