Course of Study: Major

The major in art history and criticism consists of 30 credits in the department. All majors must complete 6 credits in ArtHist 101 and 102, and they are advised strongly to take 3 credits in Arthist 104 or 105. In addition, all majors must complete one of the following to satisfy the L&S research requirement.

  • 3 credits in an internship (ArtHist 489 or 691); or
  • 3 credits in an independent study (ArtHist 699) approved and supervised by an art history faculty member; or
  • 3 credits in the art history seminar (ArtHist 501) during their junior or senior year with permission from the instructor; or
  • 3 credits in a graduate seminar, if the student is well-qualified and receives permission from the instructor.

Beyond this, each student must select one of two major options: option A, the standard major, or option B, the broad major. A minimum 2.5 GPA is required in all ArtHist courses attempted at UWM. In addition, students must attain a 2.5 GPA on all major credits attempted, including any transfer work. Fifteen credits at the 300 level or above must be taken in residence at UWM.

Option A: Standard Major. This option is recommended for students who are interested in obtaining a well-balanced approach to the study of art history. It provides an introduction to most major areas of inquiry in art history and to different scholarly approaches to study in this field. It is recommended especially for students who wish to continue into graduate studies in art history and to pursue careers in college teaching or museum or gallery work.

  1. Distribution requirement, 15 credits. At least 3 credits in each of five of the following areas: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance-Baroque, 19th-20th Century, Non-Western, Film. At least 9 of the 15 credits must be at the 300 level or above.
  2. Electives, 9 credits. At least 6 of these 9 credits must be at the 300 level or above.
  3. Language requirement. Reading ability in at least one foreign language, preferably French or German, to be demonstrated either by taking two years of college-level language with grades of "B" or better or by taking and passing a reading exam administered by the Art History Department. Students planning to go to graduate school are advised that most graduate schools require Ph.D. candidates to demonstrate reading knowledge of both French and German. Other languages such as Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Greek, or Latin also may be required, depending on a student's field of specialization.

Option B: Broad Major. This option is designed for students who wish to tailor their own programs to pursue specific individual interests in art history, to tie in with studies in other fields (i.e., double majors), or for personal enrichment. It requires at least 24 credits of the student's choice in ArtHist courses beyond 101 and 102, of which at least 15 must be at the 300 level or above.

Honors in the Major

Art history majors who meet the following criteria are awarded honors in the major:

  1. 3.00 cumulative GPA in all UWM graded credits;
  2. 3.50 GPA in all credits that count toward the major;
  3. 3.50 GPA in all advanced credits that count toward the major;
  4. completion of one of the following:
    1. six credits of French or German at 200 level or above with grades of "B" or better (equivalent level course work in another language may be substituted with faculty approval);
    2. the Art History Department's French or German translation exam with passing grade;
  5. completion of one of the following:
    1. seminar or colloquium in ArtHist with grade of "B+" or better;
    2. independent research project (ArtHist 699) with grade of "B+" or better.

Declaring a Major: Please contact the Undergraduate Advisor, Kenneth Bendiner ( or visit Mitchell Hall 151 to fill out the forms. Please bring your student ID.


The Undergraduate Advisor will not only help you with declarations of majors, but also give you advice regarding major requirements and other aspects of the art history program. The Undergraduate Advisor has online access to your academic records and in most cases can easily inform you as to where you currently stand in regard to fulfilling the major requirements. Just send your inquiry to Elena Gorfinkel (

Note: For advice concerning college and university requirements and policies, please consult your college or school advisor. Likewise, if you are seeking advice or declaring a major or minor in another discipline, you must also consult the advisor in that discipline.

black line