Concentration Requirements

The History of Art and Architecture concentration offers training in the historical interpretation and critical analysis of the visual arts and architecture. It develops the skills of visual discrimination and verbal expression fundamental to art historical analysis.

Encompassing material from the widest range of geographic and historical origins, art history is itself a multifaceted discipline embracing many different methods, perspectives and interests. Sometimes it deduces from works of art the time and place of their making, or the identity of their makers. Sometimes it examines how concepts, ideals, and sensibilities of people of the past are expressed in their art, and further, how that art influenced wider aspects of their culture.  Sometimes it explores within large-scale fabrications (buildings, towns, cities) the dynamic between human and natural worlds. These and other approaches are reflected in the teaching and scholarship of the History of Art and Architecture faculty.

Training in the critical analysis of art seeks to clarify the perception—and understanding—of how artworks relate to the techniques and materials used in their making, and to the environment in which they are seen. It also fosters the ability to make and explain judgments of quality and value. Instruction in critical analysis is aided by the history of art and architecture department’s partnership with one of the world’s greatest teaching museums, comprising the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Sackler Museums. This offers students a unique opportunity of first-hand study of original works of art in many media.

Concentration requirements insure that students are well versed in both the historical and critical facets of the field. Generally, course work offers coverage of the history of art, while a sequence of small-group tutorials develop critical skills.  For students with a special interest in architecture, the concentration offers courses on architectural history and urban planning, while also helping to advise in, and coordinate, relevant coursework undertaken beyond the department.  Courses in the History of Art and Architecture undergraduate curriculum are structured as a three-tier system, consisting of a sequence of entry-level and field-specific introductory courses, upper-level courses, and tutorials.

History of Art and Architecture HAA 11, and HUM 11A are general, conceptual introductions (to world art from pre-history to the present, history of later western art, and history of world architecture, respectively) each of which could serve as a point of entry into the courses and concentration of History of Art and Architecture, as would the new Gen Ed offering HUM 11a, “The Art of Looking”.

Tutorials are small-group seminars which discuss the methodology of the discipline or examine a specific research topic in the discipline. These are intended to provide increasing expertise in critical and analytical thinking, and serve as a basis for independent senior research projects. The senior thesis offers a student the opportunity to apply in greater depth one or more of the methods and aims developed in courses and tutorials, although, of course, theses often deal with subjects not included in class work.

The concentration in History of Art and Architecture can be pursued in conjunction with several other concentrations, most commonly Visual and Environmental Studies, English, Anthropology, Literature, area studies, or Romance Languages. Together with the Departments of the Classics, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and Anthropology, the Department of History of Art and Architecture initiates students in the study of archaeology.

Architecture Studies is a track within the History of Art and Architecture concentration, jointly administered by the History of Art and Architecture and the Graduate School of Design. The track has its own requirements, which are detailed below. Students wishing to pursue other specific interests may receive advising from appropriate faculty as arranged by the director of undergraduate studies.

Requirements for all concentrators, joint and full, provide exposure to a variety of areas within art history, as well as allow for the selection of a major field focus from among the following: African, Ancient (Egypt, Ancient Near East, Greece, Rome), Architecture, Baroque and Rococo, Byzantine, Chinese, Japanese, South Asian, Islamic, Latin American/Pre-Columbian, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary, and Renaissance.

A History of Art and Architecture concentration is an effective core to a liberal arts education, and not merely pre-professional training for future art historians. The history of art and architecture is virtually unique among academic disciplines in studying the products of societies in every part of the world over the entire span of history, from the Paleolithic cave paintings to the works of our closest contemporaries.

Students concerned with joint concentration, credit for work done elsewhere, and late transfer into History of Art and Architecture should consult with the director of undergraduate studies. All concentrators should arrange advising appointments with the director of undergraduate studies at the start of each term.

REQUIREMENTS

Basic Requirements: 12 half-courses

  1. Required courses:
    1. Three half-courses from offered introductory courses, numbered History of Art and Architecture 1–89. (Freshmen considering the concentration should normally take at least one of these in their freshman year, although this is not a prerequisite for the concentration.)
    2. Three half-courses in a major field chosen from the list in item 5c.
    3. Three half-courses in at least two different areas outside the major field to be chosen from courses with two or three-digit numeration or offerings in the Program in General Education.
    4. One half-course of History of Art and Architecture 97r (see item 2a).
    5. One half-course of History of Art and Architecture 98ar (see item 2b).
    6. One half-course of History of Art and Architecture 98br (see item 2b).
    7. Note:Of the twelve half-courses required, a distribution requirement must be fulfilled as follows:
      1. One half-course in items 1a, 1b, 1c, or 1d must be in Asian, Islamic, African, or Latin American/Pre-Columbian if the major field is in any area of European or North American art or architecture; or one half-course in European or North American art or architecture if the major field is Asian, Islamic, African, or Latin American/Pre-Columbian.
      2. Two half-courses in two different periods other than that of the major field.
        No more than five of the series of courses numbered History of Art and Architecture 10-89 may be taken for concentration credit, except with the approval of the director of undergraduate studies. The balance should be tutorials and upper-level courses.
  2. Tutorials:
    1. Sophomore year: History of Art and Architecture 97r (one term) required. Letter-graded. Group tutorial,is an introduction to the methods and research skills of art history. 
    2. Junior year: History of Art and Architecture 98ar (one term) and History of Art and Architecture 98br (one term) required. Letter-graded. History of Art and Architecture 98ar, faculty tutorial, consists of weekly meetings with designated faculty, where regular reading and writing assignments are focused on a topic of mutual interest. History of Art and Architecture 98br offers concentrators the choice of several study groups investigating a particular field of art history. History of Art and Architecture 98ar and 98br need not be taken in sequential order.
  3. Thesis: None.
  4. General Examinations: None.
  5. Other information:
    1. History of art and architecture courses may include: General Education courses given by members of the Department of History of Art and Architecture; all historical courses in visual and environmental studies; classical archaeology; selected courses in the Program in General Education, the humanities, anthropology, and African and African American studies; certain offerings of the Graduate School of Design; and certain Freshman Seminars. The designation of any course taken outside the Department of History of Art and Architecture as a concentration course is subject to the approval of the director of undergraduate studies. No more than two half-courses may be “imported” into the concentration by petition over and above those which are already cross-listed; exceptions for coursework done as part of study abroad programs will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
    2. Pass/Fail: Normally, no work taken Pass/Fail will be accepted as part of the concentration; however, the director of undergraduate studies may make an exception for not more than one half-course in studio arts, or a Freshman Seminar (graded SAT/UNS).
    3. Major fields: Students elect one of the categories below as an area of focus.

African

Ancient

Architecture

Baroque and Rococo

Byzantine

Chinese

South Asian

Islamic

Japanese

Latin American/Pre-Columbian

Medieval

Modern and Contemporary

Renaissance

 

 Requirements for Honors Eligibility: 14 half-courses

  1. Required courses: Same as Basic Requirements.
  2. Tutorials:
    1. Same as Basic Requirements.
    2. Same as Basic Requirements.
    3. Senior Year: History of Art and Architecture 99 (two terms) required. Graded SAT/UNS. In the fall term, History of Art and Architecture 99 includes several group tutorial meetings with the senior honors adviser, where assignments are aimed at facilitating the writing of a senior thesis (See item 3).
  3. Thesis: Required, ordinarily written as part of History of Art and Architecture 99. A student who does not complete the thesis but wishes to receive full- or half-course credit for History of Art and Architecture 99 must submit a paper or other substantial piece of work. Only students with a minimum grade point average of 3.00 within the concentration are eligible to write a thesis.
  4. General Examination: None.
  5. Other information: Same as Basic Requirements.

 

Joint Concentration Requirements:   8 half-courses and thesis
Students applying for a joint concentration must confer with the Directors of Undergraduate Studies of each department to establish a well-conceived three year plan.

1.             Required courses (six):  Two courses chosen from the introductory course offerings numbered History of Art and Architecture 1 -89, two upper level courses in the major field, and two in other fields.
2.             Tutorials (two): HAA 97r (Methods) – required, and either HAA 98ar or HAA 98br.
3.             Thesis: Required. Full course (2 terms). Should be registered in the primary concentration, with the approval of the secondary concentration.  This department does not require a General Examination.