College of Letters & Science
Professors Buenger, Cahill, Dale (chair), Drewal, Geiger, Hutchison, Menocal, Murray, Phillips; Associate Professors Andrzejewski, Casid, Marshall, Martin; Assistant Professor Mithlo, Kroiz; Adjunct Assistant Professor Lasser; Adjunct Lecturers Fuller, Panczenko, Vajracharya; Affiliate Associate Professors Chopra, Aylward, Kern; Affiliate Assistant Professor McClure.
Undergraduate advising in the major: Contact the department
The art history program offers a wide range of courses in the art of various periods and cultures. These serve majors in art history and almost all count toward the humanities requirements for the College of Letters & Science. Art history explores painting, sculpture, architecture, and other elements of visual and material culture, but is interdisciplinary by nature. It relates to the study of anthropology, history, history of science, literature, philosophy, religion, and language. To complement their study of art history, students are encouraged to elect courses in all these fields beyond the general L&S requirements. Art history students would also benefit from courses in studio art. Students unfamiliar with art history usually elect introductory courses. Art History 201, 202, 203, 206, 241, and 242 explore the principal developments in architecture, sculpture, painting, printmaking, and photography. Courses offered in the 300–699 group closely examine areas of art introduced and broadly treated in the survey courses.
Students considering art history as a major should come to the department for advising as early as possible in their undergraduate careers.
Students intending further study in graduate school toward the M.A. and Ph.D. (required for both academic and museum positions) should take programs that are rich in the humanities and in other areas related to their main fields of interest. They should also be aware that the advanced study of art history requires extensive language preparation, at least some of which should be completed as an undergraduate. The most important languages are: for ancient—Latin, Greek, and German; for western medieval and Renaissance—Latin, French, German, and Italian; for modern western—German and French; for African—French or Portuguese and appropriate African languages; and for East Asian—Chinese and Japanese (classical and modern).
An art history major with a good undergraduate record can move on to a number of professional and graduate opportunities both inside and outside the art world. A B.A. in art history may lead to employment in historic preservation, art-related publishing, television, film, or computer software production.
- Completion of four units in one language OR completion of three units in one language and completion of two units in any other language.
- 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, including:
- Two to three courses at the 100 or 200 level, to include 201 and 202, all of which should be completed by the junior year at the latest: 115, 201, 202, 203, 206, 236, 241, 242.
- Three to five courses at the 300 level.
- Two courses at the 400 level.
- One course (proseminar) at the 500 level.
- At least one course in each of the four areas:
Ancient/Medieval: 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 310, 311, 313, 318, 319, 321, 335, 405, 415
Renaissance/Northern/Baroque: 320, 322, 323, 324, 325, 327, 330, 331, 332, 333, 336, 341, 349, 420, 425
18th–20th Centuries: 329, 337, 342, 345, 346, 348, 350, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358, 363, 364, 365, 367, 368, 369, 406, 407, 408, 450, 451, 452, 453, 454, 457, 460, 461, 462, 467, 468
African/Asian: 203, 241, 307, 308, 338, 362, 370, 371, 372, 375, 377, 378, 379, 411, 412, 423, 443, 472, 473, 474, 477, 478, 479
Proseminars generally do not fulfill distribution requirements.
Only two of the introductory surveys fulfill distribution requirements; 203 counts as a course in Asian and 241 counts as a course in African.
Courses identified as "Art Hist 600" Special Topics courses being offered for the first or only time may also satisfy area distribution requirements.
- College of Letters & Science B.A. language requirement fulfilled in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or another appropriate 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).
- One introductory course in western art: 201, 202.
- 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.
Students who wish to continue 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 and 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 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 of exceptional promise may be permitted to enroll in a graduate seminar. Students should check with the department honors advisor at least once a year to make sure that requirements have not been modified, as well as to seek guidance about planning the best possible Honors in the Major curriculum that reflects their special interests.
The department strongly encourages students considering a major in art history to include study in another country within their program. Students gain firsthand experience of another culture and language and have the opportunity to study major artistic monuments. Credit for appropriate course work can be applied toward the major after arrangements have been made with the pertinent offices: for University of Wisconsin Study Programs, through the Office of International Academic Programs (261 Bascom Hall); for all other programs, through the Office of Admissions (Armory & Gymnasium, 716 Langdon Street). Courses with no near equivalent in the department's program may be credited toward each of the four required areas through the assigned Study Abroad numbers: 335, 336, 337, 338, 435, 436, 437, 438.
The department offers the M.A. and Ph.D. in art history.