The Major


The major requires a minimum of 13 courses (39-41 credits) in the History of Art and Architecture, distributed as follows:

Two out of the five survey courses (all surveys are 4 credits):

  • 100 Ancient to Medieval
  • 110 Renaissance to Modern
  • 115 Visual Arts, Artists, and Cultures: An Introduction to Looking
  • 116 Art and Visual Culture of East Asia
  • 118 History of Architecture and the Built Environment

(Majors are strongly encouraged to take 100 and 110.)

At the upper level (200 and above), at least one course in each of the following three time periods: ancient/medieval; early modern through the nineteenth century; twentieth through the twenty-first century.*

At the upper level (200 and above), at least one course in each of the following four geographical areas: Africa and Middle East; Europe and the Mediterranean; Asia and the Pacific; Americas.*

*In case of overlaps (like Orientalism 1000-2000 CE) a course may count only once toward either a time period or geographical area distribution requirement. 

Three upper-level electives, all of which must be History of Art and Architecture courses. Where appropriate, students will be encouraged to enroll in related courses in other departments as well.

A maximum of four courses taken outside the Department may be counted toward the major.

All majors must take the Department writing course, ART-HIST 370, in the fall semester of their junior year.

All majors must take the Department Integrative Experience course, ART-HIST 415, in the spring semester of either their junior or senior year.

A cumulative minimum 2.0 GPA is required for all courses in the major. 

Majors are encouraged to select courses in a wide range of media, historical periods, and geographical areas. They are also urged to gain a reading knowledge of at least two foreign languages; knowledge of languages is essential for further study, for research, and for many careers in the field.

For the degree with Departmental Honors, a student must meet the requirements for the major, maintain a high GPA, complete two honors courses in the History of Art and Architecture, and successfully complete a thesis or a two-semester-long independent study project.

Special Programs

Students are encouraged to enrich the required program of courses with study abroad and internships in related fields. A combination of practical, hands-on experience and rigorous academic study has contributed to the notable success enjoyed by majors continuing to work and study in the field after graduation.

Study Abroad: Many majors study abroad, especially in their junior year, either individually or in exchange programs sponsored by the University. International Programs (413-545-2710; has information about study in various programs outside the United States for one semester, for the year, or during the summer. Among the countries in which students have studied are Argentina, China, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, and Turkey.

Internships: Dealing directly with works of art in museums or galleries, consulting special collections related to art history in libraries, or working in the field of historic preservation can be essential parts of an undergraduate education. Students in the department have recently interned at the Museum of Fine Arts and Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston; the Cloisters, Whitney Museum of American Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, and Guggenheim Museum in New York; MASS MoCA in North Adams, Historic Deerfield, as well as museums in cities as distant as Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Washington, and Los Angeles. History of Art and Architecture majors should contact faculty members in particular fields, the Undergraduate Program Director, and College of Humanities and Fine Arts Careers and Internships staff for information about internships.