Majors and Minors - Department of Fine Art and Art History - Christopher Newport University

Department of Fine Art and Art History

Majors and Minors

We offer the bachelor of arts degree in fine and performing arts. You can choose between two majors:

Art History Major

The art of the past is still relevant today. This program promotes an understanding of the various styles and movements in art; theory of art, and the interpretation of art in the context of time, place, and purpose. You'll learn the key terms and research methods, and develop your skills in organization, critical and logical thinking, and writing.

Studio Art Major

We believe art making as a thoughtful exploration of ideas. You'll learn perceptual skills, analytical and critical competence, and technical skills in specific media. We emphasize the importance of process, creative problem solving, various means of artistic conceptualization, and the context of historical and contemporary art.


The minor in photography and video art is an excellent way to complement your major area of study while developing visual literacy. You’ll learn analog and digital photography, and critically evaluate how photographic imagery and video shape our culture.

The minor in graphic design enables you to develop highly desirable technical skills, and competency in design aesthetics and concepts. You'll learn to critically evaluate the way graphic design shapes our contemporary culture and converses with historical and contemporary practices in fine art and design.

Our goal is to educate and prepare students for graduate study and for leadership in teaching and other arts-related professions.

We also support several minors across campus, including

  • African American studies
  • Asian studies
  • Digital humanities
  • Film studies
  • Latin American studies
  • Medieval and Renaissance studies
  • Museum studies

Sample Courses for Art History

Striped faces, shattered forms, skyscrapers, urinals, white squares – why were they made and what do they mean; how have they changed our understanding of art and architecture? We will address these and other issues as we explore the artists, schools, styles, philosophies and historical events that define the modern period from the late 19th century to the eve of World War II. In this writing intensive course, you will learn to identify and explain the major artists, themes and “isms” of modern art while developing the skills to look and write thoughtfully and critically about the visual arts in the context of relevant philosophical, political and cultural movements.

We study the development of painting, sculpture and architecture from the end of the Middle Ages in the 13th century to the dawn of the Baroque in the 17th century. The Renaissance began in Florence, Italy with a revival of classical knowledge and the development of humanism. From this, artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo transformed the way art was created and appreciated.

This course is an introductory survey of the arts of the Caribbean, from pre-European contact to the present day. The class begins by exploring indigenous cultures such as the Taino of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. It proceeds with the eclectic Creole culture of the colonial period, and continues through the present day, looking at the diverse arts of the islands and the Caribbean diaspora.

Sample Courses for Studio Art

This course looks at contemporary photographers for inspiration and introduces the technical and artistic foundations of the medium.

Printmaking is a portfolio-based course that teaches historical, contemporary and experimental imaging techniques to create fine art prints. You’ll learn processes such as intaglio, relief printing, lithography and solvent transfers.

This course offers the experience of studying the nude human figure and expressing its vitality through drawing. The study of the nude figure has classical origins and modern applications that are explored in this course through content, media and technique.

Learn visual communication through print media. Topics include historical and contemporary design history, typography, page layout, logo development and package design. Students will also explore the process of working with clients and learn technical skills in industry standard software.

Accessible Undergraduate Catalog
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