Bachelor of Arts in the History of Art and Architecture

Degree Overview | Degree Requirements | Required Courses

Degree Overview

Art History majors explore world history, culture, and society through art and architecture. Students and faculty maintain deep connections with the university's broad research community through long-standing collaborations with the museums and research units across campus. Through object-based learning, we celebrate cultural differences and the colorful spectrum of human creativity and expression. Become a true global citizen as you develop skills in appreciating visual and material culture.

Explore career paths in Art History

Declare Art History Major

Degree Requirements (56 Credits)

  • Lower-Division Art History Courses: 16 graded credits
  • Upper-Division Courses: 32 graded upper-division credits
  • ARH 411: Critical Approaches to Art History Study: 4 graded credits
  • Studio Art: 4 credits

All art history courses must be taken for letter grades and must be passed with a C- or better.

Art History majors must complete the language requirement as described under the University’s Bachelor of Arts Requirements. If a student is considering pursuing graduate studies in art history, the language chosen ideally should be one that is useful for study in the student’s research area of interest.

Stay on track with your degree requirements by using the Art History Major Progress Sheet.

Required Courses

Lower-Division Art History Course Surveys (16 graded credits)

100-200 level courses, ARH 314 or ARH 315

Take any four courses from the following list of lower-division courses:
  • ARH 101 Global Masterpieces
  • ARH 150 Introduction to Visual Culture
  • ARH 204 Western Art I: Ancient
  • ARH 205 Western Art II: Medieval to Baroque
  • ARH 206 Western Art III: Baroque to Present
  • ARH 207 History of Indian Art
  • ARH 208 History of Chinese Art
  • ARH 209 History of Japanese Art
  • ARH 210 Contemporary Asian Art and Architecture
  • ARH 211 Survey of Latin American Arts
  • ARH 314 History of World Architecture I: Prehistory to Gothic
  • ARH 315 History of World Architecture II: 1400 to present

Why do I need lower-division courses?

The lower-division courses teach the broader context to the more focused investigations conducted in the upper-division courses. They also provide opportunities for you to explore new cultures and artistic traditions, so that you are better informed about the world and may discover interests you never knew you had.

Upper-Division Courses (32 graded credits)

300- and 400-level courses, except ARH 314, ARH 315, and ARH 411 which cannot be used as upper-division courses

Level requirement: Of the eight required upper-division courses, at least four must be taken at the 400-level.
Distribution requirement: Of the eight required upper-division courses, two courses must be taken in any three of the following four chronological breadth areas (24 credits):
  1. Ancient
  2. Medieval
  3. Early Modern
  4. Modern/Contemporary

What is a “distribution requirement” and why do we have it?

Art history is a transdisciplinary and global study that also covers a broad timespan from the ancient to contemporary periods. The more you learn about the broader world and different time periods, the better equipped you will be to gain a deeper understanding of the aspect of art/architectural history that you are truly passionate about. In addition to depth, your breadth prepares you to engage and connect with people of different cultural backgrounds regardless of the career path you choose to pursue upon graduation.

Instructors and the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) are responsible for defining which chronological breadth area his/her course fulfills.
The complete list of chronological breadth areas assigned to each course is posted on the current students blog. Note: when a single course matches more than one chronological breadth area, courses may fulfill only one chronological breath requirement at a time.
Residency Requirement: Of the eight required upper-division courses, at least four must be taken in residence at UO.
Elective requirement: The remaining two upper-division courses are electives and may be taken in any area.

ARH 411: Critical Approaches to Art History Study (4 graded credits)

Required for all art history majors, typically offered in fall term. Was formerly ARH 300.

What is ARH 411 and why is it important?

In ARH 411 (Critical Approaches to Art Historical Study), you will acquire the methodological toolkit to become an independent thinker. The toolkit will also help you succeed in the research and writing assignments you’ll be asked to carry out in our upper-division courses. ARH 411 is only offered once a year, so plan to enroll in it at the earliest opportunity.

Studio Art (4 credits)

Majors must take a minimum of 4 credits in fine arts (studio-based classes, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, or design).

NOTE: The department adopted new requirements (listed above) for BA students entering in fall 2017 and subsequent years. Students who entered before this date may elect to follow the new requirements by contacting the department.

If you were admitted prior to fall 2017 and need to review the previous degree requirements, please refer to your degree guide in DuckWeb or the 2016 Art History Major Requirements

Further Questions?

Requirements, Honors Program, and Awards/Scholarships: Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (

CoreEd Requirements, Student Life, and Help Getting Started: Chat with an advisor at College of Design Student Services