San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 15th, 2013
Texas State regents approve art history degree


Texas State is adding another undergraduate degree to its offerings.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents has authorized the university to offer a Bachelor of Arts in art history through the School of Art and Design. The degree replaces a previously-existing concentration in art history for art majors.

“Art history is critical to the education of artists,” said Michael Niblett, director of the School of Art and Design at Texas State. “Previously, we just had a concentration in art history for art majors, but if you look at the rigor of our courses and compared them to other schools that offered art history degrees, we already had a B.A. We just didn’t call it that. That presented a problem for our graduates, I think. It didn’t look good when they were applying for a job, because it was just a concentration.”

Growth in the existing concentration program indicates that a full major will be in demand, according to university officials. From 2002 to 2012 the number of art majors taking a concentration in art history grew 75 percent.

That popularity is reflected in the overall number of art majors, as well. The School of Art and Design moved into the Joann Cole Mitte Building in 2003, with space to accommodate 500 art majors, Niblett said. Today, there are more than 1,300 art majors at Texas State, and classes run continuously from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. A recent feasibility study showed the art building to be the most utilized on campus.

“We have people coming in all hours,” Niblett said. “This building is alive around the clock. All of our students have to take between nine and 15 hours of art history to satisfy their degree requirements. We have a large studio art and practicing artist program here, but if a student decides they don’t want to be a studio artist, they may still want to be scholarly and write about the arts. Art history is a respectable field on its own.”

Niblett said the full major in art history would further enhance job placements for Texas State graduates.

“All major cities have art museums and art attractions that bring in tourists,” Niblett said. “Museums, galleries, university faculty and arts organizations need art historians. This degree will help our program become more robust. In the future, we may be able to add faculty in more specialized areas of art history. Instead of a concentration in art history, we might offer a concentration in Latin American art. That is way in the future, but this opens the door for us to have a healthy, growing art history program.”

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One thought on “Texas State regents approve art history degree

  1. Art History? Are you kidding me? Why are we not adding STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) degrees so that our graduates have a change to get a job one day. What job can you get with an art history degree…cashier? retail aide? insurance salesman?

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