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B.A. in Art History

Many of the courses required for the degree have prerequisites. Consult course descriptions for details.

Art History Course Descriptions 

Art History
Type of CourseUnits
General education48
Major core requirements47
General electives25
Total units needed for graduation120


Note: Although the Art & Art History Department does not specify a unit requirement, reading comprehension of at least one foreign language is considered essential for students who plan to pursue master's or doctoral degrees in the field of art history. Such students are advised to develop competence in French, German, Italian and/or Spanish; however, the prospect of eventual specialization may make other languages advisable in particular instances. Art History majors are required to have achieved senior status before being admitted to the proseminar (490H)

Requirements for the Major

Foundation Courses / Freshman and Sophomore Years (15-19 units)

Art History (6-8 lower-division units)

  • Any two of : ArtH 210: Introduction to Art History, Ancient to Medieval 3 units, ArtH 211: Introduction to Art History, Renaissance to Modern 3 units, ArtH 270A: Survey of Islamic Art 3 units, ArtH 270 B: Survey of Asian Art 3 units
  • OR ArtH 160 A & B: Humanities Learning Community 8 units

Lower-Division Studio and Language Courses (a minimum of 9 lower division units required)

  • One Studio Art course to choose from Arts 101, Arts 102, or Arts 105  3 units
  • Two semesters of any language course   6-8 units

Core Courses / Junior and Senior Years (15 to 20 units)

Period Courses (students must complete requirements A,B and C):

A) One course at the upper-division level from three of the five categories listed below (three coures total):

  • Ancient
    • ArtH 420, ArtH 422, or ArH 424 (3-4)
  • Medieval
    • ArtH 430, or ArtH 432
  • Renaissance/Baroque
    • ArtH 440, ArtH 442, ArtH 444, or ArtH 450 (3-4)
  • 18th through 19th Centuries
    • ArtH 452, ArtH 454, or ArtH 460 (3-4)
  • History of Photography
    • ArtH 456 (3-4)

B) Modern/Contemporary (one upper-division course required):

  • ArtH 464, ArtH 465 or ArtH 466 (3-4)

C) Non-Western (one upper- or lower - division course required):

  • ArtH 270A, ArtH 270B, ArtH 470A, ArtH 470B. or ArtH 474 (3-4)

Recommended Electives for all Art History Majors (7 to 12 units)

In consultation with the advisor, the art history major will choose additional art history courses and/or upper-division courses from any of the following:

  • A, B and C above; and Gallery & Museum Methods (ArtH 494).
  • Special topic courses (ArtH 480).
  • One course can be in a related field outside the Art Department with approval of the faculty and the faculty and dept chair. Examples include but are not limited to:
    • ANTH 327 - Archaeology of North America (4)
    • CALS 220 - Latina/o Arts & Humanities (4)
    • HIST 400- The Roman Republic (4)
    • NAMS 205 - Introduction to Native American Arts (4)
    • NAMS 338- Native Americans and The Cinema (4)

Capstone Experience (4 to 6 units)

Senior status is requred for the following capstone experiences:

  • ArtH 490H Pro-Seminar on Art Historical Method (4 units, required). Students must complete two papers in upper-division courses before being admitted to the proseminar.
  • ArtH 492 Senior Honors Thesis (2 units, optional). With prior approval, students may write a scholarly paper overseen by two faculty members. 

Minimum total lower-division units: 15

Minimum total upper-division units: 32

Minimum total units in the major: 47

Course Rotation
Introductory Surveys (210 & 211)
(160 A&B, 270 A&B)
All semesters
A in Fall, B in Spring
Period Courses in Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Early Modern: (420, 422, 424, 430, 432, 440, 442, 444, 450, 454)At least one course per year from each period
Modern: Two courses (464, 465, 466)All semesters
Non-Western: One course (470A&B, 474, 476)Every year, usually every semester
Gallery and Museum Methods (494)Fall semesters
Pro-Seminar in Methods (490H)Fall semesters
Senior ThesisAll semesters


Note: Additional period courses and special topic courses will be offered each academic year to enable students to enrich their areas of interest and specialization.

Art History Students in Action