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Art History and Archaeology

Undergraduate Requirements

Regulations for all Art History and Archaeology Majors, Concentrators, and Interdepartmental Majors

Courses

HUMA W1121 Masterpieces of Western art (Art Humanities) does not count toward the majors or concentrations, and no credit is given for Advanced Placement tests.

Grading

Courses in which a grade of D has been received do not count toward the major or concentration requirements.

Senior Thesis

The Senior thesis consists of a research paper 35-45 pages in length. It is a yearlong project, and students writing a thesis are registered by the department for AHIS C3997 for the fall and spring terms. Normally the fall semester is devoted to research, the spring semester to writing.

All thesis writers are required to participate in a class and on alternate weeks, students meet as a group or individually with the instructor. Group meetings are designed as a series of research and writing workshops geared to the students' research projects. Students receive a total of six credits for successful completion of the thesis and class.

In order to apply, students follow a selection process similar to the one currently used for seminars. The student is asked to identify a topic for the senior thesis and an adviser among the faculty of the Art History and Archaeology Department. The student then submits an application, with an indication of the subject of the thesis, a short annotated bibliography, and the name and the signature of the adviser, followed by a one-page statement (400 words) outlining the subject, the goals, and the methodology of the thesis.

The deadline for the submission is set at the end of the second week of the senior year. Submissions should be delivered in hard copy to the department's office, and are addressed to the director of undergraduate studies. The director, in consultation with the thesis adviser and class instructor, evaluates the applications and decides on their approval or rejection.

Students intending to write a thesis should begin formulating a research topic and approaching potential faculty sponsors during the spring of the junior year. Currently, there are several fellowships for which students may apply that support thesis related research and travel during the summer and senior year.

Applications for writing a thesis can be found at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/arthistory/undergraduate/forms.html.

Senior Thesis Research Fellowships

The department offers Senior Thesis Research Fellowships for travel to distant museums and building sites, libraries, or archives. This travel is normally undertaken during the summer before the senior year.

Fellowship applications consisting of a carefully edited thesis proposal and supporting letter from a faculty sponsor should be submitted, in hardcopy, to the department by April 7, 2014. (Email applications are only accepted from students studying abroad.)

 

For a Major in Art History

The yearlong senior thesis (for qualified students; see below) AHIS C3997 may substitute for one lecture course. Seminars may substitute for lecture courses, and may count toward fulfilling the area distribution requirement. Barnard art history courses count toward the majors and concentrations. 

The requirements for the major are as follows:

  1. AHIS W3895 The majors' colloquium
  2. Seven 3-point lecture courses in art history.
    • At least one course in three of four historical periods:
      • Ancient (up to 400 CE/AD)
      • 400-1400
      • 1400-1700
      • 1700-present
    • An additional two courses drawn from at least two different world regions, as listed below:
      • Africa
      • Asia
      • Europe, North America, Australia
      • Latin America
      • Middle East
    • Two additional lectures of the student's choice
  3. Two seminars in art history
  4. A studio course in the visual arts or architecture (which may be taken Pass/D/Fail)

NOTE: These chronological divisions are approximate. In case of ambiguities about the eligibility of a course to fill the requirement, please consult the director of undergraduate studies.

For a Major in History and Theory of Architecture

Majors can take advantage of one of the strengths of the department by focusing on architectural history. This track combines an introductory studio in architectural design with a slightly modified program in art history. Courses in the Department of Architecture may substitute for up to two courses in art history with approval of the adviser. 

The requirements for the major are as follows:

  1. AHIS W3895 The majors’ colloquium
  2. Seven lecture courses in art history, one of which must be AHIS C3001 Introduction to architecture, and three of which must focus on architectural history. Courses must cover four of five general areas:
    • Ancient Mediterranean
    • Medieval Europe
    • Renaissance and baroque
    • 18th-20th century
    • Non-Western
  3. At least one seminar in art history or architectural history
  4. Architectural studio: ARCH V1020 Introduction to architectural design and visual culture

For a Major in Art History and Visual Arts

Students electing the combined major should consult with a faculty adviser in the department, as well as with the director of undergraduate studies in the Visual Arts Department. 

Up to two of the seven 3-point courses in art history may be replaced by a specifically related course in another department with approval of the adviser. The combined major requires fulfillment of sixteen or seventeen courses. It is recommended that students interested in this major begin work toward the requirements in their sophomore year.

The requirements for the major are as follows:

  1. AHIS W3895 The majors’ colloquium
  2. Seven 3-point lecture courses in art history.
    • At least one course in three of four historical periods:
      • Ancient (up to 400 CE/AD)
      • 400-1400
      • 1400-1700
      • 1700-present
    • An additional two courses drawn from at least two different world regions, as listed below:
      • Africa
      • Asia
      • Europe, North America, Australia
      • Latin America
      • Middle East
    • Two additional lectures of the student's choice
  3. 21 points in Visual Arts covering:
  4. In the senior year, students undertake either a seminar in the Department of Art History and Archaeology or a senior project in visual arts (pending approval by the Visual Arts Department).

NOTE: These chronological divisions are approximate. In case of ambiguities about the eligibility of a course to fill the requirement, please consult the director of undergraduate studies.

For a Concentration in Art History

  1. Seven 3-point lecture courses in art history.
    • At least one course in three of four historical periods:
      • Ancient (up to 400 CE/AD)
      • 400-1400
      • 1400-1700
      • 1700-present
    • An additional two courses drawn from at least two different world regions, as listed below:
      • Africa
      • Asia
      • Europe, North America, Australia
      • Latin America
      • Middle East
    • Two additional lectures of the student's choice

NOTE: These chronological divisions are approximate. In case of ambiguities about the eligibility of a course to fill the requirement, please consult the director of undergraduate studies.

Concentrators are not required to take the majors' colloquium, a seminar, or a studio course.

For a Concentration in History and Theory of Architecture

Seven courses in art history, including four in architectural history. Courses must cover four of five areas as described for the major. Concentrators are not required to take the majors’ colloquium, a seminar, or a studio course.