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Art History


Requirements for the Major

The department offers both a major in the History of Art and a major in Art History with a concentration in the Visual Arts. In each case the student chooses a faculty adviser who assists her in planning a program incorporating personal interests while meeting departmental requirements.

A minimum of 12 Art History courses is required for the major, including:

  • AHIS BC 1001 and 1002 Introduction to Art History. This two-course sequence is required.
  • AHIS BC 3970 Methods and Theories of Art History. To be taken during the junior or senior year.
  • AHIS BC 3959x and/or 3960y Senior Research Seminar. Students write their senior thesis in conjunction with the Senior Research Seminar. Students will develop, research, and write either a 1 semester or 2 semester thesis project in consultation with an individual faculty member in Art History. They will also attend and participate in group seminars convened during the academic year in which all students will present their work. Students who plan to study abroad during their senior year and those who expect to graduate early must begin the senior research seminar sequence in the second semester of the junior year.

Seven elective courses, with the following requirements:

  • Two of these courses must be seminars. None of the seminars listed above may count toward this requirement.
  • At least one Western and one Non-Western art history course. BC 1001 and 1002 may not count toward this requirement.
  • Four of these must cover a broad range of disciplinary areas. Students concentrating on Western art must have at least one course each in four of the following five periods: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern. Students concentrating on non-Western art must work out a similarly comprehensive course of study in consultation with their advisers. Lecture classes or seminars can be used to fulfill this requirement. BC 1001 and 1002 or any other broad survey cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.  

Courses in film are accepted toward the major requirements; studio courses are not.

Recommended: One or two studio courses should be taken by Art History students.

Students who plan to undertake graduate work should acquire a reading knowledge of at least two foreign languages in which the major contributions to the history of art have been made. Most graduate schools require a reading knowledge of French, German, or Italian. The department strongly recommends a student's taking one of these languages while at Barnard.

Requirements for the major in Art History with concentration in the Visual Arts:

A minimum of 12 courses is required for the major in Art History with concentration in the Visual Arts:

Six Art History courses, including:

  • BC 1001 and 1002 Introduction to the History of Art
  • One course in 19th- or 20th-century art
  • One seminar in art history
  • Five studio courses including ARCH BC 3530 Advanced Studio
  • and ARCH BC 3031 Imagery and Form in the Arts

Art History Senior Thesis Option for Visual Arts Concentrators:

Art History Majors concentrating in Visual Arts may elect to substitute the Senior Thesis for the Senior Project. To do this they must:

  • Notify their adviser of their intention to do so by the end of their junior year
  • Take both Methods and Theories of Art History (BC 3970) and the Senior Research Seminar (BC 3959 and 3960)

Requirements for the major in the History and Theory of Architecture:

See Architecture Program offerings.

Requirements for the Minor

The minor in Art History consists of five lecture courses, including BC 1001, BC 1002, and three courses in the following areas, of which one must be non-European: European and American: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Modern Non-European: Chinese, Japanese, Indian, African, Mesoamerican, and Native American.