Professor Krista Gulbransen gives a lecture to an auditorium full of people on three portraits presented on a screen.
Assistant Professor Krista Gulbransen gives a lecture on portraits of the Mughal Emperor Akbar venerating the sun, November 2018.

Requirements for Majoring and Minoring in Art History

A student who enters Whitman without any prior college-level preparation in art history will have to complete 36 credits to fulfill the requirements for the art history major. Courses completed in the major apply to the fine arts, humanities, and cultural pluralism (selected courses) distribution areas.

2022-23 Art History Catalog PDF

The Art History Major

  • 36 Credits 
  • Required Courses:
    • Art History 100-level course (4 credits, with a maximum of 8 credits counted towards the major)
    • Art History 203 (4 credits)
    • Art History 210, 211, 228, or 229 (8 credits)
    • Art History 300-level courses (8 credits)
    • Art History 490 (4 credits)
  • Electives: Art History courses, transfer credits, or approved OCS or Whitman courses that focus on the functions and/or production of visual culture, including studio art courses (8 credits)
    • No more than 4 credits taken at the 100-level may be counted as an elective.
    • A maximum of 6 credits of independent study and thesis courses in Art History may be taken as electives: Art History 291, 292, 421, 422, 493, 498.
  • If an Art History major is also an Art major or minor, no course may satisfy both major and minor requirements.
  • Thesis: Students interested in writing a thesis enroll in Art History 421 (2 credits) in their final fall semester to develop an independent study proposal and annotated bibliography. If approved by Art History faculty, the proposal moves to the thesis writing stage as Art History 493 (4 credits) for the senior's spring semester.
  • Senior Requirements:
    • Art History 490
    • A written critical review of a piece of art historical scholarship
    • An oral object analysis of a visual text or artifact

Art History Major Worksheet PDF

Graduating with Honors in the Major

  • Students do not apply for admission to candidacy for honors
  • Receive and A- or higher in Senior Thesis (ARTH 493)
  • Pass the senior assessment with distinction
  • Attain a 3.30 cumulative GPA and a 3.50 major GPA by graduation.
  • The department will notify the Registrar's Office of students attaining Honors in Major Study by the third week in April for spring honors thesis candidates, and students' registration will then be changed from Senior Thesis to Honors Thesis (ARTH 498)
  • An acceptable digital copies (2) of the Honors Thesis must be submitted to Penrose Library no later than Reading Day

The Art History Minor

  • 20 credits
  • Required Courses:
    • Art History 100-level course (4 credits) 
    • Art History 203 (4 credits)
    • Art History 210, 211, 228, or 229 (4 credits)
    • Art History 300-level course or 490 (4 credits)
  • Electives: any 200- or 300-level Art History course or an approved OCS or Whitman course that focuses on the functions and/or production of visual culture, including studio art courses (4 credits)

Art History Learning Goals

  • Situate artists, movements, institutions, visual images, objects and built environments within appropriate conceptual frameworks.
  • Understand artists, movements, institutions, visual images, objects and built environments within historical contexts.
  • Generate original analyses of artists, movements, institutions, visual images, objects and built environments.
  • Express ideas through oral and written communication.
  • Know how to find and use appropriate sources and apply existing scholarship to analyzing visual images, objects and built environments.