Major, minor, and honors in Art History
- Requirements for Admission to the Major
- Requirements for Completion of the Major
- 20-Course Rule
- Study Abroad
- Honors Program
The Art History Major consists of nine credits in art history and one credit in studio art.
- Overall Average of C or better in all courses taken during the two semesters preceding the time of application.
- Completion of at least two courses in art history at Swarthmore with grades of B or better. For a Double Major the grade minimum is also B.
Requirements for Completion of the Major
All Art History Majors, course and honors, are required to take 9 credits to fulfill major requirements. Four of these must be the following:
- 1 credit in studio art
- ARTH 002: The Western Tradition (Students are encouraged to take this course early in their major program)
- ARTH 003: Asian Art
ARTH 005: Modern Art in Europe and the United States
The remaining 5 credits will consist of three other art history courses and one 2-credit art history seminar. For those majors considering going on to graduate school in Art History it is strongly advisable to choose a series of courses that will provide you with geographical and historical breadth.
- The Comprehensive Requirement
During the senior year, course majors will be given a short list of works of art or architecture drawn from the different geographic areas and historic periods. From this list, students will choose one work to investigate in preparation for writing an essay situating it within its critical interpretive context, addressing broad questions of method and theory as well as the work itself.
- Transfer Credits from other institutions and foreign study
A maximum of two credits transferred from institutions outside Swarthmore (including foreign study) can count toward the major. Those students transferring into Swarthmore from another institution can consult with the art history coordinator on their specific situation.
- AP Credit
Credit for an AP5 will be given upon completion of an art history course in the department. For majors this credit will cover the requirement for ARTH 002.
Art History Minor
The course minor in art history will consist of 5 credits in art history: Four of the 5 credits must be taken at Swarthmore. Studio art majors can complete an art history minor with the completion of 4 art history credits in addition to those required by their studio art major.
Art Department Majors and the 20-Course Rule
It is a college requirement that 20 of the 32 credits required for graduation must be OUTSIDE the major. This means that one can take no more than 12 courses in the major, unless one graduates with more than 32 credits, in which case the surplus can also be in the major. The major in Art History requires 9 credits of work, while the major in Art requires 11 credits of work. A student could take 3 more credits in art history or one more credit in studio art before the 20 course rule could become a problem.
For Art History Majors, the one required credit of studio art course work counts as within the Major, but additional credits of studio art count as outside. Thus, an Art History Major graduating with 32 credits could take no more than 3 additional art history credits beyond the 8 art history credits that are required for the Major. But an Art History Major could take as many more studio credits as desired.
The Art Department strongly encourages those with an interest in art and its history to consider incorporating foreign study--either during a summer or a regular academic term--into their Swarthmore program. Important examples of art and architecture are scattered throughout the world, and the encounter with works still imbedded in their original context is vital to an understanding of their historical and contemporary significance. Past experience has shown, however, that art courses in most foreign study programs fall considerably below the academic standards of comparable courses at Swarthmore. Students who are interested in bettering their chances of gaining a full Swarthmore credit for a course taken in a foreign program are advised to meet with either the Studio Art Coordinator and/or the Art History Coordinator, before leaving the campus. PLEASE NOTE: The department does not approve transfer credits in art history unless students have already completed an art history course at Swarthmore.
Note: Study abroad for Junior Studio Art Majors should take place prior to the Spring semester of the Junior year.
Honors in Art History
Requirements for admission to Honors do not differ from those for admission to the Course major. Once admitted to the Honors Major, students will be expected to maintain an average of B+ or better in all courses in art history.Major
An Honors Major in Art History requires three two-credit preparations, consisting of three 2-credit seminars. The normal prerequisite for any art history seminar is 2 credits of previous art history course work. Each seminar will be examined in a three-hour written examination and an individual 30-minute oral.
An Honors Major in Art History must fulfill the requirements for a 9-credit Course major.
An Honors Minor in Art History will take one two-credit seminar, and must have done at least two other courses in Art History. Only one of those credits can be a transfer credit.