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Skidmore College
Art History Department

Planning Your Major

Welcome to the art history major!  Here are some suggestions to help make your art history experience as productive and stimulating as possible.  We encourage you to explore widely, challenge yourself, and talk with your advisor, professors, and fellow majors about the many opportunities available to you.

Planning your requirements

AH100: AH 100, AH 103, AH 104, AH 105, AH 107, AH 108 (Students may take more than one, but only one counts toward the Art History major).

AH220: Writing in Art History. This course develops strong writing skills geared toward the art history major. Majors are encouraged to complete the course before the junior year.

AH221: Practices of Art History.  This introduction to the history and methods of the discipline will strengthen your work in all art history courses.  It is generally offered only fall semester; we advise you take it as soon as possible, preferably sophomore year.

AH375: Seminar.  This advanced course focuses on different topics each semester and typically includes individualized research, oral presentation, and substantive writing.  You will be best prepared for this experience if you are a junior or senior and have taken both AH221 and AH220.  If you are not sure whether the timing is right, consult your advisor or the instructor.

AH380: The Art History Major and Beyond. This one-credit course for seniors, offered in the fall only, prepares majors for post-graduate professional and educational opportunities.

Enriching your experience

Pursuing opportunities beyond the major requirements will help you deepen your understanding of art history, develop valuable skills, explore possible career paths, and prepare for the possibility of graduate study.  Browse our 'Meet the majors' page to discover the many ways in which other students have shaped their learning experiences.

Language study. Because advanced research in any aspect of art history requires foreign languages we highly recommend language study beyond the all-College requirement.  If you are considering pursuing graduate study, you should seriously consider taking German as well as one other language, generally French or Italian.  You may also wish to take language classes in your area of interest (Chinese, for example).

Interdisciplinary connections.  Art history is an interdisciplinary field, and your studies will be further enriched through coursework in related fields such as literature, history, philosophy, anthropology, and religion.  When planning your schedule, try to choose courses in other departments or programs that might complement courses that you have taken, or plan to take, in art history.

Independent study (AH371, 372).  Independent studies allow students, usually with course experience in the period or theme, to explore topics of special interest that are not addressed in regular course offerings.  This opportunity is a privilege for exceptionally motivated students who work well independently and involves special responsibilities for you and your faculty sponsor.  Be sure to plan well in advance and approach your prospective sponsor with a thoughtful proposal for a specific topic.