Art History Major, B.A.

Department of Art and Art History

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101 Hanes Art Center, CB# 3405

(919) 962-2015

Eduardo Douglas, Director of Undergraduate Studies (Art History)

Carol Magee, Chair

Eduardo Douglas, Director of Undergraduate Studies for Art History

Mario Marzán, Director of Undergraduate Studies for Studio Art

Yulianna Aparicio, Student Services Specialist

The undergraduate program in art history is directed toward two main educational goals:

  1. to provide students with an excellent liberal arts foundation through an understanding of the historical and global significance, cultural diversity, and intellectual richness of human artistic traditions from prehistoric times to the present; and
  2. to provide these students with the intellectual tools needed to investigate the complex roles played by the arts in a variety of social contexts.

Skills in visual analysis, historical research, critical reading, analytical and descriptive writing, and oral communication are developed throughout the course of the study. The practice of art history is interdisciplinary, dynamically engaged with many fields in the humanities and social sciences, as well as with the University’s diverse area studies programs and the Ackland Art Museum. The art history major equips students with skills, knowledge, and values to negotiate rapidly changing, richly diverse, and increasingly interconnected local, national, and worldwide communities.

Department Programs



Graduate Programs

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the art history program, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the works of art, artists, viewers, and patrons in a variety of cultures and societies; and the visual arts in the context of the past and present societies that produced them
  • Recognize that visual forms and symbols are historically and culturally contingent, and that interpretation requires a knowledge of the visual language specific to the work of art, as a result of studying the arts in a variety of cultures and historical moments
  • Pose an art historical question, pursue that question through research in original and secondary sources, evaluate evidence, and create an argument in response to that evidence
  • Demonstrate deep content area knowledge by explaining and discussing intelligently major issues related to that field


In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • earn a minimum final cumulative GPA of 2.000
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major core requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in the major core requirements. Some programs may require higher standards for major or specific courses.

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
Two art history foundation courses from ARTH 100 to ARTH 2006
Eight ARTH courses above 200, apportioned in the following way 124
At least one course from each of the three geographic areas (see course lists below)
At least one course from each of the three chronological periods (see course lists below)
At least three courses must be numbered above 399
ARTH 391Undergraduate Research Seminar 23
ARTS---One studio art course3
Total Hours36

Distribution Course List–The Americas (AA)

1300–1800 (II)
Women in the Visual Arts I
Art and Architecture of Viceregal Latin America
Art of the Aztec Empire
1800–Present (III)
First-Year Seminar: Art and the Body
First-Year Seminar: African American Art of the Carolinas
First-Year Seminar: Art, Money, and the Market
Latin American Modernisms
Art of Exchange and Exploration: Early America and the Globe
Art Since 1960 H
African American Art Survey
19th-Century American Art
Art in the United States, 1890-1945: American Modernisms
Fashioning Identities
Religious Architecture and Visual Culture in Latin America
Modern Architecture
Pop Art and Its Legacy
20th-Century African American Art
The Mexican Mural Renaissance, 1921-1945
Brazilian Modernism
Art of the Harlem Renaissance
Introduction to Museum Studies
Imagining Otherness in Visual Culture in the Americas
Visual Cultures of the American City, 1750-1950
Art and Money

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Distribution Course List–Europe and the Mediterranean (EM)

Prehistoric–1300 (I)
First-Year Seminar: Cathedrals, Abbeys, Castles: Gothic Art and Architecture (c. 1130-1450)
First-Year Seminar: Celts--Druid Culture H
Archaeology of Egypt
Roman Archaeology
Art of Classical Greece
Roman Art
Medieval Art in Western Europe
Medieval Iconography H
Hellenistic Art and Archaeology (350-31 BCE)
Cathedrals, Abbeys, Castles: Gothic Art and Architecture (c. 1130-1450)
Egyptian, Near Eastern, Aegean Art
Irish Art and Architecture: Ériu/Éire in the Early Medieval Period
Art and Interchange in Medieval Iberia
Saints in Medieval Art
Cathedrals, Abbeys, Castles: Gothic Art and Architecture, ca.1130-1500
Celtic Art and Cultures
Art and Archaeology of Achaemenid Persia
Greek Architecture
Architecture of Etruria and Rome
History of the Illuminated Book
The Moving Image in the Middle Ages
Roman Sculpture
Icons and Idols: Debates in Medieval Art
Roman Painting
1300–1800 (II)
First-Year Seminar: Art, Gender, and Power in Early Modern Europe H
Early Renaissance Art in Italy
High Renaissance Art in Italy
Northern European Art: Van Eyck to Bruegel
European Baroque Art
18th-Century Art
The Arts in England, 1450-1650 H
Art and the History of Museums, 1750-2000
Late Medieval Art
The Renaissance Portrait
European Art and Sexuality
Visual Art in the Age of Revolution
German and Netherlandish Renaissance
The City as Monument H
City, Architecture, Art: Nuremberg as a European Artistic Center,1300-1600
Northern European Art of the 14th and 15th Centuries
Early Modern Art, 1400-1750 H
Studiolo to Wunderkammer
1800–Present (III)
First-Year Seminar: Art, War, and Revolution H
First-Year Seminar: Society of the Spectacle: Impressionism and Post-Impressionism
Modernism I: Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism
Picturing Paris: 1800-2000
Modernism II: 1905-1960
Early Modern and Modern Decorative Arts
Art, Politics, and Society in France, 1850-1914
Monuments and Memory
No Chronological Classification
The Art of Dying Well: Death and Commemoration in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times
Early Christian Art and Modern Responses
Studies in the History of Graphic Art
Topics in Connoisseurship

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Distribution Course List–Africa (AF)

1800–Present (III)
African Art and Culture
Art, Culture, and Power in Africa
Arts of Southern Africa
Clothing and Textiles in Africa
Arts of West Africa
Art of African Independence
Art and Colonialism: France in Africa/Africa in France
Islam and African Art
Africa and Masks
Africa in the American Imagination H
Contemporary African Art
Urban Africa and Global Mobility

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Distribution Course List–Other

1800–Present (III)
World's Fairs
First-Year Seminar: Picturing Nature
First-Year Seminar: Seeing the Past
First-Year Seminar: Meaning and the Visual Arts H
First-Year Seminar: Art and Technology
Making Material Histories: A Makerspace Course
Objects, Museums, and Meanings H
Picture That: History of Photography from Tintypes to Instagram
Women in the Visual Arts II
The Literature of Art
The Body in Social Theory and Visual Representation
Theories of Modern Art
Cultural Politics in Contemporary Art
Current Issues in Art
History and Theory of Museums

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Honors in Art History

The honors program is open to students with a 3.3 grade point average who have demonstrated overall excellence in the discipline. Honors are generally pursued in the senior year. Students enroll in the honors courses (ARTH 691H in the fall; ARTH 692H in the spring) through the student services assistant in the Department of Art and Art History office. This should be done after consultation with the faculty honors advisor and department honors advisor. For more information, see the honors program description elsewhere in this catalog and the departmental honors announcement. Honors work will allow a student to graduate with honors or with highest honors.

Special Opportunities in Art and Art History

Independent Study

Students may pursue independent study coursework with individual faculty members. Such work may be undertaken only with the permission of the sponsoring faculty member. Students should consult individual faculty members prior to registration to secure permission. A proposal and a contract must be approved by the appropriate director of undergraduate studies (studio art or art history) before students may enroll. (See the the departmental majors’ Sakai site for instructions.) Since faculty members are limited to supervising only two independent study students each semester, students are strongly advised to contact the faculty member with whom they wish to work early in the registration period for the upcoming semester.

Independent study work requires a minimum of three hours per week per credit hour. For example, a typical three-credit-hour class would require at least nine hours of work per week. Once the semester begins, students must meet with the faculty member initially to confirm goals, review expectations, and establish semester deadlines. Thereafter, students must meet regularly to review work in progress, with a suggested biweekly frequency. Total time spent in direct interaction with the faculty member for the semester must average 45 minutes per week. This may be in the form of face-to-face meetings, blog or e-mail exchanges, or group critiques with other independent study students and their advisors.

Departmental Involvement

Students have opportunities to see and interact with a variety of arts professionals through exhibitions in the Allcott Galleries, installations of sculptural works in the Alumni Sculpture Garden, an artist-in-residence program, the Visiting Arts Professionals Program, and the Hanes Visiting Artist Lecture Series.

There are several undergraduate student organizations serving the visual arts at Carolina. The Undergraduate Art Association (UAA) is a campuswide social club that supports and develops undergraduate visual artists at Carolina — regardless of their enrollment in art classes — and strengthens the impact of visual art in the University community. The Studio Art Majors Association (SAMA) is aimed at developing community and professional opportunities that augment the experience for studio art majors and minors, especially through programming of the SAMple Gallery in the Hanes Art Center. ArtHeels is a service-based organization that is passionate about bringing arts (visual, performing, and literary) to the healthcare setting. The Art History Liaisons is the undergraduate art history group. Kappa Pi is the department majors' honors society which includes both studio and art history majors. These groups serve as an important link between the majors and the department’s administration. The department utilizes these organizations to facilitate communication about matters of interest, including participation in departmental initiatives or other extracurricular opportunities.


Art and art history majors are encouraged to pursue internships at local, regional, or national arts institutions or businesses. Students have worked in many art career contexts including museums and galleries, arts programming, and local businesses specializing in art-related production (photo studios, printmaking studios, illustration, design firms, and publishing). The departmental majors' Sakai site has useful information about the requirements and how to set up the contracts for ARTH 293 and ARTS 493 as well as a partial listing of organizations that have worked with our students in the past. If you would like to discuss specific ideas about a possible internship, speak to any faculty member or the relevant director of undergraduate studies (art history or studio). All internships taken for UNC credit are subject to governmental guidelines, and students must have internships preapproved and under contract before enrolling for either ARTH 293 or ARTS 493

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to pursue study abroad opportunities. While there are many opportunities to study art abroad, the Department of Art and Art History maintains a special affiliation with the Studio Art Centers International (SACI) and the Lorenzo di Medici — both in Florence, Italy — and the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. Students should discuss their study abroad plans with the undergraduate advisor in studio art to obtain prior approval for courses taken abroad. Basically, courses that have an equivalent in the UNC–Chapel Hill curriculum usually are approved. Courses that fall outside the UNC–Chapel Hill curriculum must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. No guarantee exists that a course will transfer for credit unless preapproved. Contact the Study Abroad Office to discuss the procedures for approval.

Undergraduate Awards


The studio program awards more than $24,000 annually to students, with individual awards ranging from a minimum of $500 to $3,000. A portfolio review each year allows studio art majors to submit up to four works to be considered for the following scholarships:

  • The Alexander Julian Prize (one award to our best student)
  • The Sharpe Scholarships (multiple awards for students receiving financial aid)
  • George Kachergis Studio Art Scholarships (multiple awards chosen by a student-designated committee)
  • The Anderson Award
  • The Penland School of Craft Scholarships (two awards cover expenses for a summer course at the Penland School of Craft)
  • A design honorarium to develop proposals for the Alumni Sculpture Garden (see below).

Every year, the Department of Art and Art History commissions student work for the Alumni Sculpture Garden. Commissions are a minimum of $5,000, and the department awards up to three commissions. The selection process occurs in three stages: identifying interested students, a design phase, and the production of the work. During the November Awards Competition, interested students compete for one of six $500 design honorariums that are to be used to develop proposals. Winners of this first phase are required attend a session early in the spring semester to learn about how to develop a proposal and the components that must be included. Proposals are reviewed in March to select winners.

Undergraduate Research

Opportunities for undergraduate research in the Department of Art and Art History exist in several forms. Detailed descriptions and application guidelines are available on the art majors’ Sakai site and from the department's student services manager.

Allcott Travel Fellowships support two summer research projects in studio art and/or art history.

The Beatrice Pearman Fund supports special projects in both art history and studio art. Competitions for art history research funds are held in the fall and the spring. Studio art students may request funds for special projects by submitting a proposal to the director of undergraduate studies in studio art. Awards are $500 or less. 

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) are administered through the UNC Office for Undergraduate Research. These $3,000 awards support undergraduate research projects over the summer. UNC's broad definition of research includes creative practices, and the James Boyd Gadson SURFs are specifically designated for studio art. SURF applications from studio art majors are automatically considered for these Gadson Fellowships. This fund typically supports at least two awards. Application deadlines (usually in February) are set by the Office for Undergraduate Research. Students interested in pursuing summer research should contact possible faculty sponsors toward the end of the fall semester.

The Jacquelyn Friedman and Marvin Saltzman Fund in Art provides supplemental monies for painting supplies for students who for economic reasons may be hindered from working to their full potential. Any undergraduate student with need, regardless of major, enrolled in a departmental studio art painting class during the fall and/or spring semesters is eligible. Students can contact their course instructor or the student services specialist for further information.