BA in Art History

Catalog Year: 2024-2025

Banner Code: LA-BA-AH

Art History emphasizes the analysis of visual data in a historical context. Faculty expertise extends to many world regions—the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Mediterranean, South and Southeast Asia, China, and the Islamic world—and over all historical periods. Students apply what they learn through internship opportunities available in the Washington DC area, including the world-famous collections of the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institutions. Students go on to work in areas including museums, arts institutions, galleries, government and managerial positions. They also pursue further studies in fields including art history, library science, design technology, historic preservation, and fashion.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Honors in the Major

Eligibility

Majors who have completed 75 credits (a minimum of 15 credits in art history, with 6 credits taken at Mason) with an overall GPA of 3.50 and a GPA of 3.80 in art history are eligible to apply to graduate with honors in art history. Eligible students should apply to the undergraduate director by November 15 or April 15 with a statement of application including the names of two references from Mason art history faculty members. Transfer students should also submit transcripts. Not all applicants who meet the minimum requirements are guaranteed acceptance into honors in the major.

Honors Requirements

Students pursuing honors in the major complete ARTH 492 Honors Directed Readings and ARTH 493 Honors Directed Research, linked individualized courses that culminate in a research paper. Students must have completed at least 3 credits in the field (or with the professor) chosen for these honors courses. ARTH 492 Honors Directed Readings should be taken before ARTH 493 Honors Directed Research, but they may be taken concurrently. To graduate with honors in the major, students must earn a minimum GPA of 3.50 in honors courses and a minimum GPA of 3.50 in art history courses applied to the degree. The two honors courses (6 credits) may be applied toward the requirement of 33- to 34-credits in art history, but they cannot replace the 6 required credits in the following:

ARTH 400 Historiography and Methods of Research in Art History (Topic Varies) (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 420 Advanced Studies in Ancient Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 430 Advanced Studies in Medieval or Islamic Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 440 RS: Advanced Studies in Renaissance and Baroque Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 460 RS: Advanced Studies in 20th-Century European Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 471 Advanced Studies in Art of the United States (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 472 RS: Advanced Studies in 20th-Century Latin American Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 474 Advanced Studies in Contemporary Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 482 RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 495 RS: Curating an Exhibit (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 499 Advanced Studies in Art History (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 599 Special Topics in Art History 1-6

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

All art history majors are encouraged to pursue internships in art history (ARTH 393 Art History Internships) in their junior or senior year. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in a study abroad program. Students contemplating graduate study in art history should acquire a reading knowledge of French, German, or other appropriate research languages in consultation with an advisor.

Core Courses in the Major

Select one 3-credit survey course from the following: 3
History of Western Art I (Mason Core)
History of Western Art II (Mason Core)
Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core)
Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core)
ARTH 494 The Museum (Mason Core) 3
Select 15 credits from ARTH courses at the 300 level 1 15
Total Credits 21
1

In addition to ARTH courses, art history majors may use 3 credits of a 300-level HIST course to fulfill this requirement.

400-Level ARTH Courses
Select 6 credits in ARTH at the 400 level or above: 6
Historiography and Methods of Research in Art History (Topic Varies) (Mason Core)
Advanced Studies in Ancient Art (Mason Core)
Advanced Studies in Medieval or Islamic Art (Mason Core)
RS: Advanced Studies in Renaissance and Baroque Art (Mason Core)
RS: Advanced Studies in 20th-Century European Art (Mason Core)
Advanced Studies in Art of the United States (Mason Core)
RS: Advanced Studies in 20th-Century Latin American Art (Mason Core)
Advanced Studies in Contemporary Art (Mason Core)
RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art (Mason Core)
RS: Curating an Exhibit (Mason Core)
Advanced Studies in Art History (Mason Core)
Art and Visual Technology Course
Select one from the following: 3-4
Introduction to the Artist's Studio (Mason Core)
Two-Dimensional Design and Color (Mason Core)
Drawing I (Mason Core)
Painting I (Mason Core)
Printmaking I (Mason Core)
Darkroom Photography I (Mason Core)
Digital Photography I (Mason Core)
Sculpture I (Mason Core)
Total Credits 9-10

Elective in the Major

Select one 3-credit elective from any art history course 3
Total Credits 3

Writing-Intensive Requirement

The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated as "writing intensive" in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in art history fulfill the university's writing-intensive requirement by successfully completing 3 credits in any 400-level ARTH course.

Additional Electives

Any remaining credits may be completed with elective courses to bring the degree total to 120.

Upper Level Requirement

Students seeking a bachelor’s degree must apply at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above) toward graduation requirements.

College Level Requirements for the BA Degree

In addition to the Mason Core program, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill a college level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements (Mason Core requirements or requirements for the major).

Philosophy or Religious Studies
Select 3 credits from the following: 3
PHIL 1
1

Note that the following courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement:

  • PHIL 323 Classical Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 324 Modern Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 327 Contemporary Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 393 Humanities College to Career 
  • PHIL 460 Senior Seminar in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics


Additionally, PHIL 253RELI 235RELI 333, and RELI 339 cannot be used to fulfill both the philosophy/religious studies requirement and the Mason Core literature requirement.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select 3 credits of social and behavioral sciences from the following (additional to the Mason Core social and behavioral sciences requirement) 1 3
ANTH
CRIM
ECON
GOVT
HIST 2
LING
PSYC
SOCI
Or choose from the following GGS courses:
Major World Regions (Mason Core)
Human Geography (Mason Core)
Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies
Political Geography (Mason Core)
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)
GGS 304
Population Geography (Mason Core)
GGS 305
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of the United States
Geography of Latin America
Geography of Europe
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East
Geography of Eastern Europe and Russia
Urban Planning
Geography of Virginia
1

The two courses used to fulfill the combined college and Mason Core requirements must be from different disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. 

2

HIST 100 and HIST 125 may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

Foreign Language
Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language, fulfilled by: 1
Or achieving a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test
Or completing the following ASL three course sequence:
EDSE 115
American Sign Language (ASL) I
EDSE 116
American Sign Language (ASL) II
EDSE 219
American Sign Language (ASL) III
1

Students who are already proficient in a second language may be eligible for a waiver of this requirement. Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Non-Western Culture

Select 3 credits of an approved course in the study of a non-Western culture (additional to the Mason Core requirement in global understanding)

Select 3 credits (additional to Mason Core Global Understanding requirement) 1
ANTH 114 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 300 Civilizations 3
ANTH 302 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 307 Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 308 Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 309 Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 313 Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 314 Zombies 3
ANTH 317 East Asian Cultures 3
ANTH 330 Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western 3
ANTH 332 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 381 Medical Anthropology 3
ANTH 396 Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core) 3
ARAB 360 Topics in Arabic Cultural Production 3
ARAB 365 Black and Minority Cultures in Arabic Literature (Mason Core) 3
ARAB 420 Survey of Arabic Literature 3
ARAB 440 Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 203 Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 204 Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 206 Survey of African Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 317 The Black Pharaohs: Art and Archaeology of Ancient Nubia (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 318 Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt 3
ARTH 319 Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 320 Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 382 Arts of India (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 383 Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 384 Arts of China (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 385 Arts of Japan (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 482 RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 318 Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 320 Contemporary Chinese Film 3
CHIN 325 Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 470 Special Topics in Chinese Studies 3
DANC 118 Global Dance Perspectives I (Mason Core) 3
ECON 361 Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core) 3
ECON 362 African Economic Development (Mason Core) 3
FREN 454 Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture 3
GGS 101 Major World Regions (Mason Core) 3
GGS 316 Geography of Latin America 3
GGS 317 Geography of China (Mason Core) 3
GGS 325 Geography of North Africa and the Middle East 3
GGS 399 Select Topics in GGS 3
GOVT 332 Politics of the Middle East and North Africa 3
GOVT 333 Politics of East Asia 3
GOVT 338 Politics of Eurasia 3
GOVT 340 Central Asian Politics 3
GOVT 341 Chinese Foreign Policy 3
GOVT 345 Islam and Politics 3
GOVT 433 Political Economy of East Asia 3
HIST 251 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 252 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 261 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 262 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 271 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 272 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 281 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3
HIST 282 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3
HIST 326 Stalinism 3
HIST 327 The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II 3
HIST 328 Rise of Russia (Mason Core) 3
HIST 329 Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core) 3
HIST 353 History of Traditional China 3
HIST 354 Modern China (Mason Core) 3
HIST 356 Modern Japan (Mason Core) 3
HIST 357 Postwar Japan (Mason Core) 3
HIST 358 Post-1949 China (Mason Core) 3
HIST 360 History of South Africa (Mason Core) 3
HIST 364 Revolution in Latin America (Mason Core) 3
HIST 365 Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core) 3
HIST 366 Comparative Slavery 3
HIST 377 The Vietnam War (Mason Core) 3
HIST 384 Global History of Christianity (Mason Core) 3
HIST 387 Topics in Global History (Mason Core) 3-6
HIST 461 Arab-Israeli Conflict 3
HIST 462 Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core) 3
HIST 465 The Middle East in the 20th Century 3
JAPA 310 Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core) 3
JAPA 340 Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core) 3
JAPA 380 Japan in Motion 3
KORE 300 Korean Culture and Society 3
KORE 320 Korean Popular Culture in a Global World 3
KORE 385 Introduction to Korean Linguistics 3
MUSI 103 Musics of the World (Mason Core) 3
RELI 211 Introduction to Religions of the "West" (Mason Core) 3
RELI 212 Introduction to Religions of Asia (Mason Core) 3
RELI 312 Islam (Mason Core) 3
RELI 313 Hinduism (Mason Core) 3
RELI 314 Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions 3
RELI 315 Buddhism (Mason Core) 3
RELI 317 Daoism 3
RELI 318 Korean Philosophy and Religions 3
RELI 338 Qur'an and Hadith 3
RELI 342 Comparative Study of Mysticism 3
RELI 344 Muhammad: Life and Legacy 3
RELI 358 Islamic Thought (Mason Core) 3
RELI 367 Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics 3
RELI 368 Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights (Mason Core) 3
RELI 384 Global History of Christianity (Mason Core) 3
RELI 490 Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core) 3
RUSS 353 Russian Civilization (Mason Core) 3
RUSS 354 Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core) 3
WMST 407 Transnational Sexualities 3
1

A course used to fulfill the Mason Core global understanding requirement may not be simultaneously used to satisfy this college-level requirement. A course used to fulfill this requirement may be used simultaneously to fulfill any other requirements (Mason Core requirements, college-level requirements, or requirements for the major). Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Mason Core

Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Students who have completed the following credentials are eligible for a waiver of the Foundation and Exploration (lower level) requirement categories. The Integration category (upper level) is not waived under this policy. See Admissions for more information. 

  • VCCS Uniform Certificate of General Studies
  • VCCS or Richard Bland Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Arts and Sciences (A.A.&S.), or Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.)
Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (lower-level) 3
Oral Communication 3
Quantitative Reasoning 3
Information Technology and Computing 3
Exploration Requirements
Arts 3
Global Contexts 3
Global History 3
Literature 3
Natural Science 7
Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Just Societies (optional) 1
Integration Requirements
Written Communication (upper-level) 3
Writing Intensive 2 3
Mason Apex 3 3
Total Credits 40
1

In addition to covering content related to the designated category, Exploration level courses marked with a Just Societies "flag" are specifically designed to help students learn how to interact effectively with others from all walks of life, including those with backgrounds and beliefs that differ from their own. Courses marked with the Just Societies flag are available for students starting in Fall 2024. Students admitted prior to the Fall of 2025 are not required to take courses with a Just Societies flag but may wish to do so to increase their knowledge and skills in this important area. Students interested in this approach to completing their Mason Core Exploration Requirements should work closely wiht their advisor to identify the appropriate Just Societies-flagged courses.

2

Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.

3

Minimum 3 credits required.