History of Art Major (Fall 2011-Fall 2013)

(Effective Date: Fall 2011 - Fall 2013;  changes to Honors Program effective 
Winter 2013)

May be elected as a departmental major

Prerequisites to the Major. Any course below the 300 level (except HISTART 194), chosen - preferably - from among the courses numbered HISTART 100, 101, 102, 103, 112, or 208. One 100-level course can be met through AP, upon approval by a History of Art advisor.

Requirements for the Major. 30 credits at the 200-level and above. At least four courses (or a minimum of 12 credits) must be at the 300 or higher level, and one of these must be a 300- or 400-level seminar. Three courses (at the 200 or higher level) must meet the Chronological and Geographical distribution requirements described below. Students are otherwise free to choose whatever they wish to make up their major.

(N.B.: No course in which the student obtained lower than a C- grade may be accepted in satisfaction of the Department's requirements for the major, nor any courses elected under the pass/fail option).

1. Chronological and Geographical Distribution Requirements. History of Art at the University of Michigan offers a culturally interlaced and multicentric program, encompassing the histories of the visual and architectural arts in a diversity of temporal and geographical locations. Majors must ensure that at least three of their courses adequately cover some of this rich diversity. To do this, students must take courses covering each of at least three chronologically different periods, and courses covering each of at least three geographical regions.

The chronological categories can be broadly defined as:

  1. Ancient
  2. Medieval
  3. Early Modern
  4. Modern and Contemporary (18th century or later)

The geographical areas can be described as:

  1. Western Asia and North Africa (Middle East) and Central Asia
  2. Sub-Saharan Africa
  3. Eastern Asia (China, Japan, India, Southeast Asia) and the Pacific
  4. Europe, United States, and Canada
  5. the Americas and the Caribbean.

A student thus might take the following cluster of courses to satisfy the distribution requirement: Ancient China, Byzantine Middle East, Modern Russia; another cluster could be Hellenistic Egypt, Medieval Western Europe, Early Modern Africa. Many other combinations are possible. Department advisors guide students through the program.

Students are encouraged to take a semester of work in history of art at various international programs. However, at least 12 credits for the major (excluding prerequisites) must be taken in residence at UM-Ann Arbor.

2. Cognates. 

Each History of Art concentrator must take two cognate courses, (for a minimum of six credits), outside of the Department of History of Art. 

One of these must be a 3-credit course in studio practice taken at the University of Michigan School of Art + Design. Students are advised to select this course either from the sequence of 100-level classes designated as "Non-Major Studio Courses" or to apply for permission to elect one of the 100-, 200-, or 300-level studio courses designed for Art + Design majors.

All University undergraduates may register freely for "Non-Major Studio Courses".

To enroll in one of the 100 or 200 level studio "Core Courses" required of Art&Design majors, History of Art majors should request an administrative override from the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs in the School of Art & Design in advance of their registration appointments.

To enroll in one of the 300 level "Elective Studio Courses" History of Art majors should apply to the instructor for permission in advance of their registration appointments.

 The second cognate must be a class at 300-level or above that addresses a subject related to the student's studies in History of Art but from the perspective of another discipline. Choices frequently come from Anthropology, History, Religion, Screen Arts and Cultures, Philosophy, literatures of various cultures, Architecture & Urban Planning or the Residential College, but many other meaningful options are possible upon consultation with a major adviser. All cognates must be approved by a History of Art advisor.

Students are advised to bear in mind the College requirement that "Candidates for the AB, BS, or BGS degree must complete a minimum of 100 credits of LS&A courses, thus allowing 20 credits of non LS&A coursework in the 120 required for the degree."

Students may petition a major adviser to consider granting exceptions that would permit other courses to count for the two cognate requirements.

Note: Courses that satisfy LSA distribution requirements cannot simultaneously be offered in satisfaction of Requirements for the major, either History of Art courses or cognates. History of Art courses, however, may satisfy ULWR (Writing) and R&E (Race & Ethnicity) requirements. Before registering, students must first check the LSA web site for the courses designated to satisfy ULWR and R&E requirements, as these courses change each academic term.

Language Preparation. Students who wish to pursue graduate work in the history of art are encouraged to develop second language proficiency beyond the requirements set by LS&A. Reading proficiency in German, in particular, is required by most history of art graduate programs. Students who wish to pursue graduate studies in west or east Asian art are strongly encouraged to begin the study of Arabic, Persian, Japanese, Chinese or a related language as early as possible in their undergraduate program.

Credit for Study Abroad. Credit awarded by the University of Michigan Center for Global and Intercultural Study (CGIS) may automatically be offered in satisfaction of appropriate history of art requirements for the major. In consultation with the student, a history of art department advisor will correlate study abroad courses with the department's course offerings. The department advisor will also sign the student's CGIS application.

History of art courses taken through other university study-abroad programs, however, must be evaluated by a department advisor on a case-by-case basis. Students hoping to present such work toward their major must consult with the department advisor prior to undertaking foreign studies, with the end of identifying potentially appropriate courses. It is understood that no such courses can be preapproved, and that students upon their return must be prepared to document their work fully by providing the syllabi, papers, and/or exams for the courses in question. Depending upon the content, academic demands, and relationship to department course offerings thus demonstrated, full, partial, or no credit toward meeting requirements for the major may then be granted.

Credit for Internship Experience. Internships at museums, galleries, auction houses, and archaeological digs can be of great benefit to students of the history of art, providing intimate contact with works of art and exposure to the many facets of the discipline. The Department is therefore prepared to award credit for internship experience through independent study (HISTART 299). Before registering, the student completes the Independent Study (IS) Contract form and meets with a faculty member to determine the objectives that will be met by the internship, as well as the grade criteria and the number of academic credits to be earned. As with any independent study, students will meet the academic requirements for course credit by submitting a written product, describing the skills acquired by the internship and how those skills will contribute to the student's academic and/or career goals. The final evaluation will be determined once the internship is completed, and the written product is submitted for evaluation.

Honors Program. The Honors major is open to juniors and seniors who have obtained the permission of the Honors department advisor. Candidates for Honors in history of art must meet all requirements for a regular major. Students need the permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies to enroll in two classes tied to writing the senior thesis (HISTART 498/499). In their last term Honors candidates must complete the Honors thesis (HISTART 499).


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