Major in Art History

The Art History major requires ten courses, including one course in studio art. 

The major requires five foundational surveys (ARTH 1000 and 2000) that focus on a range of historical periods, geographies, and cultural practices. This distribution requirement is meant to ensure that all majors have a reasonable breadth of experience, and students should elect courses that blend a range of temporal and regional foci.

Later, all majors take four advanced courses, including at least two 4000-level Art History seminars. No courses taken abroad or outside of the department may count for this latter requirement. Students may fill the two other advanced-level requirements with 3000-level courses or, with permission from the Director of Undergraduate Studies, directed learning through internship or thesis projects, or pre-approved graduate/Museum Studies work.

No more than three courses taken outside the Department of Art and Art History (for example cross-listed courses, study abroad courses, and transferred credits) may count toward the major in Art History.

Checklist: Required Courses for the Major

(10 courses, 30 hours)

A major in Art History consists of ten courses; nine in Art History, and one studio course. An AP score of 4 or 5 counts for one survey course.

  • Five survey courses (1000 and 2000-level) from at least three of the following time periods: Ancient; Late Antiquity/Medieval; Renaissance/Baroque; and Modern/Contemporary. Two of these courses must focus on non-European/U.S. material, including African, Asian, Indigenous, Latin-American, and some transregional histories.
  • Four Advanced (3000 and 4000 level) courses. At least two courses must be art history research seminars at the 4000 level. The two other requirements may be met with a combination of 3000-level courses, the Museum Internship (ARTH 4950), Senior Thesis (ARTH 4998), or an approved AMUS or cross-listed seminar with prior permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Courses at this level fulfill the Integrated Writing (IW) requirement. 
  • One Studio Art course

Note that many courses cover a range of time periods, so students may elect one of the included periods, in consultation with their adviser.

While not an exhaustive list, some examples of Ancient courses are: ARTH 2110 (Arts of China); ARTH 1010 (Greek Art/Archaeology). Late Antiquity/Medieval: ARTH 2311 (Global Medieval); ARTH 2113 (Women in the Arts). Renaissance/Baroque: ARTH 2140 (History of Prints); ARTH 2660 (U.S. to 1870). Modern/Contemporary: ARTH 1760 (GU Architecture and History); ARTH 2180 (History of Photography).

The two non-U.S./European requirements may be met (and will necessarily overlap) with any combination of temporal requirements. Examples include: ARTH 1120 (Buddhist Art); ARTH 2150 (Latin America I); ARTH 2640 (Global Early Modern); ARTH 2910 (Global Contemporary).

Senior Thesis for Majors: Enrollment in ARTH 4998: Senior Thesis may be approved for interested seniors who have already taken a seminar and written a substantial research paper for a professor who agrees that it would be a suitable basis for development into a thesis. Students should consult with the professor well before preregistration for the fall semester of senior year in order to prepare a proposal and obtain the approval of the professor and the department chair. The student typically pursues substantial research and preliminary writing, in periodic consultation with the advisor, during fall semester of the senior year. The student registers for ARTH 4998 in the final (typically spring) semester, which is dedicated to more intensive writing, meetings with the advisor, and completion of the thesis. Students wishing to submit their thesis for the Department’s annual Misty Dailey Award for a Research Paper in Art History need to complete the thesis by early April in order to meet the deadline for submissions. See guidelines here: Senior Thesis Guidelines

Minor in Art History

A minor in Art History consists of six courses in that discipline. It is possible to major in Art and minor in Art History, or vice versa. Minors who are not majors in either Art or Art History may take one course in the other discipline for credit toward the minor, with approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. For Art History minors, at least four courses must be taken within the department.

Most Art History minors take the two Introduction to Art History courses (ARTH 1000 or 2000) and three or more courses beyond the introductory level. At least one of these should be on art mainly before 1600 and one on art mainly after 1600, so that the Art History minor represents a reasonable range of historical periods and styles. We aim for students to gain broad knowledge in art history, and encourage students to construct a minor that explores beyond a limited portion of art history. With permission from the Director of Undergraduate Studies, one of the elective courses may be a studio art course taught within the Department of Art and Art History.

No more than two courses taken outside the Department of Art and Art History (for example cross-listed courses, study abroad courses, and transferred credits) may count toward the minor in Art History.

Checklist: Required Courses for the Minor

(6 courses)

A minor in Art History consists of six courses in that discipline, within the following guidelines:

  • At least three courses at the distribution level (1000-2000).
  • One each in courses that focus primarily on the period before 1600 CE and one after 1600 CE, regardless of the level.
  • It is possible to major in Art and minor in Art History or vice versa. Minors who are not majors in either Art or Art History may take one course at Georgetown in the other discipline for credit toward the minor.
  • One course may be taken abroad with prior approval.
  • Internships do not apply to the minor, though some courses taught in non-ARTH departments may, with approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Advising for Majors and Minors

Students who consider majoring or minoring in Art History should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to discuss requirements, plan their program, and determine a faculty advisor. Art History majors are assigned a faculty advisor in the department, and the Director of Undergraduate Studies advises Art History minors. Any member of the core faculty (Professors Acres, Bourland, Prelinger, and Wang) will be happy to work with you, although it is helpful to find an advisor with whom you are already studying. You may change advisors if your interests change. Please meet with your advisor at least once a semester, ideally during the preregistration period, to discuss your progress in the major or minor and internship and career planning. Contact information for the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Art History professors may be found under the “People” tab of the main menu on the Department of Art and Art History website.

Accelerated Degree for Art & Museum Studies MA Program

The Accelerated MA Degree in Art and Museum Studies allows undergraduate students in the Georgetown University College of Arts & Sciences to apply for the equivalent of early admission into Georgetown’s Art and Museum Studies MA program, and to complete some courses for the degree during their senior year.

Third-year undergraduate students who have completed at least six credits of coursework in art history would apply for the accelerated degree in their junior year, with the approval of their advisor. The applications would be evaluated by the admissions committee, and the standards for admission would be the same as those for successful outside candidates. In order to apply, the student and advisor must verify that the requirements for the BA would be fulfilled by the spring of the senior year. If accepted, the student could enroll in the fall for up to two of the designated ARTH or AMUS courses above the 350 level to be double-counted as six credits both for the BA and toward the MA degree.

The student could take additional graduate-level work (if approved by professor) to count toward her or his undergraduate record, but this credit would not also count toward the MA. If the student has already met their requirement of 120 credits, along with all of the Core, and the requirements of major in order for a student to qualify for graduation, they could be approved to take one or more graduate courses which would only count toward the graduate record.

To see if this program is right for you, please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Art History Professor Ian Bourland as well as the Program Director for Art and Museum Studies, Professor Lisa Strong.

Sample Program:

Year 4 Fall (3 credits toward AB/MA) Spring (3 credits toward AB/MA; optional 6 credits toward MA)

  • Museum Studies Foundations (AB/MA)* Museum Studies or Art History (AB/MA) 
  • Undergraduate elective (AB) Undergrad Elective (AB) 
  • Undergraduate elective (AB) Undergrad Elective (AB) 
  • Undergrad elective (AB) Art History Seminar (MA only)** 
  • Undergrad elective (AB) Second Masters Elective (MA only) ** 

Year 5 Fall (0 or 6 credits toward MA) Spring (12 credits toward MA) 

  • Museums Studies Sotheby’s Institute courses (12 cr.) or  
  • Museum Studies Internship Museum Studies courses (12 cr.) 

Summer (6 credits) 

  • Capstone Internship 

* course is double-counted to both degrees. ** courses could count towards the MA degree only, if the student has already completed 120 credits and 38  courses of undergraduate work.

AP Credit for Majors and Minors

For a score of 4 or 5, students will receive three credits (one course) and be excused from taking one distribution course. Students with AP credit in Art History are to take an additional nine courses to complete the major, or an additional five courses to complete the minor. This credit does not apply to the non-Europe/U.S. requirements for distribution courses. Note that AP credit in Art History will not fulfill the core Humanities: Art, Literature and Culture (HALC) requirement.