Department of History of Art & Architecture

The Department of History of Art & Architecture offers lecture and seminar courses that cover the history of art in different time periods and from different critical perspectives. Required coursework for undergraduate majors and minors allows for a broad exposure to the field, but also gives students some flexibility to allow for a more focused study of a particular time period or region. Graduates of the department pursue careers not only in the traditional areas of research and teaching, but also in fields as diverse as library and museum work, government service, publishing, and business.

Historians of art and architecture are concerned with the many-faceted historical implications (personal, social, political, and aesthetic) of imagery and objects (buildings, paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, films, and decorative arts). They study the makers, critics, patrons, and users of these objects and images. These investigations reveal changing views of humanity and the world and, by extension, develop the student’s own critical perspective. The history of art & architecture faculty offers diverse approaches to the arts of the Western world, Africa, Asia, and the ancient Americas, including opportunities to focus on the history of architecture. Courses are also taught by curators and other professionals from the Museum of Fine Arts and other art institutions in the area. Boston’s excellent museum and gallery collections and its range of more than 300 years of architecture bring students into intimate and productive association with major examples of visual culture throughout history. The undergraduate History of Art & Architecture Association sponsors trips to museums and galleries, and organizes film and lecture series. The undergraduate Architecture Society sponsors walking tours and visits to architectural offices. Both organizations enrich the department’s social and intellectual life.

The history of art & architecture major provides excellent interdisciplinary preparation for graduate work in the humanities or social sciences and complements studies in the natural sciences. Graduates may work in museums, galleries, municipal and state cultural programs, educational institutions, publishing, and architectural and planning firms. Many go on to graduate studies in a variety of fields.

The separate architectural studies major, offered in collaboration with the College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts, emphasizes skills and knowledge that are fundamental to thinking and writing about buildings and spaces, as well as to careers and graduate study in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning.

Students with an interest in study abroad should look at the programs offered through BU’s Study Abroad and Internship Programs, in particular study in England, France, Ireland, Italy, and Spain.