Requirements

Art History

Art History Major

The art history major consists of ten courses, excluding first-year seminars.

Required Courses
ARTH 1100Introduction to Art History1
Select one course in African, Asian, or pre-Columbian art history numbered 1103 or higher1
ARTH 1300
Introduction to the Arts of Ancient Mexico and Peru
ARTH 2190
Culture and Crisis in Modern and Contemporary Japanese Art
ARTH 2200
Art and Revolution in Modern China
ARTH 2210
From Mao to Now: Contemporary Chinese Art
ARTH 2390
Sacred Icons and Museum Pieces: The Powers of Central African Art
ARTH 2710
Power and Politics in Pre-modern Chinese Art
ARTH 3190 How to Imagine East Asian Modernisms?
ARTH 3210
Art for the People: Between Propaganda and Protest in East Asia
Select one of the following:1
ARTH 2090/ARCH 1101
Greek Archaeology
ARTH 2100/ARCH 1102
Roman Archaeology
ARTH 2120
Medieval Foundations: The Beginnings of Western Medieval, Byzantine, and Islamic Art
ARTH 2130
Art of Three Faiths: Christian, Jewish, and Islamic Art and Architecture, Third to Twelfth Century
ARTH 2140
The Gothic World
ARTH 2150
Illuminated Manuscripts and Early Printed Books
ARTH 2260
Northern European Art of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries
ARTH 2270 Painting with Light: Stained glass in the Middle Ages and Beyond
Select one of the following:1
ARTH 2220
The Medici's Italy: Art, Politics, and Religion, 1300-1600
ARTH 2230
The Arts of Venice
ARTH 2240
Mannerism
ARTH 2320
Art in the Age of Velazquez, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio
Select one of the following:1
ARTH 2410 Sugar, Tobacco, Rice and Rum: Art and Identity in Atlantic World, 1620-1812
ARTH 2420
Realism and Its Discontents: European Art, 1839-1900
ARTH 2440
Shoot, Snap, Instagram: A History of Photography in America
ARTH 2450
American Furniture by Design
ARTH 2520
Modern Art
ARTH 2540
Contemporary Art
ARTH 2620
American Art I: Colonial Period to the Civil War
ARTH 2640
American Art from the Civil War to 1945
Select one additional intermediate course (numbered 2000–2969)1
Select two advanced seminars (numbered 3000–3999)2
Select two additional ARTH courses numbered higher than 1100 a2

Art history majors are also encouraged to take courses in foreign languages and literature, history, philosophy, religion, and the other arts.

A maximum of two courses for one semester of study from another college or university may count toward the major in art history with departmental approval of that transfer credit. If a student studies away for a full academic year, three courses from another college or university may count toward their art history major with departmental approval.

Students who received a minimum score of four on the Art History Advanced Placement exam are exempt from taking ARTH 1100 Introduction to Art History, but they must take an additional course to replace ARTH 1100 Introduction to Art History. In order to receive this placement, students must have their advanced placement scores officially reported to the Office of the Registrar by the end of their sophomore year at Bowdoin.

Art History Minor

The minor consists of five courses, excluding first-year seminars.

Required Courses
ARTH 1100Introduction to Art History1
Select two intermediate courses (numbered 2000–2969)2
Select one advanced course (numbered 3000–3999)1
Select one additional art history course numbered higher than 1100 b1

Only one course for one semester of study from another college or university may count toward a student’s art history minor with departmental approval.

Students majoring or minoring in both Art History and Visual Arts may only double-count one Art History course. 

Courses that count toward the major and minor must be taken for regular letter grades (not Credit/D/Fail), and students must earn grades of C- or better in these courses.

Seminars in Art History

The seminars are intended to utilize the scholarly interests of members of the department and provide an opportunity for advanced work for selected students who have successfully completed enough of the regular courses to possess a sufficient background. The department does not expect to give all, or in some cases any, seminars each semester. As the seminars are varied, a given topic may be offered only once, or its form changed considerably from time to time.

Visual Arts

Visual Arts Major

The major consists of eleven courses.

Required Courses
VART 1101Drawing I1
Select two of the following:2
VART 1201
Printmaking I
VART 1401
Photography I
VART 1601
Sculpture I
VART 3902Advanced Studio1
Select one 3000-level visual arts course labelled generally as Guided Independent Studio Practice c1
Select four additional visual arts electives d4
Select two courses in art history2

Visual Arts Minor

The minor consists of six courses.

Required Courses
VART 1101Drawing I1
Select one of the following:1
VART 1201
Printmaking I
VART 1401
Photography I
VART 1601
Sculpture I
Select three additional visual arts courses e3
Select one course in art history1

Courses that count toward the major and minor must be taken for regular letter grades (not Credit/D/Fail), and students must earn grades of C- or better in these courses.

A maximum of two studio visual arts courses and one art history course (for a total of three courses) taken at another college or university may count toward the major or minor in visual arts with departmental approval of that transfer credit.

Students who receive a four on the Studio Art: 2-D Design, Studio Art: 3-D Design, or Studio Art: Drawing AP exams, and complete VART 1101 Drawing I, VART 1201 Printmaking I, VART 1401 Photography I, or VART 1601 Sculpture I with a minimum grade of B-, are eligible to receive a general credit toward their degree, but not major/minor credit. If a student has scores for more than one exam, only 1 total credit will be awarded. For information on credit for IB scores, please see the visual arts department. In order to receive credit for advanced placement work, students must have their scores officially reported to the Office of the Registrar by the end of their sophomore year at Bowdoin.

Visual arts courses without prerequisites are frequently oversubscribed; registration preference is then given to first- and second-year students, as well as to juniors and seniors fulfilling requirements of the visual arts major or minor.

Additional Information and Department Policies

Interdisciplinary Majors

Art history participates in interdisciplinary programs in art history and archaeology and in art history and visual arts. Art history majors may do a coordinate major with environmental studies or education. See the Interdisciplinary Majors.

Visual arts participates in interdisciplinary programs in art history and visual arts. Visual art majors may do a coordinate major with environmental studies or education. See the Interdisciplinary Majors.

In order to receive credit for Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate work, students must have their scores officially reported to the Office of the Registrar by the end of their sophomore year at Bowdoin. 


This is an excerpt from the official Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook. View the Catalogue