The Major in History of Art is designed to give students a solid grounding in the artistic traditions, practices, and contexts that comprise historical and contemporary visuality. Equally it introduces the discipline’s history, methods, and debates. It prepares students to do independent research, to evaluate evidence, to create coherent and sustained arguments, and to develop skills in academic writing. In a series of increasingly focused courses—Lower division, Upper Division, Seminar, and Honors Program—the major provides a format for students to learn how to analyze and interpret visual, material, and textual evidence from specific cultural settings and historical circumstances. Major requirements are also designed to maximize exposure to different historical periods, geographical regions, and topics, while allowing flexibility for students to pursue their specific interests by selecting a Focus of Study.
I. LOWER DIVISION (4 courses)
A. Three History of Art Courses (9-12 units)
Majors must complete 9 to 12 units of Lower Division course work in the History of Art. These units may come from courses taken in the Department, courses taken at other institutions granted transfer credit for the Major by the Department, or from AP Art History (score of 4 or 5). Courses that qualify for Lower Division requirements include:
4 unit lecture courses: HA 10, 11, 34, 35, 51, 62, etc
3 unit lecture courses.
Additional requirement: These three courses must include one course in Western art and one course in non-Western art.
B. One Art Practice/Materials Course (2-4 units) Students must complete 2, 3, or 4 units in a course that introduces specific art making practices and/or the study of the materials of art. This course must be approved in advance by an Undergraduate Advisor in History of Art. It may be taken P/NP. Applicable courses are typically offered in the Practice of Art Department, College of Environmental Design, and program in New Media Studies. Students may also take courses that involve the making of art taught occasionally in the Department.
II. UPPER DIVISION REQUIREMENTS (8 courses)
In their Upper Division course work in History of Art (total 26-28 units; 8 of these units in seminars), each student must take courses in four of the following five Geographical areas and one course in each of the three Chronological periods
A) Europe and the Mediterranean I) Prehistoric – 1200
B) Asia and the Pacific II) 1200 – 1800
C) The Americas III) 1800 – present
D) Middle East and Africa
Upper Division lecture courses (3 or 4 units) and seminars (2 or 4 units) may fulfill these breadth requirements. Upper Division classes (lecture or seminar) can fulfill both a Geographical requirement and a Chronological requirement.
A. Five Lecture Courses (18-20 units)
Up to two of these courses may be 3 unit courses.
B. Seminars (8 units)
Students in the major are required to complete 8 units of seminar study, of which 4 units (incorporating a research paper component) must be in their Focus of Study. The remaining four units may be taken as follows:
A second 4-unit seminar with research paper.
Two 2-unit seminars without research papers.
Individual faculty members will decide when a given seminar can be taken for 2 units. 2-unit seminars require active participation and completion of weekly readings and writing assignments. 4-unit seminars add a final research paper.
III. ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENT (1 course)
A. Theories/Methods (4 units)
These courses, usually offered in the fall semester, focus on historiography and theoretical/philosophical models in the History of Art, on practical methods of art historical inquiry, or a combination thereof.
IV. FOCUS OF STUDY
Four Upper Division courses taught in the Department will comprise the Focus of Study. Each student must select a Focus of Study by no later than the second semester of the junior year. By selecting a focus, students engage a specific field/period/topic in a cluster of relevant courses taught within and outside the Department. The focus must be approved by an Undergraduate Faculty Advisor.
Examples include (but are not limited to):
The Ancient World Art and Gender
The Renaissance World Modernities and the Arts
The Body in Art Globalism and the Arts
Art and Religion Urban Culture
Popular Culture Material Culture
Advising and Appointments with Major Advisors
Declared majors must see an Undergraduate Advisor, in person each semester during the registration period (advisors are listed on the Department website and in the Department office). These advising meetings provide majors with the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member who can help them develop an overall program of study well-suited to individual strengths and career goals. The advisors also apprise majors of special courses and opportunities, both in the History of Art Department and elsewhere. Please note that faculty advisors are typically not available during the official University holidays or recesses. Advising appointments can be made by signing up online.
In addition to general advising and coursework approval, advisors must approve all changes in registration, including withdrawals and add-drop changes, certain special study courses (History of Art 193, 194, H195, 199), and some special programs.
Appointments should be made well in advance of deadlines (e.g. course enrollment). To make the most efficient use of advising appointments for course enrollment, students should consider carefully the department’s course descriptions, and plan a schedule of proposed courses to be discussed with the advisor. Special additional office hours are held during enrollment periods, and advisors may decline to provide last-minute advising. Advisor codes will only be given out over the phone or via email if a student is studying abroad or is unable to come to campus for reason of a serious emergency.
Departmental Undergraduate Advisors do not administer or approve coursework or degree requirements in the College of Letters and Science other than the requirements of the major. For L&S requirements, students should make an appointment to see an L&S advisor in 206 Evans Hall.
Transfer of Credit
Undergraduate Advisors may credit courses taken at other institutions toward completion of the History of Art major at UC Berkeley. This process is independent of the transfer of credit toward completion of L&S requirements for graduation. Transfer students should come to their first departmental advising appointment with copies of transcripts from all institutions they have attended previously as well as information about the content and requirements of the courses they wish to transfer. Courses taken at community colleges may only fulfill Lower Division requirements for the History of Art major. Coursework from other universities or 4-year colleges may be considered for Upper Division major requirements. Please note as well the residency requirements under “Special Restrictions for all Majors.”
HA Major Progress/Academic Progress Report:
History of Art does not use the Academic Progress Report (APR). To review major progress, check with the Undergraduate advisor.
UC Berkeley Summer Session Courses and Major Requirements
Two Summer Session lecture courses—in History of Art or for the requirement of one course taught outside the department—and an Art Practice course may be credited to completion of the major.
Approval of Other Courses
On occasion, courses taught in other departments may fulfill major requirements with the approval in advance by a History of Art Undergraduate Advisor.
Grades and Credits
Letter Grade: All courses to be counted toward completion of the Major, with the exception of the Art Practice requirement which may only be taken Pass/Not Pass, must be taken for a letter grade, earning a C- minus or higher. Majors must attain at least a C (2.0) average overall in all of the courses required in the major program.
Declaring the History of Art Major: Prior to declaring the major, students must complete two courses taught in the department and receive a grade of C- or higher in each course.
AP Credit: Course credit may be given to students who receive a score of four or five on the Advanced Placement (AP) Examination in History of Art. This credit may be used to satisfy one lower division course requirement.
A minimum of five upper division courses must be taken in the History of Art Department at Berkeley, of which one must be a 4-unit seminar. L&S requirements note that you must complete a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding study abroad units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for this major.
Note that after you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned) you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters; there is a Modified Senior Residence Requirement for participants in EAP/Non-EAP or UCB-DC programs. See L&S Residency Requirements for details.
Suggestions for All Major
Foreign languages Students planning on graduate study in the History of Art are urged to develop a reading knowledge of a foreign language. Study of one or more languages may also be useful to various arts related jobs.
Course loads vary but students should be aware that 15 units is considered a normal load; 13 units is the minimum for a full time student.
If, at any time, a student has a complaint, the Department has an “Undergraduate Appeals Procedure” which should be followed. A copy of this procedure may be obtained from the Undergraduate Assistant or at Appeals to the Deans’ Conference. Its purpose is to permit students in the History of Art Department to resolve complaints at the department level prior to filing complaints pursuant to the Berkeley Campus Student Grievance Procedure.
- A degree check in L&S: A degree check from the Office of Undergraduate Advising should be done the semester before you graduate to make sure you have completed L&S requirements.
- Departmental Advisor’s approval: In order for students to be cleared by the Department for completion of the major, all categories on the major advising form must have the advisor’s initials as approval for coursework taken.
- Contact the Office of the Registrar in Sproul to confirm that you have completed requirements for Subject A, American History & Institutions, and American Cultures.
- Placing yourself on the Degree List: You must declare your candidacy to graduate during the semester in which you plan to meet all your degree requirements. You can do this through Tele-BEARS when you enroll for classes for your final semester, or by filing in person at the Office of the Registrar in the first five weeks of your final semester
Honors and Awards
Honors in Art History: Students with a 3.7 GPA in the major may complete and submit an honors thesis by enrolling in HA195 (4 units, graded). A student whose thesis receives a grade of A- or better will receive Departmental Honors (Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors). The Honors Thesis is a two-semester project conducted under faculty supervision, as follows: a seminar, directed research, or independent study course in the first semester, followed by HA195 in the second. For specific details regarding the Honors Program, students should speak with a faculty undergraduate advisor and read the Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses below.
University Honors are awarded upon the recommendation of the Department to students on the basis of overall GPA as follows: Honors, High Honors and Highest Honors. Requisite GPAs for University Honors change each year.
The Maybelle M. Toombs Awards recognize the potential and achievement of students based upon their record in the major up to the beginning of the senior year. By that time, the students must have completed at least two semesters of coursework as a History of Art major at Berkeley. Criteria include grade point average in the major; grasp of the research techniques and methods of the discipline; and a curriculum notable for its breadth and depth.
Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses
The two semesters are usually consecutive, although they may precede and follow the Summer Session.
Advance planning is essential. Students considering the Honors Program should consult with an Undergraduate Advisor as soon as possible and begin to plan for the program by the mid point of their junior year; transfer students should begin to plan by the mid point of their second semester at Berkeley. Students are encouraged to apply for undergraduate research opportunities, including the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (http://surf.berkeley.edu) and the Institute of International Studies’ Undergraduate Merit Scholarship (http://iis.berkeley.edu/funding-opportunities/undergraduate-merit-schola...), for example.
Students who complete the program will graduate with Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors in the Major, depending upon the grade assigned to their thesis: A-, A, or A+. For more information, please review the Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses below.
Affirmation of Independent Work
- Outline and Bibliography: Due to your advisor by the end of week 5 of the semester in which the thesis is written. You may also submit an initial draft to your primary advisor at this stage.
- Full Draft: Due the Monday after Spring Break or the end of the 11th week in the fall semester.
- Completed Thesis: Due on the last day of formal classes in the semester during which H195 is taken.
Art History majors are encouraged to study abroad. Doing so requires careful planning and provisional pre-approval of the course of study by undergraduate advisors. Courses taken through study abroad must be discussed in advance with an advisor and will not be formally approved until after completion and until satisfactory documentation has been submitted. In order for courses taken abroad to satisfy major requirements, the breadth and depth of the course, the work demanded, and your performance must all meet Berkeley Upper Division standards. Your performance will be evaluated by an Undergraduate Advisor upon your return to campus to determine whether major requirements have been satisfied.
Students must meet with a faculty major advisor, well before departure, in order to discuss the proposed program of study and obtain a signature on the Education Abroad Program academic planning form.