Full-Major Requirements

Minimum Requirement: 13 c.u.

1. General Surveys: 2 c.u. Selected from the following list:

ARTH 101, ARTH 102, ARTH 103, ARTH 104 and ARTH 106

Prospective majors are advised to take these surveys early in their undergraduate program and to discuss a course of study with the undergraduate chair when they begin to consider majoring in art history, preferably in the fall of sophomore year.

NB: College students are advised that these surveys taught as LPS courses (night courses) can only be counted toward the College major if taken before declaration; CLPS students may select from either the College or CLPS surveys.

2. Historical Distribution Areas: 5 c.u.
Courses numbered 200-level or higher. One course in five of the following six fields: Ancient I, Ancient II, Medieval, Renaissance/Baroque, Modern I, Modern II.

3. Geographical Distribution Areas: 1 c.u.
Course numbered 200-level or higher, one course from these four fields: Islamic, South Asian, East Asian, or African/Oceanic/North American.

4. Methods seminar: 1 c.u.

5. Seminars: 2 c.u.
Two seminars at the 300- or 500-level; may be double-counted (but not double-credited) toward the historical and geographical distributions.

6. Courses of Choice: 2 c.u. to 4 c.u. in selected fields of student’s interest.

7. Up to three courses for the distribution may be accepted as transfer credits, from Penn-approved study abroad courses, or from another department; these should be chosen in consultation with and must be approved by the undergraduate chair. Transfer credits must first be approved by the transfer credit officer.

8. Optional program for Honors:
Students writing honors theses are required to take 1 thesis credit in the Autumn and 1 thesis credit in the Spring semester of their senior year.
See the "Honors" links on these pages for more information.

9. The Department of the History of Art does not require majors to enroll in specific major-related courses given in other departments or programs. Nevertheless, it is expected that majors will seek to broaden their comprehension of the cultural and historical origins of the arts with elective courses. The undergraduate chair assists majors in choosing electives suited to their areas of particular interest. Majors who intend to continue their studies in graduate school are encouraged to select electives in literature, history, and regional studies, among others.

10. Language requirements are not a formal part of the major, but all majors are strongly advised to achieve an advanced level in French, German or field-specific languages. A reading knowledge of French and German is useful for advanced work in many courses offered for the major and both are essential for graduate work in many fields. In addition, languages necessary to continue work in some fields should be acquired as early as possible (for example, ancient Greek, Latin, Italian, Japanese, Arabic, Hindi, Sanskrit, among others).

11. Double Counting: ARTH courses taken at the 200 level may be counted for either historic distribution OR geographic distribution, but not both. Seminars taken at the 300 and 500 level may be double counted for seminar distribution and historical distribution or geographic distribution. 

Course Distribution Guidelines for History of Art Majors

Geographic Area Requirement Courses

One course from any area. This area may be satisfied with 300- or 500-level seminars in Islamic, S. Asian, E. Asian, or African Art. You MAY double count a 300- or 500-level seminar for the Geographic Area Req. and the Seminar Req. 


235. Visual Culture of the Islamic World (satisfies Sector IV: Humanites and Social Sciences and Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement))

435. Medieval Islamic Art and Architecture

436. Later Islamic Art and Architecture

South Asian:

211. Art in India

212 Indian Temple Architecture I

412. Indian Temple Architecture II

East Asian:

213. Arts of Japan  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

214. Arts of China  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

215. Japanese Painting  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

217: Chinese Painting  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

258. Early Modern Japanese Art and the City of Edo  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

280. Twentieth-Century East Asian Art (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

290. Post-War Japanese Cinema (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)


209. African Art  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)


Historical Period Requirement Courses

One course each in five of the six periods.

Ancient I:

222. Art of Ancient Iran

223. Art of the Ancient Near East  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

224. Art of Mesopotamia  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

Ancient II:

205.  Introduction to Mediterranean Archaeology (satisfies Sector II: History and Tradition and Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

220. Minoan Cycladic and Mycenaean Art (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

221. Greek Vase Painting

225. Greek Art and Artifact  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

226. Roman Art and Artifact  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

228. Greek Architecture and Urbanism

229. Roman Architecture and Urbanism

425. Achaemenid Aftermath

426. Late Antique Roman Art

427: Roman Sculpture

429. Roman Art  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)


232. Byzantine Art and Architecture

233. Eastern Medieval Architecture

240. Medieval Art  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

241. Intro to Medieval Architecture

242. Pilgrims and Crusaders

432. Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture

440. Medieval Art in Italy to 1400

441. Early Medieval Architecture

435. Medieval Islamic Art and Architecture

442. Medieval Architecture


250. Visual Arts of the Italian Renaissance

252. Venice and the Mediterranean

254. Global Renaissance and Baroque

256. Southern Renaissance and Baroque Architecture

259. Early Prints

260. Jewish Art

261. Northern Renaissance Art

262. Netherlandish Art

263. German Art

264. Bruegel to Vermeer (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

265. Northern Baroque Art

436. Later Islamic Art and Architecture

461. Northern Renaissance Art II

465 Northern Baroque Art II

Modern I:

258. Early Modern Japanese Art and the City Edo (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

231. Neoclassical Architecture

270. The Modern City

271. Modern Architecture I  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

274. Facing America (satisfies Cultural Diversity in the United States Requirement)

275. Revolution to Realism: 1770-1870

276. Impressionism: European Art 1870-1900

277. Rise of Modernity: Arts of the Nineteenth Century, 1860-1900

278. American Art, 1775-1940  (satisfies Cultural Diversity in the United States Requirement

Modern II:

274. Facing America (satisfies Cultural Diversity in the United States Requirement)

278. American Art, 1775-1940  (satisfies Cultural Diversity in the United States Requirement)

280. Twentieth-Century East Asian Art (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

281. Modern Architecture II  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

286. Art of the European Avant Gardes, 1900-1940

288. Mid-Century Modernism

290. Post-War Japanese Cinema  (satisfies Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement)

291. History and Theory of Animation

294. Contemporary Art

296. Contemporary Art