Honors Requirements

Beginning with the Class of 2020, art history majors who wish to pursue honors will follow the requirements outlined below. Students in the Class of 2019 have the option of adhering to the new or to the old requirements. They should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies to address their options and any questions or concerns. Note: The new requirements do not apply to students who will be in their final year in 2017–18.

Art history majors who wish to pursue a BA with honors must complete the following requirements in addition to the standard curriculum. These students must register for the BA Paper writing seminar (ARTH 29800 Senior Seminar: Writing Workshop) in Autumn Quarter of the fourth year. Writing the BA Paper is a process that usually takes more than two quarters. Each student must secure the consent of an art history faculty member who will serve as his or her advisor by the second week of Autumn Quarter (i.e., two quarters before the planned quarter of graduation). Working with a preceptor, students must then complete a BA Paper by the second week of Spring Quarter of the fourth year. The BA Paper is typically a 20- to 30-page research paper of original work that grows out of the Special Field.

To be eligible for honors in the major, students must complete both the BA seminar and the BA Paper, and must have earned a major GPA of at least 3.5 and cumulative GPA of 3.3 at the time of graduation. Please note that completion of the BA Paper does not, in itself, guarantee honors in the major. Honors are awarded by the College on the basis of a departmental nomination of exceptional BA Papers.

BA Paper and Seminar

ARTH 29800 Senior Seminar: Writing Workshop is a workshop course offered in Autumn Quarter designed to assist students in writing and researching their BA Papers. Students typically take the seminar in Autumn Quarter before graduating in Spring Quarter; students graduating in Autumn or Winter Quarter should take the course in the previous academic year. In the closing sessions of the seminar, students present their work-in-progress for the BA Paper. They continue their research on the paper during the following quarters, meeting at intervals with their faculty BA advisor. Students have the option of taking ARTH 29900 Preparation for the BA Paper in Autumn or Winter Quarter to afford additional time for research or writing; this course is taught by arrangement between a student and his or her instructor. This course would be in addition to the 11 courses for the major with honors.

A polished draft of the BA Paper is due by Friday of ninth week of the quarter preceding graduation; the final version of the BA Paper is due Monday of second week of the quarter of graduation. Both the draft and final version of the BA Paper must be submitted in duplicate: one copy to the faculty advisor and the second to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Because individual projects vary, no specific requirements for the BA Paper have been set. Essays typically range in length from 20 to 30 pages, but there is no minimum or maximum. Students should consult their BA advisor regarding all details, including optimal length, of the BA Paper.

The BA Paper is a substantial research paper that presents an original argument or develops original evidence about an intellectual problem. The paper should demonstrate the student’s capacity to formulate a serious research problem, develop a clear thesis, and substantiate the thesis on the basis of careful analysis of relevant evidence and measured consideration of competing views. The originality of the BA Paper may lie in the discovery of evidence, a new, critical analysis of familiar claims, or the synthesis of materials. In keeping with guidelines set by the College, the Department of Art History only recommends papers that have earned the highest grade to the master of the Humanities Collegiate Division for consideration of departmental honors.

Double Majors and the BA Paper

Whether or not a single BA Paper can satisfy requirements for a double major in art history and another program is decided by the department on a case-by-case basis. Students should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The criteria on which the decision is based include:

  • the degree to which the resulting thesis is likely to speak from and to art history, even as it necessarily speaks from and to another field;
  • the feasibility of the proposed advising arrangements for the proposed joint thesis; and
  • the department's estimation of the student's track record for independent work that bodes well for writing a successful thesis while navigating between two majors.

Summary of Requirements for the Major with Honors

MAJOR: Honors Curriculum  
Four (4) courses to meet the distribution requirement * 400
Three (3) courses in a special field * 300
Two (2) courses as electives * 200
ARTH 29800 Senior Seminar: Writing Workshop 100
Two (2) 10- to 15-page research papers  
ARTH 29800 Senior Seminar: Writing Workshop 100
BA Paper +  
Total Units 1100

*All courses must be at the 20000-level or higher.
+ Some students register for ARTH 29900 Preparation for the BA Paper in Autumn or Winter Quarter to afford additional time for research or writing. This course would be taken in addition to the 11 courses in the major with honors.