FAQs

ART HISTORY FAQs

Do I need to be a major or minor in order to take an Art History class?

No, students from across the campus enroll in Art History as well as Studio Art courses, regardless of their majors or minors. However, please be sure to complete the stated prerequisites, or obtain the permission of the instructor, before registering for some of our 200- and 300-level courses. You can find information about any prerequisites in the course descriptions.

I want to enroll in ARTH XXX but it’s full; what should I do?

Email the instructor ahead of time so she or he knows of your interest. Then plan to attend the first class session to see if space becomes available. It is not uncommon for students to change plans after registering, so the online enrollment figures may be misleading.

How do I construct an Art History major or minor?

You should plan your studies in conjunction with an adviser from among the faculty of our Department; you can choose your own advisor from among the professors you have had already, or we can assign one to you. Information about the requirements for the major and minor is on our website.

I took Advanced Placement Art History in high school; do I have to take ARTH 100 or 101?

Depending on your examination score, some A.P. coursework may be credited towards your Wellesley degree. But these credits will not be applied towards the minimum units that comprise an Art History major or minor. Our course will  cover different material, in different ways, than your A.P. course, and it will provide you with the best possible introduction to the Department. 

The class I want to take conflicts with the rest of my schedule; could I arrange an independent study instead?

An independent study is something that you might propose to a professor after you have exhausted the regular course offerings in a particular field. It consists of one semester of self-directed research (either a half-credit 250 or a full-credit 350) under the guidance of a professor who knows the subject, and you, well. It provides an opportunity to research a specific topic in greater depth, and should be seen as an extension to, not a replacement for, our regular course offerings.  You should also bear in mind that there are limits to the number of independent studies our faculty can take on each semester.

What’s the difference between an independent study and a thesis?

A 360/370 thesis is a year-long research project for two credits at the advanced level, undertaken during the senior year and structured to meet the requirements of the College-wide honors program. For more information see the guidelines posted here. To assist our thesis students in their work, we have established the Sober Fellowship; we encourage all thesis students to apply for this funding in the fall of their senior year!

Is it possible to audit an Art History class?

Student auditors are welcome in many of our courses. Email the instructor before the semester begins to see if she or he will accept auditors; some classes are limited by classroom space or other factors.

Will I be able to study abroad as part of my major?

All Art Department majors and minors are encouraged to study abroad if they are interested in doing so. You should check with the Office of International Study to learn about possible programs, as well as your advisor and/or program director.  With careful planning, a semester or year abroad can fit into your plan of study and the successful completion of the requirements for your major or minor. Be sure to obtain prior approval for all courses taken abroad from our transfer credit adviser, Professor Heping Liu, following the process described here.

How many transfer courses can I count towards my major?

With prior approval up to two courses taken off campus may be counted towards a minimum Art History major. Students may obtain transfer credit for additional courses taken elsewhere, but these are applied toward general degree credit.

I want to continue my Art History studies in graduate school.  What should I do?

You and your advisor should discuss your goals to determine what programs are best suited to your interests and abilities. By carefully choosing related courses in departments across campus you can plan a concentra­tion emphasizing one period or area in preparation for graduate studies; we encourage you to take courses in the language, cul­ture, and history of the areas associated with your specific interests. While some Art History majors apply to M.A. and Ph.D programs during their senior years, others wait a year or more before applying to gain further experience and study languages. We have established the Slade Graduate Fellowship to assist students studying Art History or Studio Art on the graduate level.

How do I find an internship in the arts?

Check the list of arts-based internships sponsored and/or listed with Career Education, talk with your professors, and compare notes with other students. We often circulate opportunities to our students via email when we hear of them. Some internships are arranged informally, while others are the result of a comprehensive application and interview process. The Slade Summer Fellowship can assist Art History and Studio Art majors and minors with summer funding.