Major in Art History

We offer a variety of approaches for art history majors, ones structured around your individual interests and career plans. Our students construct their studies with the aid and direction of the department advisor and a faculty sponsor, following three areas of concentration:

  1. Studio theory and practice
  2. History and theories of art
  3. Visual and cultural studies

These are common areas that respond to the various ways student wish to explore art and visual culture. They provide guidelines that allow you to combine courses from different departments into an individualized major within the Department of Art and Art History.

Requirements for Art History Major

  • Any three 100-level introductory courses in the major. Suggested introductory-level courses include:
    • AHST 100: Introduction to Visual and Cultural Studies
    • AHST 101: Introduction to Art History
    • AHST 137: Introduction to Modern Architecture
    • AHST 103: Ways of Seeing (various topics)
  • Four 200/400-level program courses, one of which may be an independent study or internship
  • AHST 209: Writing on Art (sophomore/junior seminar)
  • AHST 398: Senior Seminar
  • One course in studio art

Honors in Art History

If you wish to be considered a candidate for an honors degree in art history/visual culture, you must meet the following requirements before applying:

  • Have a grade-point average of 3.5 within the major.
  • Have completed the introductory courses and at least three courses in the program, or have demonstrated proficiency in a number of related courses in the field.
  • Have completed a 300-level or higher art history/visual culture course or have otherwise demonstrated competence in the area of study of the proposed honors project.

To apply, you must submit an honors project proposal to the department, the subject of which has been mutually agreed upon (and signed) by the student and his/her chosen faculty advisor early in the junior year.

If accepted, the candidate must complete a minimum of twelve credit hours beyond the major requirements, with the following distribution:

  • Four credit hours in a 300-level seminar in art history.
  • Four credit hours in AHST 393: Senior Project (the honors course).
  • Four credit hours in a course given outside the art and art history department that is related to the honors project. This is intended to provide a broader and deeper understanding of the period or area of the honors project. This course is selected in consultation with your honors faculty advisor and normally will be a 200-level course taken in the spring of your junior year or fall of your senior year.
  • Complete a distinguished essay approximately thirty-five pages in length. This can be a seminar paper further researched and suitably expanded, or what you choose to work on during your AHST 393: Senior Project course. In addition to the student's project advisor, a second reader (selected together by the advisor and the student) will evaluate the essay.
  • Maintain a 3.5 grade-point average within the major.
  • Submit two complete copies of the essay, one of which will be preserved by the University.

Requirements for Graduation with Distinction

Grade point average is calculated only from the required major courses. Transfer grades and study abroad grades (unless given by the University of Rochester) are not computed. Levels of distinction are rated by a minimum GPA as follows:

  • With Distinction: 3.5
  • With High Distinction: 3.7
  • With Highest Distinction: 3.9


For more information contact the undergraduate advisor for art history, Christopher Heuer at