Studying art history allows students to explore the historical, social, philosophical, and political contexts in which art is made, and to consider the various theoretical perspectives utilized to interpret it. The art history major includes courses on both Western and non-Western art, as well as museum studies courses. Art history majors are encouraged to study abroad, both to experience the cultures in which the art they're studying was created and to develop an understanding of the ways in which different societies value and produce different art forms. One benefit that makes the art history program at the University of Richmond distinctive is the extent to which students can work on exhibitions sponsored by the University Museums. Also rare is the year-long senior thesis that provides art history majors with the opportunity to research and write about a topic that is of interest to them. Students publicly present their theses at the annual Student Symposium. Both of these experiences, the writing and presenting of the thesis, form a solid foundation for many endeavors after graduation.
The opportunities for art history majors are as diverse as the students are. Some go on to graduate school in order to become academics themselves or to work in museums; others choose to work for non-profit art organizations, auction houses, and galleries. Still others have used their sensitivity to differences in cultures to work in organizations such as the Peace Corps. The critical skills emphasized in the study of art history translate into a wide range of professions. For instance, a graduate pursued a degree in international relations at the University of Chicago and others are studying law.