The Department of Art History provides diverse programs for the study of the history and theory of art, leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Applicants with a BA and applicants who bring an MA in Art History from another institution are both welcome. The program seeks to create a forum for the exploration of the visual arts as manifested in major epochs of European, Near Eastern, Asian, and American civilizations. This is accomplished by encouraging the exploration of diverse approaches and the examination of varied materials. The department seeks to cultivate knowledge of salient works of art, of the structures within which they are produced and utilized, and of the ways in which the visual environment in the broadest sense generates, acquires, and transmits meaning. Ways of addressing and analyzing the range of materials that constitute visual culture are emphasized in lectures, seminars, and workshops through the oral and written presentation of research and inquiry into specific objects, periods, and issues.
The first class of students at the Georgia School of Technology was small and homogeneous, and educational options were limited. 85 students signed up on the first registration day, October 7, 1888, and the enrollment for the first year climbed to a total of 129 by January 7, 1889.     The first student to register was William H. Glenn .  All but one or two of the students were from Georgia.  Tuition was free for Georgia residents and $150 (equivalent to $4,000 in 2016) for out-of-state students.  The only degree offered was a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering , and no elective courses were available. All students were required to follow exactly the same program, which was so rigorous that nearly two thirds of the first class failed to complete it.  The first graduating class consisted of two students in 1890, Henry L. Smith and George G. Crawford , who decided their graduation order on the flip of a coin.