BA in History of Art & Architecture

The BA in History of Art & Architecture introduces students to monuments and works of art worldwide. Majors work closely with faculty to gain visual and interpretative skills as well as an understanding of technique, materials, and the context in which works of art and architecture are made and viewed. History of Art & Architecture courses emphasize the development of oral and written argument on subjects that cover a wide range of cultures and periods. The opportunity to complete the major with honors is available. The major encourages study abroad through many programs. Students take advantage of local Boston museums for assignments and internships.

Majors are encouraged to contextualize works of art and architecture by taking courses in related fields, notably archaeology, classics, philosophy, history, religion, and literature, sometimes by pursuing a second major or a minor. Each student works closely and regularly with their chosen advisor in developing a coherent and meaningful program of study suited to their needs and interests. Upon graduation, History of Art & Architecture majors work in museums, galleries, auction houses, architectural firms, municipal and state cultural programs, educational institutions, preservation, and publishing. Many students go on to do graduate work.

All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in several ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in History of Art & Architecture will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic and Historical Interpretation, Diversity, Civic Engagement and Global Citizenship, Communication, and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.


Students must earn a minimum grade of C in all AH courses taken toward the major or minor.

Learning Outcomes

  • Acquire geographically and temporally broad knowledge of the history of art and architecture.
  • Acquire familiarity with different methodologies in the history of art, architecture, and material culture.
  • Develop visual and textual analytic skills.
  • Learn oral communication of art historical arguments.
  • Learn to produce cogent written arguments supported by visual and textual research.

Required Courses

A total of 11 courses is required for the major, five of which must be at the 300 level or higher. All required courses are 4 credit hours.

  • CAS AH 111 Pyramids to Cathedrals: An Introduction to Ancient and Medieval Art
  • CAS AH 112 Introduction to Art in Europe and the United States from the Renaissance to Post-Modernism
  • CAS AH 113 Arts and Monuments of Asia
  • CAS AH 114 Kongo to Cuba: Art, Exchange, and Self-Determination in Africa and Latin America
  • One seminar at the CAS AH 400 or 500 level
  • At least three courses covering different areas of study chosen from the following five groups: Africa, Asia, Europe/US, the Islamic World, Latin America
  • At least two courses covering different chronological periods chosen from the following three groups: Pre-1300, 1300–1750, 1750–Present
  • One additional AH course at any level

Please note that the Advanced Placement test does not replace any of the requirements for the major.

Honors in History of Art & Architecture

Graduation with honors in History of Art & Architecture requires at least 8 credits of specially designated honors coursework and an average grade of A– in History of Art & Architecture courses. Honors students take a graduate-level seminar (500 level or above) by the end of the first semester of their senior year, followed by a directed study with the professor in whose field they would work. This course will result in an honors project on an original research topic written according to scholarly standards of presentation. The honors project 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.

See the History of Art & Architecture website for guidelines.