Undergraduate Emphases

Visit the UCSB General Catalog  for the University's requirements for:

  • Bachelor of Arts, History of Art and Architecture, Emphasis in Architecture & Environment
  • Bachelor of Arts, History of Art and Architecture, Emphasis in Museum Studies

If you have additional questions, contact Savannah Sharp Parison, Program Advisor.


Architecture & Environment Emphasis

The history of architecture is much more than a history of styles, materials, and constructions. It also explores social, cultural, and political realities, and it asks questions of gender and ethnicity. Foremost, however, it is the history of humanity’s interaction with the environment which is the focus of the emphasis Architecture & Environment. Whenever and wherever architects, engineers, and planners design and erect houses, places of business, office and industrial buildings, neighborhoods, and entire towns and cities, they interact with the physical environment. Architecture often stands at the center of public regard and debate, especially when at stake are such issues as urban growth, preservation of the countryside, revitalization of inner cities, the future of historic districts, sustainable living, and the provision of affordable housing.

The Architecture & Environment emphasis allows one to explore how human beings have positioned themselves spatially in relation to the environment at various cultural and historical moments. With six architectural historians among its faculty — one of the largest concentrations in any university on the West Coast — and a wide range of courses incorporating architecture, the department offers a wealth of expertise that comprises major historical periods from ancient to contemporary, as well as many geographical areas and different cultures.

The Architecture & Environment emphasis offers the student a unique way to study architecture in both its historic and contemporary circumstances. It promotes the analysis of conceptual, artistic and cultural ideas that determine architectural design; as well as the mastery of critiquing the manifold influences architecture has on the environment, including the aesthetic, cultural, social, and ecological. The emphasis focuses on architecture as a cultural force that gives concrete material form and appearance to public and private spaces, to the relationship between the man-made and the natural environment, as well as to the self-expression and self-perception of a given society in its environment.

The Architecture & Environment emphasis is structured around three core areas: architecture, urbanism, and cultural landscape. Three primary paths of inquiry are pursued: production of space; environmental aesthetics; as well as design, conservation, and preservation analysis. A distinct feature of the emphasis is the weight placed on interdisciplinary approaches, in which the student takes elective courses that touch significantly on the study of historic and contemporary architecture in its wider setting. Such courses are offered by the participating departments of Anthropology, Art, Classics, Environmental Studies, Film and Media studies, Geography, History, Religious Studies and Sociology. As the emphasis is a specialization within the art history major offered by the Department of Art History and Architecture, students receive a firm grounding in subject-specific knowledge, historical and theoretical methodologies, as well as visual and spatial analysis. Students will also be trained as competent participants wherever historic and contemporary architecture is debated.

The Architecture & Environment emphasis prepares students to pursue graduate studies in the History of Architecture, the History of Art, Public History, Historic Preservation, Environmental History, and Architecture. Employment opportunities will also be found in museums, galleries, public relations, journalism, and numerous other areas. For further information, including professional studies in architecture, please look at the listing for Careers in Architecture.


Museum Studies Emphasis

Museum Studies is an interdisciplinary academic field that explores the influential and multifaceted role that museums and related cultural institutions play in society. Examining the history, functions, and ideologies of museums and collections of different kinds, the Museum Studies Emphasis offers practical training for a variety of museum and related careers. The faculty of the History of Art & Architecture has exceptional depth and breadth of experience in this field as scholars and educators and in curating exhibitions.

Students who participate in the Undergraduate Major Emphasis in Museum Studies select from various lecture courses and seminars offered by our department. They can also take appropriate courses in other departments, such as Art, East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, Geography, History, and Religious Studies. Students also participate in internships designed to provide intensive “hands on” experience. Integrating a serious engagement with historical and theoretical questions with professional practice, our emphasis is unique and innovative among Museum Studies programs in educating students in a particularly thoughtful and well-grounded way.

While some students may begin working in museum professions upon receiving their B.A. degrees, the Museum Studies Emphasis also prepares students to apply to graduate programs in Art History, Architectural Conservation, Museum Studies, Art Business, Art Law, and Arts Management with the intention of having careers in museums, art galleries, historic preservation, public history, and auction houses.

For the requirements for a B.A. in the History of Art & Architecture with the Museum Studies Emphasis, consult with Savannah Sharp Parison, Program Advisor, or visit the UCSB General Catalog .