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College of Letters & Science

Art History

Requirements for the Major
Distribution Requirements
Requirements for the Asian Option
Honors in the Major
Study Abroad
Courses

232 Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, 800 University Avenue, Madison, WI 53706; 608-263-2340; arthistory@ls.wisc.edu; www.wisc.edu/arth

Professors Andrzejewski, Buenger, Cahill, Casid, Dale, Drewal, Geiger, Marshall, Martin, Phillips (Chair); Associate Professors Chopra, McClure; Assistant Professors Brisman, Li, Pruitt; Adjunct Lecturers Fuller, Panczenko; Affiliate Professor Aylward; Affiliate Associate Professor Kern; Affiliate UW–Milwaukee Professor Krause; Affiliate UW–Milwaukee Associate Professors Sen, Sobti

Undergraduate advising in the major: Teddy Kaul, academic advisor, ejkaul@wisc.edu; or contact the department, arthistory@ls.wisc.edu

Through innovative research, teaching, and outreach activities, the Department of Art History takes a leading role in promoting visual literacy, emphasizing careful attention to continuities and differences across human history and world cultures. Examining expressive forms, from artifacts to new media, the department explores the ways in which art and visual and material culture are fully integrated into larger cultural histories. A specialized focus on images, objects, and the built environment promotes critical and creative approaches to analysis, problem-solving, writing and visual communication in a variety of media. Interdisciplinary collaborations encourage aesthetic, historical, economic, and ethical questions, in order to produce new knowledge, sophisticated readers, engaged writers, critical viewers, independent thinkers, and confident cultural citizens who are well prepared to thrive in global society.

Students considering art history as a major should come to the department for advising as early as possible in their undergraduate careers. Upon declaration, students are strongly encouraged to meet regularly with the undergraduate program advisor to ensure timely progress toward completion of the degree. Annual meetings with the director of undergraduate studies are also highly encouraged.

Requirements for the Major

  • Satisfaction of the language requirement for the B.A. in art history is the equivalent of the College of Letters & Science B.A. language requirement (four units in one language OR completion of three units in one language and completion of two units in any other language). Advanced study of art history requires extensive language preparation; students should consult their advisor or professor for more details.
  • All students must fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major completed in residence. Art history courses numbered 300 and above count toward this requirement.
  • At least nine courses in art history distributed across the curriculum as indicated below:
    • Two courses at the 200-level from among: 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 208, 227, 241, or 264, all of which should be completed by the junior year at the latest.
    • Three to five courses at the 300-level (see distribution requirements below)
    • Two courses at the 400-level (see distribution requirements below)
    • One 500-level proseminar (a small capstone course on a specialized topic)

Distribution Requirements

Important Notes:

  • Art history AP credits with a score of 4 or higher, and 100-level art history courses count only toward the nine course minimum.
  • Courses at the 200-level count only toward the nine course minimum and 200-level requirements for the major (206, 236 and 242 are exceptions).
  • Most courses at the 300- and 400-level will satisfy Chronological and Geographic distribution requirements as well as level requirements. Some will also satisfy Theory and Methods distribution.
  • Proseminars generally do not satisfy distribution requirements.
  • Special topics (including Art History 600 Special Topics) and study-abroad courses may satisfy one or more distribution requirements. The following courses may satisfy distribution requirements even if they are not shown in categories A–C below: 335, 336, 337, 338, 411, 412, 430, 431, 435, 436, 437, 438, 449, 479, 600. In case of questions about how a course might count, students should consult their art history advisor.

A. Chronological

At least one course at the 300-level or above, excluding proseminars (500-level), in each of following four Chronological areas. Underlined courses have the potential to fulfill more than one Chronological distribution requirement. Students may choose which area they want a given course to satisfy, but a course cannot satisfy more than one.

  1. Ancient to Medieval: 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 307, 310, 311, 313, 318, 319, 321, 335, 362, 370, 371, 372, 377, 378, 379, 390, 405, 413, 415, 423, 435, 440, 472, 475, 477, 478
  2. Early Modern (Circa 1400–Circa 1800): 305, 308, 320, 322, 323, 324, 327, 328, 330, 331, 332, 333, 334, 336, 341, 345, 348, 360, 362, 363, 364, 370, 371, 372, 375, 378, 379, 420, 423, 425, 436, 443, 472, 475, 477
  3. Modern (Circa 1800–Circa 1945): 308, 329, 334, 337, 342, 346, 349, 350, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 357, 358, 362, 363, 364, 365, 367, 368, 369, 370, 371, 372, 379, 406, 407, 408, 428, 437, 443, 450, 451, 452, 453, 454, 457, 460, 461, 462, 463, 467, 468, 475
  4. Contemporary (Post 1945): 346, 353, 354, 355, 359, 365, 379, 432, 433, 440, 469

 B. Geographic

Courses must be taken in three of the five areas listed below. As with the Chronological distribution requirements, some courses (underlined) may fulfill more than one area; in such cases students may choose which requirement a given course will satisfy, but it cannot satisfy more than one.

  1. Cross-Cultural/Diaspora: 242, 305, 354, 379, 413, 440, AH/AAS 643
  2. Africa/Middle East: 305, 338, 377, 378, 412, 413, 440, 479
  3. Asia: 307, 308, 338, 362, 370, 371, 372, 375, 379, 411, 423, 428, 443, 472, 475, 477, 478
  4. Europe: 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 310, 311, 313, 318, 319, 320, 321, 320, 322, 323, 324, 327, 329, 330, 331, 332, 333, 334, 341, 342, 345, 349, 346, 348, 350, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358, 360, 405, 407, 408, 415,420, 425, 450, 451, 452, 453, 454, 460, 461, 462
  5. The Americas: 328, 329, 349, 355, 359, 363, 364, 365, 367, 368, 369, 390, 406, 433, 457, 463, 467, 468

C. One course emphasizing Theory and Method:  354, 355, 430, 431, 449, 463, 464, 469, 601, 602, 603, 621

Requirements for the Asian Option

  • College of Letters & Science B.A. language requirement fulfilled in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean (for exception in another Asian language, see undergraduate advisors).
  • All students must fulfill the L&S requirement of 15 credits of upper-level work in the major taken in residence. Art history courses numbered 300 and above count toward this requirement.
  • Three courses in Asian art covering at least two of the three subfields (China, Japan, India): 203, 307, 308, 362, 370, 371, 372, 375, 379, 411, 423, 428, 443, 472, 473, 474, 477, 478.
  • One proseminar in Asian art (Art History 575 or 576); if not available, consult with art history advisor for options.
  • Two additional courses in non-Asian art at any level (including 241 and 242).
  • Two courses in Asian studies (including East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Central Asian) other than art history or language courses.
  • Courses identified as "Art Hist 600" Special Topics courses being offered for the first or only time may also satisfy subfield distribution requirements.

Honors in the Major

Students who wish to continue on to graduate studies in art history or related fields, or who simply desire more advanced work in art history, are strongly encouraged to pursue Honors in the Major. Students should begin to plan honors work in art history with their honors advisor as early as possible in their careers. To earn honors in art history students must:

  • Have and maintain a 3.5 GPA in art history courses and an overall GPA of at least 3.3 in all courses taken at UW–Madison at the time of graduation.
  • Plan & complete a concentration in a specific area or period, earning 6 - 8 additional intermediate/advanced credits in art history or related departments (e.g., history, literature) beyond the usual major or Asian option.
  • Complete a 500-level proseminar during the junior year.
  • Write an honors thesis in the chosen area of concentration with two semesters (6 credits) of thesis credit.
  • Present an oral report on work in an undergraduate honors colloquium during the senior year.

Students should check with the departmental undergraduate advisor at least once a year to seek guidance about planning the best possible Honors in the Major curriculum that reflects their special interests.

Study Abroad

The department strongly encourages art history majors to participate in study abroad programs. Students gain firsthand experience of other cultures and languages and have the opportunity to study major artistic monuments. Credit for appropriate coursework can be applied toward the major after arrangements have been made with the study abroad program, or, in the case of non-UW study abroad programs, the Office of Admissions. For more information, see the Study Abroad website.