Art History Major

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Aneta Georgievska-Shine, Ph.D

The goal of the Department is to develop the student's critical understanding of visual culture in both art historical and archaeological contexts. The program provides a diverse selection of courses in the art and archaeology of the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

The location of the University between Washington and Baltimore gives students the opportunity to use some of the finest museum and archival collections in the world for their coursework and independent research. Curator/professors, exhibitions in the Art Gallery and Stamp Gallery at the University of Maryland, and the extensive use of study collections bring regional and distant museums into the classroom.

Courses offered by this Department may be found under the following acronym: ARTH.

Admission to the Major

Students must meet either with the director of undergraduate studies or undergraduate advisor for admission to the major. Together, the advisor and student will complete the departmental portion of the College of Arts and Humanities and Art History Academic Plan Checklist.  The student must take the form to the college and meet with the ARHU advisor. The ARHU advisor will make the official change in the university records.

Program Objectives

The Department of Art History and Archaeology prepares students to examine, interpret, and evaluate the densely visual world in which we live today. We study monuments, objects, and spaces of visuality across time (from antiquity to the modern day) and among the world’s cultures (from Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe), engaging with the materiality of created things and the modes of inhabiting spaces. Students learn to investigate visual objects and environments as communicative forms created in response to particular political, social, religious and economic circumstances, and cultivate strong research, writing, and critical thinking skills.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to fully engage with the curriculum and the opportunities presented for learning and research. Having completed the B.A. in Art History, students should have acquired the following abilities:

  1. An ability to demonstrate knowledge of a large set of artistic monuments, objects, and performances in their cultural, historical, political, and/or social contexts.
  2. An ability to communicate effectively about art in writing, using clear and concise prose to advance logical arguments supported by adequate and appropriately cited research materials.
  3. An ability to employ the appropriate technologies for conducting research in the history of art, including print sources and/or electronic information.
  4. An ability to recognize the methods and theories used to ask and address significant questions about works of art, and understand the values informing them.
  5. An ability to demonstrate skills in visual and critical analysis and sensitivity to diversity in comparing works of art across time, geography, and/or culture.

Academic Programs and Departmental Facilities

The location of the university between Washington and Baltimore gives students the opportunity to use some of the finest museum and archival collections in the world for their course work and independent research. The department encourages students to hold internships at a number of these institutions. Curator/professors, exhibitions in galleries at the University of Maryland, digital technologies, and the extensive use of study collections complement traditional classroom learning.

The department is at the forefront of exploring digital technologies for art historical and archaeological teaching, research, and publication. The Michelle Smith Collaboratory for Visual Culture, located in the department on the fourth floor of the Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building, is central in creating a nurturing environment for academic research and creative learning. The Collaboratory permits ample workspace for meetings, workshops, forums, and the execution of large-scale digital projects.

Requirements for the major in Art History are as follows:

Course Title Credits
College Requirements
Required Courses
ARTT100Two-Dimensional Design Fundamentals3
or ARTT110 Elements of Drawing I
Select three ARTH courses at the 2xx level, one of which may be a Big Question course 19
Select seven ARTH courses at the 3xx or 4xx level 221
Supporting Area
Select three courses at the 3xx or 4xx level outside the Art History and Archaeology Department 39
Total Credits42

 These courses, include, but are not limited to, the following: ARTH200, ARTH201, ARTH221, ARTH230, ARTH250, ARTH255, ARTH275, ARTH290, ARTH292


Of those seven courses, at least one must be ARTH488. Enrollment for ARTH488 is limited to

  1. majors with at least 75 total credits and at least 9 credits in ARTH at the 3xx level, or
  2. those given permission by the faculty/Department.

Courses should cohere around a broad area of study, and must be related to the student's studies in the Department. All supporting courses must be approved by an ARTH advisor.

No course with a grade lower than "C-" may be used to satisfy major or supporting area requirements.

An overall GPA of 2.0 in the major is required for graduation.

Other Requirements for the Major

In the Department of Art History and Archaeology, 3xx-level and 4xx-level courses are differentiated. 3xx-level courses focus on period or topical surveys and 4xx-level courses highlight content- or theme-based material. Majors should complete the 2xx-level surveys before they enroll in 3xx- or 4xx-level courses. Students are strongly encouraged to take supporting area courses that complement the art history major. No course with a grade lower than “C-" may be used to satisfy major or supporting area requirements.

Limit on Special Courses

  • No more than 3 credits total of 269 or 289 (i.e. no more than one 200-level study- abroad course or one 200-level transfer course in a topic that is not fundamentally equivalent to one of our courses). 

  • No more than 6 credits of 369 (i.e. no more than two 300-Ievel study abroad courses in topics that are not fundamentally equivalent to our 300-Ievel courses). 

  • No more than 6 credits of 389 (i.e. no more than two 300-Ievel special courses, as transfer credit or here on campus, on topics outside our regularly offered, "hard-numbered" curriculum) 

Click here for roadmaps for graduation plans in the College of Arts and Humanities.

Additional information on developing a graduation plan can be found on the following pages: