Fine Arts Requirement

A core-area course in one of the fine arts aims to enhance students' understanding of and appreciation for one or more of the fine arts (art, music, or theater). Students gain an understanding of the role of the fine arts in expressing and maintaining, discovering and questioning a culture's dominant beliefs and ideals. A transfer or study-abroad course must be broad enough to encompass different periods, cultures, and styles, but also allow for an intensive scrutiny of the way in which the work of art, music or theater is composed and created.

For a transfer or study abroad course to be considered for the fine arts requirement:

  • If you have already taken the course, contact Academic Counseling to begin the online Transfer Course Petition process.
    • An Academic Counselor will set up an online form that will be e-mailed to you for you to fill out and submit.
    • You will need to attach a syllabus to the online form and electronically sign off on it for it to move forward in the approval process.
  • If you have not yet taken the course, fill out a fine arts requirement evaluation pre-approval form: Fine Arts Requirement Form
    • Attach a syllabus to the form. (Please note that a course description from a catalog does not provide sufficient information for the course to be properly evaluated and will not be accepted.)
    • Turn in your fine arts review form to the appropriate person (see list below).

Art History courses:

Victoria Young, Mail 44C, 962-5855; office: 102 (44 N. Cleveland Ave)


Art History syllabi and evaluation forms may be sent by email.

Music Courses:

Shersten Johnson, Mail BEC 5, 962-5892; office: BEC 109C


Theater Courses: 

Amy Muse, Mail JRC 334, (651) 962-5643; office: JRC 334


Film Courses:

Juli Kroll, Mail #4104, (651) 962-5293; office: OEC 320G


In most cases courses are evaluated within 10 business days, except if school is not in session. Please write your contact information clearly (email, telephone number, and student id) on the form so that you can be contacted when a decision is made.

Criteria for Core Area Courses in Fine Arts:

In order to evaluate a transfer or study-abroad course for the fine arts requirement, it is necessary to determine if it meets the required elements for fine arts courses at St. Thomas. These six required elements or "perspectives" are found below. 

It is not possible to do extra-credit work outside of the class to make up for a missing requirement.

On-line art history courses do not qualify for meeting the core requirement.

Historical Perspective: A fine arts core area course should cover a range of periods diverse enough to highlight changes in the style of the fine arts and to elucidate the meaning of the work of arts in its broader cultural context. It should also examine the ways in which these changes reflect or challenge a society's beliefs and ideals.

Theoretical Perspective: A fine arts core area course should examine the means by which artists express themselves by analyzing the basic components of compositions, their arrangement, and their potential for expressive phrasing or nuances. It should also consider the relationship of artist and listener or viewer and circumstances under which this occurs.

Analytical Perspective: A fine arts core area course should require oral and written analysis of the art form. This may include writing a commentary on a museum visit, a concert report, a critical analysis of the production of a play or film, or an oral presentation analyzing and interpreting performance.

Contextual Perspective: A fine arts core area course should examine works of art in their religious, cultural, social, and political contexts as appropriate. Courses will also study and compare works of art from different cultures or ethnic groups.

Stylistic Perspective: A fine arts core area course should consider the effect of style upon the form and interpretation of a work of art, and consider how differences in style within or between periods and cultures reveal an expression of the artist and culture.

Experiential Perspective: A fine arts core area course should include some experience of the art form beyond lecturing and reading. This may include attendance at theater or concert performances, field trips to museums, participation in a concert ensemble, or informal participatory experiences such as sketching or stage design.