Requirements for Minors

Minor Program in Art History

Beginning with the Class of 2020, Art History minors 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 fourth year in 2017–18.

All Art History minors are encouraged take at least one (1) course in Art History at the 10000-level to fulfill their general education requirement in the arts. Although general education courses do not count for the minor, they are useful preliminaries to advanced work. It is, therefore, strongly recommended that students take such a course as early as possible in their undergraduate careers. Note: Students considering the minor in Art History and seeking admission to a 10000-level ARTH course may identify themselves to the instructor in advance.

The formula for requirements in the minor goes by the sobriquet “3-and-3”:

  • All Art History minors take three (3) courses at the 20000-level to meet a distribution requirement within the department. These courses shall be selected in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. Courses should be selected for maximal geographical, chronological, cultural, and methodological diversity, and for minimal overlap with the Special Field.
  • All Art History minors take three (3) courses at the 20000-level in a Special Field. Students develop the Special Field in consultation with departmental instructors and the director of undergraduate studies. Because Special Fields reflect the interests of individual students, they range widely in topic, approach, and scope. Reading courses with Art History faculty may be used to pursue specific questions within a Special Field. For more on the Special Field, see The Special Field.

In all of the above cases, graduate seminars at the 40000-level may count toward requirements in the minor. Students are advised, however, that such courses impose special burdens of time and expertise, and admission to them is typically only by explicit approval of the instructor and may involve various prerequisites.

In one of the courses, students also write one research paper of about 10–15 pages on a topic chosen with and guided by the instructor, by individual arrangement at the start of the quarter. Minors may elect to take ARTH 29600 Junior Seminar: Doing Art History with the majors; if they do, they will research and write an essay on a topic of their choice instead of preparing a BA paper proposal.

Students who elect the minor program in Art History must meet with the director of undergraduate studies before the end of Spring Quarter of their third year to declare their intention to complete the minor. Students choose courses in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. The director's approval for the minor program should be submitted to a student's College adviser by the deadline above on a form available on the Art History website.

Courses in the minor may not be double counted with the student's major(s), other minors, or general education requirements. Courses in the minor must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

The Special Field

The Special Field is developed by the student in consultation with instructors and the director of undergraduate studies and may take various forms. It may be defined with reference to a civilization, a chronological period, a nation-state, a cultural institution, or a suitable combination; it may be conceptual in character (e.g., art and the history of science, urban history, geography, gender and sexuality studies); it may combine historical, critical, and theoretical perspectives (e.g., politics and visual art in the twentieth century); it may be based in a particular medium or class of object (e.g., the built environment, tomb assemblages, or prints); it may combine historical and studio-practice courses (e.g., DoVA, CMST, TAPS, Music) to explore interrelations (e.g., art and dance). 

Summary of Requirements for the Minor in Art History

Three (3) courses at the 20000-level to meet the distribution requirement 300
Three (3) courses at the 20000-level in a special field * 300
One (1) 10- to 15-page research paper
Total Units 600

*One of the courses may be ARTH 29600 Junior Seminar: Doing Art History. Students in the minor would research and write an essay on a topic of their choice instead of preparing an honors paper proposal.