A major in Art History can be solid preparation for graduate work in this field or related disciplines, but it can also serve as excellent training in close observation, the interpretation of visual materials, an rich appreciation of artistry from diverse cultures and eras, the construction of sound arguments based on solid evidence, and clear communication, all of which are skills that can be useful in a wide range of career paths.
Some of our majors have continued their educations in Art History graduate programs. Others have found work in museums, galleries, auction houses, and other areas of the art world. Our majors have been accepted into law, medical, and business school, and have found that their training in Art History offers valuable, sometimes unexpected perspectives that their fellow students often lack .
Requirements for the major
Total: The Art History Major requires nine (9) courses plus the Major Project, for a total of 30 credits (minimum)
Lower Division Requirements: 6 to 8 credits
- All Art History majors are required to take either ArtH 1001, “Introduction to Art History” or ArtH 1002W, “Why Art Matters.” This course is ideally taken early as a gateway to 3xxx and 5xxx level courses. However, credit may be earned for this course at any time during the program. Transfer students who have taken an introductory course in art history elsewhere may use those credits to fulfill this requirement. (3 or 4 credits)
- Art Practice, to be selected among Art 1101, 1102, 1301, 1501, 1502, 1505, 1601, 1701, 1702, 1801, 1902, 1905, or 1910W (or other courses with the approval of the Undergraduate Advisor or Director of Undergraduate Studies. 3 or 4 credits)
Upper Division Requirements (including Major Project): Minimum of 22 credits
- At least five 3xxx level Art History courses. (ArtH 1910W or ArtH 1004W may be used as a substitute for one 3xxx level course)
- At least two 5xxx level Art History courses.
Elective coursework for the major must include:
- At least one course on art from Ancient to ca. 1300
- At least one course on art from ca. 1300 to 1800
- At least one course on art from 1800 to the present
- Courses on at least two unique geographic and cultural areas:
- North America and Europe (NAE)
- South and/or East Asia (A)
- Middle East and/or Islamic World (MEI)
- Latin America (LA)
Courses that span two or more time periods or two or more cultural traditions (labeled International) may be taken to satisfy the distribution requirement in only one of the periods or cultural traditions they engage. A single course may fulfill both a time period and a geographic/cultural area requirement.
Consult the List of Classes (PDF) and the Undergraduate Advisor or Director of Undergraduate Studies for more information on courses that will meet these requirements.
- ArtH 3971W Major Project or ArtH 3971V Honors: Major Project (PDF) (1-3 credits)
Students are required to develop, research, and write a senior thesis paper. This project is developed using the term paper from a 5xxx level ArtH course as a starting point, so students should be sure to complete at least one of their 5xxx electives first. It is important to check with the instructor at the beginning of the semester to ensure that both the course and the paper will be appropriate for later use toward the senior project.
To register for the Major Project course, find a faculty member who can offer guidance on the project's subject matter. Usually, this will be the instructor from the 5xxx level course on which the project will be based. Fill out a Major Project form with this faculty member, and take it to our Director of Undergraduate Studies for approval.
Students completing the Senior Option in a different major will need to ensure that they still meet the 30 credit minimum for the major in Art History. No more than three credits of ArtH 3933 or ArtH 5993 Directed Studies, ArtH 5994 Directed Research, or ArtH 3975 Directed Museum Experience (PDF) may be used to fulfill major requirements.