History of Art Major and Minor (Bryn Mawr)

The curriculum in History of Art immerses students in the study of visual and material culture. Students learn to interpret through methodologies dedicated to the historical, the material, the critical, and the theoretical. Majors and minors are encouraged to supplement courses taken in the department with history of art courses offered at Haverford, Swarthmore, and the University of Pennsylvania. Majors are also encouraged to study abroad for a semester of their junior year.

Curriculum & Courses

  • Major Requirements

    The major requires ten units, approved by the major advisor. These courses should include one or two 100-level "critical approaches" seminars, which also fulfill the departmental writing intensive requirement; three or four 200-level lecture courses; three 300-level seminars; and senior conference I and II in the fall and spring semesters of the senior year.

    In the course of their departmental studies, students are strongly encouraged to take classes across geographical, temporal, and cultural subfields and to explore diverse media. Students must complete coursework in at least three of the following fields of study:

    • Ancient and Medieval
    • Renaissance and Baroque
    • Modern, Contemporary, and Film
    • Global/Non-Western.

    With the approval of the major advisor, a limited number of courses in fine arts may be counted toward the fulfillment of the distribution requirements. Likewise, a limited number of courses with significant curricular investment in visual and material culture may be counted toward the major requirements, including courses in ancient art offered by the Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology department, in the study of art institutions through the Museum Studies Program, or in architecture by the Growth and Structure of Cities department. Courses in art history taken abroad or at another institution in the United States may also be counted if approved by the major advisor. Generally, no more than two courses based outside of the department of History of Art may be counted toward the major requirements; the remainder of a student's courses in the major should be completed with members of the core faculty in History of Art.

    A senior thesis, based on independent research and using scholarly methods of historical and/or critical interpretation must be submitted at the end of the spring semester. Generally 25-40 pages in length, the senior thesis represents the culmination of the departmental experience.

    Requirements for Honors

    Seniors whose work is outstanding (with a 3.7 GPA in the major at the beginning of the second semester senior year) will be invited to undertake an honors thesis. At the end of the spring semester, two or three faculty members discuss the completed thesis with the honors candidate in a one-half hour oral examination.

  • Minor Requirements

    A minor in history of art requires six units: one or two 100-level courses and four or five courses at the 200 or 300 level. The student's minor program is decided in consultation with the department undergraduate advisor.

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