Major & Minor Requirements

Major Requirements

The Department of Art History & Archaeology welcomes students who wish to pursue a major in Art History & Archaeology. Students who declare the major must satisfy the requirements listed below to qualify for graduation.

Prospective majors: These guidelines will apply to students who matriculate in Fall 2022.

Current majors: You may either follow the old guidelines (the guidelines that were in place when you matriculated) or request that the department allow you to follow the new guidelines. If you would like to follow the new guidelines, or if you have questions about the new guidelines, please contact your major advisor or Professor William Wallace, Director of Undergraduate Studies, at wwallace@wustl.edu.

Introductory Courses

All majors must take two courses from a menu of Introductory Courses at the 100 and 200 level. These courses are recommended foundations for upper-level lecture courses and seminars. The courses may be taken at any time and in any order. First-Year Seminars and Sophomore Seminars can be counted among these two introductory courses.* No specific course is mandatory for students in Arts & Sciences.**

  • Introduction to Western Art (L01 113)*** and Introduction to Modern Art, Architecture and Design (L01 215) will be offered every Fall and Spring respectively.
  • Introduction to Asian Art (L01 111), Myths & Monuments of Antiquity (L01 232), and Cities & Towns of the Ancient World (L01 236) will be offered at least once every other year.
  • This list will be augmented by a rotation of 100-level First-Year Seminars and 200-level Sophomore Seminars (currently in development), as well as other 200-level courses with broad regional, temporal, or topical coverage.*

*Students will be allowed to count only one First-Year Seminar or one Sophomore Seminar toward this requirement

**Introduction to Western Art (L01 113) and Introduction to Modern Art, Architecture, and Design (L01 215) are mandatory only for students in the Sam Fox School

***A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Art History exam may be substituted for Introduction to Western Art. To receive this college credit, the score must appear on your Washington University student record and you must earn at least a B in a related upper-division departmental course.

Major credit hours

All majors must take at least 8 upper-level (300 or 400) Art History & Archaeology courses (24 credits). Two of these courses must be at the 400 level with different faculty members. Students in Arts & Sciences, Business, and Engineering may substitute one Sam Fox School studio art course of three or more credits (taken at any level at WashU, or at another institution with prior permission) for a 300-level course. This option, which can be taken Pass/Fail, is meant to encourage a student’s exploration and understanding of the practice of making art. We strongly encourage students to take studio art courses above and beyond all requirements for the art history major.

  • Any course taken outside the university, including study abroad courses, must receive prior approval from the Study Abroad Advisor, as appropriate. Only two courses (6 credits) can be transferred into the major.
  • No internship credit may be applied to the major (internship credits do count toward graduation, however).
  • Courses for the major may not be taken with the Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit option (with the exception of the one studio art course).

Distribution & Credit

Majors must take at least one upper-level course in three of the following six broad areas:

Ancient and Medieval (AM)
Renaissance and Baroque (RB)
Modern European and American (MEA) 
Non-Western (NW)
Architecture (A)
Cross-Cultural Exchange

  • Introduction to World Archaeology (L52 200) does not count as an Ancient distribution but may count toward the major.
  • Courses for the major may not be taken with the Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit option. Students must earn a grade of C- or better in all courses for them to apply to Major requirements.

 

Declaring the major

Students declare the major through their student account in WebSTAC. New Majors should arrange an orientation meeting (approximately 30 minutes) with William Wallace, Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. Please be sure to bring a hardcopy of your unofficial transcript from WebSTAC to the meeting. 

Capstone Experience

Seminars are considered the “Capstone” experience for Majors in Art History & Archaeology. Seminars are listed as 400-level courses, consist of small enrollments, and focus on discussion and research projects. Majors must take two seminars that are home-based in the Department of Art History & Archaeology (cross-listed courses based in other departments or schools, even if they are listed as 400-level, may count toward the major but will not count as seminars for this purpose). Lecture courses (300-level) usually serve as prerequisites for seminars.  The two required seminars should be taken with different faculty members, although they may both be in the same distribution area. Seminars are usually taken in the senior year, but may also be taken in the junior year, if the student has the preparation appropriate to the course. We recommend that only one seminar be taken at a time.

Please note: Neither L01 4900 Independent Study and Research nor L01 499 Honors in Art History & Archaeology fulfill the seminar requirement.

Latin Honors

Exceptional students may be considered for Latin Honors in the major. Honors in Art History & Archaeology will be awarded to seniors who have completed the major with a 3.65 or better average in advanced courses (300- or 400-level) in the major; who have achieved at least a 3.65 overall cumulative GPA; and who have satisfactorily completed the Honors Thesis outlined in the “Guidelines for Latin Honors in Art History & Archaeology.” Interested students should begin discussing topics with potential faculty advisors before the end of their junior year. Latin Honors is now assigned by the College of Arts and Sciences, and not by the department. For details, please consult the departmental website: https://arthistory.wustl.edu/undergraduate-honors-guidelines

The Senior Honors Thesis is conducted over the course of the academic year under the supervision of a faculty member and entails two independent courses. In the fall, the student enrolls in L01 499 HONORS ART HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGY. With the permission of the student’s thesis adviser, the student will complete the thesis in the spring, enrolling again in L01 499 HONORS ART HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGY. Only 1 semester of L01 499 (3 units) counts toward the 24 upper-level credit requirements, and it does not fulfill either of the two capstone seminar courses. The second semester of L01 499 is taken as an additional course beyond the usual major requirements, such that students writing the Honors Thesis complete a total of 33 credits for the major, rather than the typical 30 credits. Students planning to write a Senior Honors Thesis should make every effort to complete one 400-level seminar course by the end of the junior year.

Language and Fine Arts

Students contemplating graduate school in Art History & Archaeology are urged to take significant coursework in foreign languages. There is no specific language requirement for the undergraduate major, although we encourage minors in a foreign language or double majors in languages and Art History & Archaeology.

Interested students are also encouraged to take courses in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts to learn more about current and historical techniques and the outlook of working artists and architects.

Internships

Students may pursue up to six hours of internship credit working in the arts community.  These internship credits are Credit/No Credit and cannot be counted toward the major, but do count toward general graduation credits. See the “Internships – Department Guidelines” information sheet for further details.

Study Abroad

Students interested in a study abroad program should consult with both the Departmental Study Abroad Advisor and The Office of Overseas Programs (Stix International House 201) as early as possible. Summer, semester and year-long programs are all possible. Majors are expected to take their two capstone seminars on campus, usually in the senior year. On occasion a seminar of exceptional rigor (such as those at University College London and Utrecht University in particular) may be proposed as a substitute. However, the credit will only be granted once the course is complete, and the syllabus and research paper(s) have been reviewed and approved by the Study Abroad Advisor (and perhaps by relevant faculty). Students are therefore advised that they should not assume that any seminar course taken while on study abroad will count toward this requirement when planning their course program. Students are further reminded that at least 15 credits of their major coursework must be completed in residence at Washington University, and that the final 30 units of their B.A. degree must be earned here as well.

 

Minor Requirements

The Department of Art History & Archaeology welcomes students who wish to pursue a minor in Art History and Archaeology. The minor consists of 18 credit hours: 2 courses at the introductory level and 4 courses at an advanced level. These courses may not be taken under the Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit option.  Students must earn a grade of C- or better in all classes.

Prospective Minors: These guidelines will apply to students who matriculate in Fall 2022.

Current Minors: You may either follow the old guidelines (the guidelines that were in place when you matriculated) or request that the department allow you to follow the new guidelines. If you would like to follow the new guidelines, or if you have questions about the new guidelines, please contact Professor William Wallace, Director of Undergraduate Studies, at wwallace@wustl.edu.

Introductory courses

All minors must take two courses from a menu of Introductory Courses at 100 and 200 levels. These courses are recommended foundations for upper-level lecture courses and seminars. The courses may be taken at any time and in any order. First-Year Seminars and Sophomore Seminars can be counted among these two introductory courses.* No specific course is mandatory for students in Arts & Sciences.**

  • Introduction to Western Art (L01 113)*** and Introduction to Modern Art, Architecture, and Design (L01 215) will be offered every Fall and Spring respectively
  • Introduction to Asian Art (L01 111), Myths & Monuments of Antiquity (L01 232), and Cities & Towns of the Ancient World (L01 236) will be offered at least once every other year
  • This list will be augmented by a rotation of 100-level First-Year Seminars and 200-level Sophomore Seminars (currently in development), as well as other 200-level courses with broad regional, temporal, or topical coverage.*

*Students will be allowed to count only one First-Year Seminar or one Sophomore Seminar toward this requirement

**Introduction to Western Art (L01 113) and Introduction to Modern Art, Architecture, and Design (L01 215) are mandatory only for students in the Sam Fox School

***A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Art History exam may be substituted for Introduction to Western Art. To receive this college credit, the score must appear on your Washington University student record and you must earn at least a B in a related upper-division departmental course.

Upper-level courses

All minors must take at least four upper-level (300 or 400) Art History & Archaeology courses (12 credits). At least one upper-level course must be taken in two of the following six broad areas:

Ancient and Medieval (AM)
Renaissance and Baroque (RB)
 Modern European and American (MEA)
Non-Western (NW)
Architecture (A)
Cross-Cultural Exchange

Please note:

  • You may opt to take a seminar at the 400 level but it should build upon a 300-level course in a related field, or you should have the proper prerequisites, or permission of the instructor. In cases of over enrollment in seminars, priority will be given to majors over minors, including majors who have been waitlisted.  
  • Courses in other departments (including courses in the Sam Fox School) do not count for the minor unless they are cross-listed as Art History & Archaeology courses at the 300 level or above.
  • At least two of the 300-level courses must be completed in residence at Washington University.

Declaring the minor

You should declare the minor through your student account in WebStac.