Certificate in Art History and Visual Culture

This certificate is open to currently registered Dalhousie and King's students in all Faculties; it will not be open for direct application.

Contact/Coordinator:  Dr. Mona Holmlund, Department of History

A Certificate in Art History and Visual Culture would be most obviously beneficial to students considering graduate studies in Art History, Museum Studies, Museum Education, Arts Administration, Conservation, Cultural Studies, etc. However, the importance of developing visual literacy is being recognized much more broadly in today’s digital, image-based world (for example, courses in art history are now required at several top medical schools). Indeed, in many fields visual thinking is considered as crucial as verbal thinking. A Certificate in Art History and Visual Culture would therefore provide a sound complement to any area of studies in the humanities, sciences, or social sciences.

This certificate is a 12 credit hour certificate with one required 3 credit hour course (HIST 2900.03/GWST 2900.03). The remainder of the courses will be selected from a list of 3 credit hour electives. Students have the option to take one of their 3 credit hour electives at NSCAD University.


  • HIST 2900.03: Ways of Seeing: An Introduction to Art History and Visual Culture (Cross-listed GWST 2900.03)

And nine additional credit hours drawn from the following list of electives:

Department of Classics:

  • CLAS 3021.03: Ancient Art and Architecture from the Pyramids to the Forum

Contemporary Studies Programme:

  • CTMP 2316.03: The “Pictorial Turn” in Recent Thought, Art and Theory
  • CTMP 2340.03: Theories of the Avant-Garde

Early Modern Studies Programme:

  • EMSP 2215.03: Violence and Wonder: Baroque Art
  • EMSP 2230.03: Picture and Poetry in Early Modern Culture
  • EMSP 2510.06: Early Modern Art, Literature, and Politics in Florence, Italy (Summer Study Abroad)
  • EMSP 3280.03: Love, lust, and desire in Italian Renaissance Art (Cross-listed GWST 3280.03)
  • EMSP 3290.03: The Renaissance Print and Cross-Cultural Exchange
  • EMSP 4500.06: Aesthetic Theory Honours Seminar

Department of English:

Department of History:

  • HIST 3303.03: De-Colonizing Modernism: Critiquing the Legacy of Modern Art (Cross-listed GWST 3303.03)
  • HIST 4303.03: The Birth of Pop: How Victorian Visual Culture Makes Meaning (Cross-listed GWST 4303.03)

History of Science and Technology Programme:

  • HSTC 4120.03: Artefacts: The Material Culture of Science and Technology

Indigenous Studies:

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will cultivate visual literacy—the ability to interpret works of art both as formal structures and in relation to social, political, and cultural contexts—and develop a working knowledge of the vocabulary of art history and criticism.
  • Students will learn to effectively use objects as primary sources and to articulate the relevance of art as both evidence of, and stimulus for, historical, social, political, and intellectual movements.
  • Students will develop the ability to communicate their knowledge of visual culture both orally and in writing by learning how to synthesize a wide range of primary and secondary sources. 

Students will be able to count credit earned in these courses toward their undergraduate major, minor, or distribution requirements, unless otherwise specified in their program’s regulations.