Undergraduate Programs

Undergraduate Study in History of Art & Architecture

The Department of History of Art & Architecture offers lecture and seminar courses to undergraduates that cover the history of art in different time periods and from different critical perspectives. Required coursework for 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.

Art historians 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 offer diverse approaches to the arts of the Western world, Africa, Asia, Islam,  and the ancient Americas. 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 concentration 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.

Concentration in History of Art & Architecture

Students majoring in History of Art & Architecture choose between a general track and a track with primary focus on the history of architecture. The general track requires a two-semester survey course in western art history (CAS AH 111/112), one-semester surveys in two of four non-western areas (African, Ancient America, Asian, and Islamic), and upper-level courses (including at least one seminar) chosen from a variety of art historical periods and areas. Requirements for the architectural history track of this major are similar, but students take AH 201 and AH 205 instead of AH 111/112 and focus their upper-level coursework on architectural history.

Whichever of the two tracks students choose, majors in History of Art & Architecture are encouraged to take courses in related areas such as archaeology, classics, philosophy, history, and literature. Opportunities exist for dual majors or major/minor combinations and are encouraged for those who wish to pursue an interdisciplinary liberal arts education. Each student works closely and regularly with his or her advisor in developing a coherent and meaningful program of study suited to his or her needs and interests. Upon graduation, art and architectural history majors may work in museums, galleries, architectural firms, municipal and state cultural programs, educational institutions, and the publishing industry. Many students go on to do graduate work in a variety of fields, and professional schools are increasingly interested in students with a background in the humanities.

Click here for a .pdf
containing the current requirements for a concentration in the History of Art & Architecture.
Click here for a .pdf containing the current requirements for a concentration in Architectural History.

Concentration in Architectural Studies

The new major in architectural studies 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.

In addition to AH 201, AH 205, AH 398, and upper-level electives in architectural history and related disciplines, students majoring in architectural studies take one drawing course (CFA AR 193 or 131 or 132) and a second CFA visual arts course, a course in architectural technology and materials (AH 580), one semester of calculus (MA 121 or 123), and one semester of physics (PY 105 or 211).

Click here for a .pdf
containing the current requirements for a concentration in Architectural Studies.

Grades
A grade of C is the minimum acceptable for a concentrator in a departmental course. For information about concentrations, see the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Honors in History of Art & Architecture

The Honors Program in History of Art & Architecture offers exceptional concentrators the opportunity to further enrich their program of study. Graduation with honors in History of Art and Architecture requires at least 8 credits of specially designated honors coursework. Honors students take a graduate level seminar by the end of the first semester of their Senior year, followed by a Directed Study with the Professor in whose field he/she would work. This course will result in an honors thesis on an original research topic written according to scholarly standards of presentation. The thesis will be defended in an oral examination before a faculty committee. All other requirements of the major remain the same, including the 400 or 500 level seminar requirement. Hence, honors students take at least two seminars.. More information can be found within this .pdf document, and by contacting the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Minor Concentration in History of Art & Architecture

All students choosing a minor concentration are encouraged to take courses in both Western and non-Western Art, and in architecture as well as painting and sculpture, but the options listed below allow students to concentrate in one of three major areas as follows:

Option 1 (Western Art):
One course chosen from CAS AH 111, 112, 210; plus four other History of Art & Architecture courses, including at least two Western Art classes and at least two courses at the 300-level or higher.

Option 2 (Non-Western Art):
One course chosen from CAS AH 215, 220, 222, 225; plus four other History of Art & Architeture courses, including at least two non-Western Art classes and at least two courses at the 300-level or higher.

Option 3 (Architectural History):
AH 205; plus four other History of Art & Architecture courses, including at least two architectural history classes and at least two courses at the 300-level or higher.
Students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement test in Art History may select any of these options, and to complete the five-course requirement must take three courses in Western Art, non-Western Art , or Architectural History, plus any two other History of Art & Architecture courses. At least two of the five courses must be at the 300-level or higher.

Click here for a .pdf
containing the current requirements for a minor concentration in the History of Art & Architecture.

Grades
Students must earn a minimum grade of C in all courses taken toward the minor concentration. For information about minor concentrations, see the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

London and Paris Internship Programs in the Arts

History of Art & Architecture concentrators, minor concentrators, and others interested in careers in art history should consider the London and Paris Internship Programs in Art and Architecture sponsored by Boston University. Courses in British and French arts prepare students for professional experience in architectural firms, galleries and museums, auction houses, preservation societies, and other cultural institutions. For further information, consult the general description of the London and Paris Internship Programs in this website.

Student Organizations

The Undergraduate History of Art & Architecture Association is an organization for History of Art & Architecture concentrators and other students interested in the study of art history. Activities include discussions, lectures, and museum trips. Members also assist at events designed for prospective majors.

Email: aha@bu.edu