Major Study Plan

Create Your Own Study Plan in History of Art & Architecture

The Undergraduate Major in the History of Art & Architecture is designed:

  1. To be as FLEXIBLE as possible: to provide you with an understanding of the world’s major artistic and architectural traditions across a wide range of media, cultures and time periods,

  2. To provide an INDEPTH EXPLORATION of the particular tradition(s) that interest you the most.

Students in the Major will take the following kinds of courses:

  1. Lower-division Courses - 5 courses (20 units)
    Intended to offer a comprehensive survey of artistic achievements in a major tradition or media, and to encourage the development of basic analytic skills.
  2. Upper-division Courses - 9 courses (36 units)
    • Advanced Survey Courses
      Often in lecture format, these courses examine particular periods, cultures, media or themes in greater depth, and provide a foundation for specialization in those subjects.
    • Undergraduate Seminars (ARTHI 186 and 187 -series)
      These research-oriented, 4-unit courses explore specific topics through advanced reading and discussion. They are intended to develop advanced skills in analysis, research, and writing, and usually culminate in a research paper. Majors are required to take at least one ARTHI 186 or 187 course).
    • Independent Study (ARTHI 198/9)
      Allows you to work on a one-to-one basis with a  professor to develop a research project of special interest to you.
    • Internship (ARTHI 192 -series)
      Opportunity to get academic credit while gaining professional experience in museums, galleries, studios, and other approved arts organizations.

Plan your Studies

In order to get the most out of our program, you should follow a course of study that provides you with a broad and solid foundation in the History of Art & Architecture while developing your focus on specialized interests. A broad grounding in the discipline, as well as advanced studies in a particular area of interest, together provide the training needed for your future work or studies. 

A good plan starts with lower division courses in History of Art & Architecture. These courses survey achievements in major art and architecture traditions, media, period, or geographical area, or by topics such as globalization or environment. All our lower division courses train students in fundamental analytical skills, which are needed to successfully participate in upper division courses.

You should select your upper division courses in order to pursue more specialized areas of interest. Look for courses that relate to each other thematically, or by period, media or other criteria.  Besides building up your areas of specialization, continue to expand your overview of History of Art & Architecture by taking courses in new areas.

Select undergraduate research seminars and a possible honors thesis topic with a strong focus on your major specialized interests. That will help to keep you motivated to spend the necessary time on these endeavors.   

Internships can supplement your course of studies. They allow you to either familiarize yourself with a particular field of work, or to further develop your specialized interests and skills.

To put your study plan together, look at the course catalog and make a list of courses that might interest you. Not all courses are always offered every year, so check to see what is on offer each year and plan accordingly. Consult with the Undergraduate Advisor, link opens in the default email client, about course offerings  in any given year and the larger goals of your study plan. The Faculty Undergraduate Advisor can also help you plan a productive plan of study. Regularly review your study plan with the Undergraduate Advisor, link opens in the default email client, or the Faculty Undergraduate Advisor at least once a year.

If you are already set on a career working in museums and galleries, or in architecture, then consider the Museum Studies Emphasis or the Architecture & Environment Emphasis offered by the department.

Honors Major

If you are considering a career in the History of Art & Architecture, either as a museum professional or as an academic teaching and researching in a university, you will need to pursue an advanced degree (M.A. or Ph.D.). Good graduate programs, especially with financial support, are highly competitive and require careful undergraduate preparation. Writing skills, foreign languages and advanced research experience are essential. You are urged to speak with your professors and make an appointment with the Faculty Undergraduate Advisor at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss career options and your course of study.

In particular, we strongly advise you to enroll in our Department Honors Program (and note, it is not the same as the College of Letters and Science Honors Program Link opens in a new window). For more information, consult the History of Art & Architecture Honors Program requirements sheet (see Undergraduate Student Forms).