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College of Arts and Sciences

Art History Foreign Study

boston college fine arts department

Students normally come to a Fine Arts major in Sophomore or even Junior year, hoping to complete the course work within a short period. The department tries to assist them in doing so with close supervision, as well as encouragement to take several Art History courses in approved programs abroad. Art History majors should plan their study abroad courses in consultation with the department.

No prerequisites are required, although students are encouraged to take Introduction to Art History (ARTH1101/ARTH1102) as a foundation for further study. An extensive survey abroad would serve as a substitute. Students are limited to one or two semesters abroad, but prior to Senior year.

Since our department would like to offer its own stamp on the Art History major, Fine Arts prefers that the student take no more than three courses abroad. Most often, courses taken abroad are used as major electives. These courses should not be taken in Senior year, since the Senior Seminar is crucial to the completion of the major. In selective programs, e.g., in Florence, the students would be allowed to take an additional course or two with the prior approval of the department.

The most successful programs have been those in Europe—Italy, France, Spain, and England.

The department believes strongly that the study of Art History in a location where there are first-class museums and programs will greatly enhance the student's understanding of the works of art in context. We will try to accommodate most worthwhile programs and make suggestions for the most effective ones based on former students' past experiences.

Professor Kenneth Craig is the Art History Study Abroad Advisor and contact for course approval.

Criteria for Arts Core in Art History Courses Taken Abroad

As of September 2016, art history courses taken abroad will no longer be accepted for the Arts Core, except in the case of a few pre-approved art history courses taught on BC Study Abroad Programs (please inquire with the Office of International Programs). For courses taken before fall 2016, please follow these guidelines.

For an Art History course taken abroad to count for Arts Core credit, the course must be approved by the Art History Study Abroad Advisor. Only courses that fulfill the following objectives will be considered for approval:

  • Provide a broad introduction to the discipline of art history — upper level courses, highly specialized classes, and thematic seminars are not accepted
  • Introduce the student to the chronological framework of art historical periods by studying several centuries for pre-modern courses or several artistic movements for modern courses
  • Teach the student about artistic developments in multiple geographic locations or cities (courses primarily studying one city are not accepted)
  • Teach the student fundamental skills of art historical inquiry including visual analysis, iconographic interpretation, analysis of media and techniques, and contextual interpretation
  • Teach the student how to write about art through a paper assignment