Off-Campus Study Guidelines

The art history department encourages students to study abroad during their junior year.

Courses and Programs

Students interested in study away should speak with a faculty member for advice on suitable programs, and to discuss the process for receiving credit toward the major for courses taken away from Bowdoin. Of the ten courses required for the art history major, at least eight must be taken at Bowdoin; for the five courses required for the minor, a minimum of four must be taken at Bowdoin. With rare exceptions, ARTH 1100 should be taken at Bowdoin before off-campus study. Upper-level seminar requirements must be taken at Bowdoin.

Approval Before Going Away

A student who takes a non-Bowdoin art history course away, to fulfill a requirement in art history, MUST have an art history professor APPROVE the away course IN WRITING PRIOR to going away. The course(s) must be successfully completed with a grade of C- or better. The Art History Department Study Away Approval Form is IN ADDITION to the Study Away Application and the Student Records Transfer of Credit Forms.

Approval Upon Return

Upon returning to Bowdoin and after the department receives the away transcript, it is THE STUDENT'S RESPONSIBILITY to obtain a Study Away Transfer Credit Approval Form from the art history academic coordinator and request verification from the art history professor who approved the away course originally that the student will receive art history requirement credit.

If the student does not follow up with the professor on his/her return, the course(s) away will not be given art history requirement credit. In some cases this will mean that the student will not meet his/her major/minor requirement.

Eleanor Brakewood

Eleanor Brakewood

Class of: 2019

Location: University of Edinburgh

Major(s): Art History

Minor(s): Biology

I directly enrolled to the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland. I’m a rising senior with an art history major and a biology minor, and I’m on the premed track.

What was your favorite course and why?

My favorite course abroad was a contemporary Scottish art course called “Scottish Art in the Age of Change (1945-2000)”. I had a fantastic professor who was super engaging (I think he may have been recommend to me by Professor Perkinson), the class was taught seminar-style, it was quite small (~10 people) with only me and one other American. Many courses available to study abroad students are filled with exchange students, so it was exciting to be in a class with more “home” students and, because of the content of the class, there were more Scottish than English students, which is also a rarity at Edinburgh! Plus, the artists we studied were fascinating (I wrote about two of them in a class when I got back to Bowdoin), we took museum trips and got to see most of the art in person, and I felt as though I was studying a very niche genre of art that had space for new insight! Definitely a more overlooked time and place for art history.

What was the highlight(s) of your study-abroad experience?

The highlight of study abroad was my ability to travel around both Europe and Scotland. I only had class Tuesday and Wednesday, so I had loads of time to travel. I did a Scotland trip when my mom and grandmother visited me, and we spent a week road tripping through the country. It’s probably the most stunning landscapes I’ve ever seen! I also visited a lot of art in Europe’s major museums (The Prado in Madrid, the Louvre, the D’Orsay, and l’Orangerie in Paris, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Mauritshuis in the Hague, the National Gallery and the Courtauld in London, the Ghent altarpiece, and more that I’m sure I’m forgetting!). That truly was one of the best parts of abroad and a major reason I chose to be in Europe - for the access to other countries and their art. 

Why should Bowdoin students consider your program?

I chose Edinburgh because I was supposed to be able to take both art history and biology courses (that didn’t end up working, unfortunately, but that was the goal). I think the UK allows students interested in multiple fields to pursue different interests at the same time. Directly enrolling also forces you in a lot of ways to make friends with home students because you don’t have a program of Americans to rely on. Edinburgh is a great city because it’s small, accessible, and beautiful. It’s far more manageable than London but still has access to all of western Europe super easily with trains and planes.

Eliza Goodpasture on her laptop in the library.

Eliza Goodpasture

Class of: 2018

Location: CET Siena

I lived with 2 Italian roommates (as opposed to a homestay) and can’t recommend it enough. My roommates were incredibly kind and helpful in teaching me how to be a young person in Italy, and introduced me to their fellow students at the University of Siena. I cooked for myself, and I loved grocery shopping every week. It was great to preserve a sense of independence, which many of my friends felt they lost while living with a host family. But I was jealous of their multi-course home-cooked meals!

What was your favorite course and why?

Sienese Art and Architecture, because we spent most classes out in the city or in surrounding towns looking at art in person, in the spaces it was made to be seen in. 

What was the highlight(s) of your study-abroad experience?

The opportunity to live in a Tuscan hill town, which I will never again have any reason to live in, was incredible. Siena is a medieval city, compact and ancient-feeling, and doesn’t really have any modern developments or industry. The main business of the city is a bank that was started in the fifteenth century. Getting to be a part of that community for a few months, rather than live in a global city that will always be accessible to me, was really special.

Why should Bowdoin students consider your program?

My program was not the highlight of my experience — it was going through a transition year, and is super small (there were only 6 other people my semester). It ended up being a great social situation for me, but I was not blown away by the leadership or organization of the program. However, the classes still taught me a lot, and whatever administrative problems the program had were definitely outweighed by my fantastic living experience in Siena.