2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 22, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog

Art History, BA

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Wayne Franits, Chair
Suite 308 Bowne Hall
Romita Ray, Undergraduate Director 
Suite 308 Bowne Hall


Molly Bourne (Florence), Sally Cornelison, Wayne Franits, Margaret Innes, Samuel Johnson, Matilde Mateo, Jonathan Nelson (Florence), Sean Nelson (Florence), Romita Ray, Sascha Scott, Jane Zaloga (Florence)

The Department of Art and Music Histories offers courses in most major periods of the history of arts and architecture from antiquity to the present. The research and teaching specialties of the art history faculty include Greek art and architecture, Byzantine and medieval art and architecture, early modern European art and architecture, 19th- and 20th-century European art, American and Indigenous art and architecture, South Asian art and architecture, Medievalism, and History of Photography.

Studies in the history of architecture are offered in association with the faculty in the School of Architecture (see program description under “History of Architecture ” in this section of the catalog). 

Art history majors can apply to an exciting array of internships at the Syracuse University Art Museum, the University’s Special Collections Research Center, and the Everson Museum of Art. Art history majors are strongly encouraged to take a foreign language and to study abroad.

For all Arts and Sciences|Maxwell students, successful completion of a bachelor’s degree in this major requires a minimum of 120 credits, 96 of which must be Arts and Sciences|Maxwell credits, completion of the Liberal Arts Core requirements, and the requirements for this major (30 credits) that are listed below.

Dual Enrollments:

Students dually enrolled in Newhouse* and Arts and Sciences|Maxwell will complete a minimum of 122 credits, with at least 90 credits in Arts and Sciences|Maxwell coursework and an Arts and Sciences|Maxwell major.

*Students dually enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences|Maxwell as first year students must complete the Liberal Arts Core. Students who transfer to the dual program after their first year as singly enrolled students in the Newhouse School will satisfy general requirements for the dual degree program by completing the Newhouse Core Requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Observe and interpret key formal aspects of works of art in historical contexts.

2. Identify and analyze key works of art from different eras and traditions across the globe.

3. Recognize and explain the relationship of artists and art to broad cultural, intellectual, and historical developments.

4. Analyze central issues and apply scholarly methodologies in the field.

5. Formulate a research question, synthesize and appraise scholarly information in support of a thesis, and express ideas clearly and persuasively in writing.

6. Express ideas clearly and persuasively in oral presentations.

7. Gain direct hands-on experience working with art objects and archives.

8. Demonstrate knowledge of visual language pertinent to careers in the visual arts, architecture, visual studies, and the media.

Major Requirements

The major in art history requires 30 art history credits: 6 of those credits must be satisfied by lower division courses, and the remaining 24 credits must be completed at the 300 level or above. No course can fulfill more than two degree requirements. Below is an explanation of the other requirements for the major with a list of the courses that fulfill them. Please note that the list of courses provided here is incomplete and does not include special topics courses, which can be accessed through faculty advisors and the department website. Students are expected to consult with their art history faculty advisors during registration periods to ensure they fulfill their requirements. Students should also bear in mind that some courses that count toward the major are offered at Syracuse Abroad centers.

Lower-Division Requirement (6 credits)

Students are required to take 6 credits of lower-division coursework. These courses must be taken on the Syracuse campus (or be approved by petition). The following courses are among those that can count toward the lower-division requirement: 

Senior Seminar Requirement (3 credits)

During the fall semester of their senior year, art history majors are required to successfully complete a senior seminar (3 credits). This seminar explores the practical aspects of the discipline, paying particular attention to potential careers and professional research writing.

500-level Course Requirement (at least 3 credits)

Art history majors are required to take at least one course at the 500 level or above. 500-level courses are customarily open to advanced undergraduate majors as well as to graduate students in the MA program in Art History. Such courses offer more advanced study of particular art historical topics than those numbered at the 300 and 400 levels.

Chronological Distribution Requirement (6 credits)

Art history majors must fulfill a chronological distribution requirement to ensure an adequate breadth of historical knowledge. Students are required to take two courses at any level in each of the following periods: Ancient/Medieval (pre-1450); Early Modern (1450-1750); and Modern/Contemporary (post 1750). These courses are among those that can also satisfy the lower-division and 500-level course requirements. Each course can count toward only one of the three chronological periods. 

Cultural Distribution Requirement (6 credits)

Art history majors must fulfill a cultural distribution requirement in order to ensure an understanding of art history across geographical areas, and across or between cultures. Students are required to take two courses in global perspectives and/or intercultural perspectives. These courses can also satisfy a chronological distribution requirement.

In Addition

Students may petition to include 3 credits of studio art coursework at any level in the required 30 credits. Students may also petition to have up to 3 credits of appropriate courses in art history (non-HOA courses) count toward the required 30 credits.

Distinction in Art History

Art history majors who have earned a GPA of at least 3.4 by the end of their junior year and a cumulative departmental GPA of at least 3.7, are eligible for distinction. An announcement about the distinction in art history will be made during the first week of Senior Seminar (HOA 498), so that all graduating seniors are aware of it. Qualified students can approach a faculty member regarding pursuing distinction, or individual faculty members can invite students to do so. Candidates for distinction must take the Senior Seminar. In addition, they must submit either a Capstone Project (Honor’s Thesis), or a 15-20 page-long art history research paper from an upper division HOA class (excluding bibliography and end/footnotes) that has earned at least an A-. Alternatively, students can develop a shorter writing sample into a longer research paper worthy of being submitted for distinction, through a 1-credit Independent Study (HOA 490 ) supervised by a faculty member in the department (the Independent Study project must earn at least an A- to be considered for distinction).

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