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Art, Art History, and Film

morrissey college of arts and sciences

Undergraduate Program Description

The department offers three majors: Art History, Film Studies, and Studio Art. Minors are offered in each area as well. Internships are available in local museums and galleries. For details, inquire at the Art, Art History, and Film Department office.

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Major Requirements: Art History

The Art History major offers undergraduate students an opportunity to acquire specialized knowledge and understanding of visual artifacts from prehistory to the present day, from Western and non-Western cultures. As a humanistic discipline, the history of art closely relates the analysis of visual culture to other modes of intellectual inquiry; accordingly, art history students and faculty frequently participate in interdisciplinary programs across the University.

Contributing to the broad foundation that constitutes a liberal arts education, departmental courses prepare students for graduate work leading to professional careers in the arts, including teaching and research, art criticism, museum curatorship, art conservation, museum directorship, and art appraising. They also prepare the student to hold positions in commercial galleries and auction houses.

The skill sets developed in art historical studies, however, do not apply exclusively to the analysis of works of art. The ability to evaluate material evidence, to study the cultural contexts in which it was discovered, to assess critically the various interpretations works of art have elicited, and to fashion clear and persuasive arguments in kind are valuable in any program of study or professional situation. In a world increasingly dominated by images, visual literacy is as indispensable to navigating one’s everyday environment as it is to analyzing products of high culture.

To tailor departmental offerings to suit their specific needs, students majoring in art history plan integrated programs in consultation with their faculty advisors and are encouraged to take courses in history, philosophy, theology, and other fields related to their specialization. For those contemplating graduate study in art history, it is highly recommended that language courses in French and German be taken as early as possible.

For the Art History major, a minimum of eleven courses for 33 credits must be earned in the following way:

  • ARTH1101–ARTH1102 Introduction to Art History (6 credits)
  • ARTH1103 or ARTH1104 Art History Workshop or ARTH1130, Intersection of Science and Painting or any ARTS course (3 credits)

    These three courses should normally be completed by the end of the sophomore year.

  • Eight additional courses, at least three must have ARTH numbers at or above the 3000 level, at least one at the ARTH4000 level (in addition to ARTH4401), and no more than three at the ARTH2000 level. At least one course must be chosen from each of the following periods: 
    • Ancient Art
    • Medieval Art
    • Renaissance through Eighteenth Century Art
    • Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Art
    • Non-Western Art

ARTH4401 Seminar in Art Historical Research (3 credits), is required and must be taken during the junior or senior year. This course is counted as one of the required 11 courses discussed above and counts as one of the two required at the 4000 level. Please note: This course is offered only in the fall semester of each year. 

Students having earned a score of five on the AP exam may have the option of waiving the ARTH1101 and ARTH1102 requirement, although the same overall number of courses (11) for the major remains unchanged. Students having earned a score of four on the AP exam may waive either ARTH1101 or ARTH1102, but not both.

Students interested in majoring in Art History should contact Professor Craig, Art History major Coordinator, Devlin 424, 617-552-3153,

Art History Major: Non-Western Track

The Art, Art History, and Film department also offers students the option of choosing a non-Western track for the major. The requirements are identical to the Western track (see above) in terms of the number and level of courses, except for these distribution requirements:

  • Two courses must be in the area of Islamic art
  • Two courses in the area of East Asian art
  • At least one course in another non-Western field, such as African, Pre-Columbian, or ancient Near Eastern art.

Those students choosing this option are encouraged to select Aurelia Campbell or Kyrah Daniels as their advisor.

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Major Requirements: Film Studies

The Film Studies major applies the liberal arts tradition to the present-day culture of images and technologies. Courses in film history, theory, and criticism enable students to become active, selective, and ethical participants in a world progressively more dominated by the media of visual communication.

Research-based studies in American and world cinema explore the mutual influence of the films and their respective diverse cultures and historic periods. Familiarity with several of the great films and filmmakers provides a basis for understanding the relationship between contemporary artists and industrial society. Each student will have an opportunity to apply this theoretical knowledge to the experience of film making and exhibition both through programs in scripting, photography, production, and digital editing; and through an extensive internship program in the Boston area.

Students are encouraged to widen and deepen their understanding of the medium through additional courses in Art History, Studio Art, Theater, and Communication. While this Film Studies major provides a solid foundation for further studies and professional involvement in the industry, it also offers the liberal arts student a broad-based preparation for other career options.

For more information, contact John Michalczyk, Director, Film Studies major Coordinator, Devlin Hall 420,

For the major in Film Studies there is a requirement of twelve courses, eight of which must be at the 2000 level or above:

  • FILM2202  Introduction to Film Art

           At least two courses in American Film History:

  • FILM2280 Early Years
  • FILM2281 Studio Era
  • FILM2292 Post-Classical Period
  • FILM3389 American Directors Series
  • FILM3393 Hollywood’s Golden Age

           At least two production courses:

  • FILM1161 Photography I
  • FILM2261 Photography II
  • FILM1171 Filmmaking I
  • FILM2273 Filmmaking II
  • FILM2274 Digital Non-Linear Editing
  • FILM2276 Art and Digital Technology

           Six electives, at least two at the 3000 or 4000 level:

  • FILM2277 Russian Cinema
  • FILM2282 Political Fiction Cinema
  • FILM2283 History of European Film
  • FILM2284 Eastern European Film
  • FILM3391 American Film Genres
  • FILM3301 Screenwriting
  • FILM3312 World Cinema
  • FILM3380 Latin American Cinema
  • FILM3381 Propaganda Film
  • FILM3382 Documentary Film
  • FILM4482 Film Criticism and Theory

           Senior year:

  • FILM4400+ Senior Project

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Major Requirements: Studio Art

The Studio Art major is designed both for the student artist and the student interested in art. It teaches how to make art and an appreciation of how art is made. The department courses are conceived as an integral part of the university curriculum, and the studio major provides a solid basis for continuing work in graduate school and in art-related fields such as design, art criticism, teaching, conservation, art therapy, publishing, exhibition design, and advertising. The major has a track for Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences students and a second track for Lynch School of Education and Human Development students who are double majors.

The Studio Art major provides students with an opportunity to develop the techniques, visual sensibility, and historical understanding necessary for working with various materials. An exploration of the meanings and ideas generated by the things we make and an awareness of the process of making are essential parts of the program.

An integral part of the Studio Art major’s undergraduate education is the senior project. Focused in their area of concentration, senior projects are exhibited on campus at the end of the academic year.

Students intending to major in Studio Art are encouraged to begin the major in their freshman year; the major must be declared before the beginning of a student’s junior year.  Students must have taken at least four semesters of work relating to the senior project prior to their senior year.

For more information, contact Professor Sheila Gallagher, Studio Art major Coordinator, Devlin Hall 401B, 617-552-0482,

Majors are required to take a minimum of twelve courses for a total of 36 credits, to be distributed as indicated below:

Required introductory course for all majors:

  • ARTS1103 Issues and Approaches to Studio Art

           Two of the following for a total of 6 credits (In consultation with an advisor, one of these classes should set the direction and future course choices of the major.):

  • ARTS1101 Drawing I
  • ARTS1102 Painting I
  • ARTS1141 Ceramics I
  • ARTS1150 Painting Plus Collage
  • ARTS1161 Photography I

           One of the following:

  • ARTH3356 Art Since 1945
  • ARTS2211 Hot Off the Shelf

           Six additional studio art courses:

  • (for a total of 18 credits) at the 2000 level or above, of which three courses (9 credits) must be at the 3000 level)

           Required courses for all senior majors:

  • ARTS4498 Senior Project I
  • ARTS4473 Senior Project II

           Students must have taken at least four semesters of work relating to the senior project prior to their senior year.

           In addition to the required courses, the following courses are recommended:

  • ARTH1101 Art: Prehistoric to Middle Ages
  • ARTH1102 Art: Renaissance to Modern
  • ARTH1109 Clues to Seeing
  • ARTH2257 Nineteenth-Century Art
  • ARTH2258 Modern Art: Nineteenth-Twentieth Century
  • ARTH3356 Art Since 1945

Summer travel and summer courses are recommended for enrichment. Students should consult with a departmental advisor about these opportunities.

Additional stipulations for the Studio major:

No more than two independent studies in the field of concentration.

No more than two courses taken during the junior year abroad or at another institution may count toward the major. Transfer students should work out credits with the department major advisor.

Courses to be counted in the major must be taken for a grade (no pass/fail grades).

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Art History Minor

The minor in Art History will provide the student with an introduction to the art of Western and non-Western cultures. In addition to the two introductory courses (ARTH1101 and ARTH1102), the student will have a choice of two 2000-level courses and at least two 3000-level courses for a total of four upper-level classes covering specific art-historical periods. In these courses, the student will be exposed to the methods of the discipline and will complete a research paper. Students interested in declaring a minor can contact Professor Stephanie Leone, Art History minor Coordinator, Devlin Hall, 422, 617-552-6459,

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Film Studies Minor

The Film Studies minor enables students to develop a basic awareness of film as a contemporary medium of communication. The minor consists of the Introduction to Film Art, one course in history or criticism, one course in production, and three electives in Film Studies which enable a student to design a personalized area of concentration.

Requirements normally include FILM2202 Introduction to Film Art, then one production course, and one course in history or criticism. A selection of three additional courses as electives from the offerings of the film studies program allows the student to pursue individual interests and develop a level of competence in one particular area, such as filmmaking, digital editing, scriptwriting, photography, history of film, or film criticism.

Students interested in the Film Studies minor may contact the Director, Professor John Michalczyk, Film Studies minor Coordinator, Devlin Hall, 420, 617-552-3895,

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Studio Art Minor

The minor in Studio Art offers students the opportunity to pursue a course of study in ceramics, painting, drawing, or photography. There are features of the minor program that resemble, in an abbreviated way, aspects of our majors studio program which we have found to be successful. The required Advanced Studio Seminar class, for example, will function analogously to our Senior Project. This curriculum of six courses is designed to encourage an in-depth investigation of one medium, rather than a generalized sampling of many. The course structure aims at having the individual student develop the artistic techniques and conceptual visual sensibility necessary for working as an artist today. It should be noted students will not be permitted to begin the Studio minor after their junior year. Students who are interested in declaring a minor can contact Professor Alston Conley, Studio Art minor Coordinator, Devlin Hall 432,

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Information for First Year Majors

First Year Art History majors should take ARTH1101 Art from Prehistoric Times to the High Middle Ages with ARTH1103 Art History Workshop. First Year Studio Art majors are advised to select two studio courses from ARTS1101, ARTS1102, or ARTS1161 and one art history course from ARTH1102, ARTH2257, ARTH2258, or ARTH2285. First year Film Studies majors should take FILM2202 Introduction to Film, a required foundation course to ground the student in film language, history, and criticism.

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Information for Study Abroad

The Boston College Art, Art History, and Film Department offers study abroad options for Art History, Film Studies, and Studio Art majors. The department assists students with their options under close supervision, as well as providing encouragement.

The Art, Art History, and Film Department believes strongly that study abroad is worthwhile, exposing students to not only other cultures but other forms and traditions of artistic expression. At the same time, it cautions students to consider their growth and development in their specific major and to integrate study abroad with their chosen area of concentration in consultation with their department advisor.

The Art History department advisor is Kenneth Craig, Devlin Hall 424, 617-552-3153, The Film Studies department advisor is John Michalczyk, Devlin Hall 434, 617-552-3895, The Studio Art department advisor is Alston Conley, Devlin 432, 617-552-2237,

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