Mission Statement

The mission of the undergraduate program in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies is to provide students with an historical and interdisciplinary understanding of art works, visual experience, and material objects, drawing on models from the humanities, social sciences, and the sciences that provide varied means of assessing the production, circulation, and reception of the visual in past and present cultures. Our mission is to offer students a dynamic model for critical, interdisciplinary analysis of a broad field of images, enabling them to interpret social and cultural constructs that shape and are shaped by the visual, to consider global shifts in visual codes, and to be aware of how symbolic constructions organize how one sees, understands, and participates in the natural, cultural, and built environments.

Students can pursue training in four Majors – Art; Art History; Art/Art History; and Visual Studies. We offer one Concentration in Architecture and four Minors: Art; Art History; Visual Studies; and Photography. We provide studio practice, lectures, small group formats, and one-on-one independent study experiences, all of which encourage the development and application of critical and technical skills in real-world settings.

Goals and Objectives

The Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University offers a range of interdisciplinary approaches to artistic practice and to the historical and critical analysis of visual imagery across time, media, and cultures. Its goals are consistent with those promoted by the College Art Association, and are pursued through a range of Majors, Minors and Concentrations, which parallel the intellectual scope and ambition of the affiliated disciplines represented within the Department.