Art and Art History

Degrees BA, BFA, MA, MFA

The Department of Art and Art History offers the bachelor of arts in art history and in studio, and the bachelor of fine arts in studio arts.

The undergraduate degree in art history emphasizes knowledge and awareness of:

• the major artistic monuments of the world in a historical context;
• varied methodologies used to study art historically; and
• artistic media and techniques.
In addition, students completing the degree in art history are expected to acquire the ability and skills to:

• relate individual monuments to their historical and cultural context by identifying technique, style, and subject matter;
• interpret historical and critical information about works of art, artists, and related issues; and
• organize and communicate concepts and data pertaining to the history of art effectively in written and oral form.
The undergraduate degree in studio art emphasizes knowledge and awareness of:

• the significance of the major monuments in art history, with an emphasis on contemporary art;
• at least one discipline of studio art;
• related critical issues in studio practice; and
• a wide range of stylistic approaches.
In addition, students completing a degree in studio art are expected to acquire the ability and skills to:

• analyze their own works of art in terms of form and content;
• interpret the work of others;
• execute ideas in one or more artistic media;
• demonstrate artistic ability and technical proficiency in one chosen medium; and
• communicate in verbal and written form the particular conceptual and perceptual attitudes and stances of their own artistic production.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs +

The degree requirements for the BA in art history are currently under review. For the most current information go to www.colorado.edu/finearts/resources/baah.html. BA degrees in art history and in studio arts require 39 credits in the major and a minimum of 75 nonmajor credits. The BFA degree in studio arts requires 63 credits in the major. Regular contact with fine arts advisors is recommended.

Students must complete the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences and the required courses listed below.

Bachelor of Arts (Art History) +

(39 credit hours in the major)
Required Courses Semester Hours
ARTS 1010 and 1020 Introduction to Art 6
ARTH 1300 and 1400 World Art 1 and 2 6
ARTH 4919 BA Art History Seminar 3
3000-level art history courses 9
4000-level art history courses 9
ARTS or ARTH electives 6
Distribution Requirements: Complete at least six hours at the 3000 or 4000 level in each of three areas: Ancient and/or African/American/Asian/Australian, Medieval and/or Early Modern (a.k.a. Renaissance and Baroque), and Modern and/or Contemporary. Students must take at least one course in African, American, Asian, or Australian art at the 3000 or 4000 level.

Graduating in Four Years with a BA in Art History +

Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress toward a BA in art history, students should meet the following requirements:

Declare the major by the beginning of the second semester.
By the end of the third semester, complete lower-division studio courses, lower-division art history courses, and two classes in upper-division art history.
By the end of the sixth semester complete up to 32 credit hours in the major.
Final semesters not to exceed 45 credits toward the major.

Bachelor of Arts (Studio Arts) +

(39 credit hours in the major)
Required Courses Semester Hours
ARTS 1010 and 1020 Introduction to Art 6
ARTH 1300 and 1400 World Art 1 and 2 6
Two 2000- level courses in area of emphasis 6
Any two upper-division art history courses 6
Upper-division studio emphasis (minimum) 12
ARTS or ARTH electives 3

Graduating in Four Years with a BA in Studio Arts +

Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress toward a BA in studio arts, students should meet the following requirements:

Declare major by the beginning of the second semester.
Complete ARTS 1010 and 1020 Introduction to Art, two level-1 studio classes, and lower-division art history courses by the end of the third semester.
Complete 30–36 credit hours in the major by the end of the sixth semester.
Final semesters not to exceed 45 credits in the major.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Studio Arts) +

(63 credits toward the major)

Students must present and pass a portfolio review to be eligible for the BFA degree (a minimum of 30 credit hours is required).

Required Courses Semester Hours
ARTS 1010 and 1020 Introduction to Art 6
ARTH 1300 and 1400 World Art 1 and 2 6
Any two 2000-level studio courses in area of emphasis 6
Any two upper-division art history courses 6
Upper-division studio emphasis (min.) 18
ARTS or ARTH electives 18
ARTS 4117 BFA Seminar 3
Note: BA/BFA candidates must complete 12 upper-division hours in the major on the Boulder campus.
Required Studio Courses for Studio Arts Majors
Painting and drawing majors must take any sequence of courses culminating in ARTS 4002 Drawing 4 or ARTS 4202 Painting 4.
Ceramics majors must take ARTS 4085 Ceramics 4 and ARTS 4095 Special Topics in Ceramics.
Printmaking majors are not required to take ARTS 1003 and may register for ARTS 3403, ARTS 3413, and ARTS 3423 as sophomores.

Graduating in Four Years with a BFA in Studio Arts +

Consult the Four-Year Guarantee Requirements for information on eligibility. The concept of “adequate progress” as it is used here only refers to maintaining eligibility for the four-year guarantee; it is not a requirement for the major. To maintain adequate progress toward a BFA in studio arts or divisional studio arts, students should meet the following requirements:

Declare the major by the beginning of the first semester, freshman year.
Complete ARTS 1010 and 1020, ARTH 1300 and 1400, 9 credit hours of lower-division studio, two 2000-level courses, and one lower-division or upper-division studio or art history course by the end of the third semester (27 credit hours).
Apply for the BFA in the fourth or fifth semester, with a minimum of 30 hours in the major.
Complete up to 48 credit hours in the major by the end of the sixth semester.
Final semesters not to exceed 66 credits toward the major.

Honors +

Students may graduate with departmental honors. Those interested in pursuing this program should contact the Honors Department and/or the Department of Art and Art History honors representative as early as possible. The minimum GPA requirement is 3.300 overall and 3.500 in the major. Students may take Studio or Art History Honors Thesis to complete individual work.

Student Fees +

Each course in the department has a course fee calculated at $50 per course for lecture and seminar courses and $50 per credit hour for studio courses.

Special Programs +

The CU Art Museum. The CU Art Museum is a cultural gateway to the University of Colorado at Boulder, facilitating engagement with larger societal issues through a greater understanding of the arts in a global context. The CU Art Museum is committed to enhancing understanding and appreciation of the visual arts within the academic community and among regional, national, and international audiences. It provides access to art of the highest quality through exhibitions, publications, and related educational events that reflect diversity, critical thinking, and creative research. The museum also facilitates student training in museum practices. As a collecting institution, the CU Art Museum promotes the excellence, preservation, scholarly interpretation, exhibition, and growth of its comprehensive permanent collection, which includes artworks from numerous time periods, artistic traditions, and cultures. The new 25,000-square-foot CU Art Museum contains five galleries including permanent collection galleries, changing exhibition galleries, and a video gallery. The CU Art Museum also includes a collections study center, allowing students, faculty, and researchers the opportunity to schedule appointments to view, research, and study works in its permanent collection.

The CU Art Museum’s Permanent Collection. The Permanent Collection of the CU Art Museum contains over 6,000 works of art. The collection includes works from numerous time periods and cultures including ancient Greek pottery, Roman Glass, ancient Iranian pottery, Southwestern and South American santos, Southeast Asian pottery, African sculpture, Old Master works on paper, British 18th century prints, 19th and 20th century American prints and paintings, Japanese ukiyo-e prints, 19th century photography, Pop art, Minimalist works on paper, and modern and contemporary ceramics, sculpture, works on paper, paintings, photography, video, and new media art.

Visiting Scholar Program. This program is organized to explore the discipline of art history—its cultural connections, methodological pursuits, and its changing nature—by focusing extensively on the research and insights of individual academic experts. Three to five highly regarded art historians and/or art critics speak at a public lecture, presenting current research and published papers. During their week-long visit they work closely with students enrolled in the Visiting Scholar Seminar.

Visiting Artist Program. Artists of national and international reputation interact with graduate and advanced undergraduate students and discuss their studio work at seminar meetings. Artists present a public lecture during their visit, providing continuous input of significant developments and a comprehensive view of contemporary issues in the arts.

Visual Resources Center (VRC). The mission of the VRC is to provide and facilitate access to images, imaging, and related information resources for teaching and research in the Department of Art and Art History. This includes: 1) a departmental image collection and support for other important image resources; 2) resources, training, and support in digital imaging and image presentation software; and 3) equipment for use in creative work, documentation, and classrooms within the department. The digital image collection contains works by faculty, MFA thesis recipients, visiting artists, and other contemporary and historical works. Digital imaging resources include slide and flatbed scanning stations, with training available in digitization standards and best practices. VRC equipment includes laptops, data projectors, digital SLR cameras, video cameras, tripods, and other equipment for use in the department. The VRC also circulates its collection of DVDs containing lectures and interviews from the department’s Visiting Artist Program. More information is available at www.colorado.edu/finearts/vrc/vrc.html.

Graduate Degree Programs +

The master of arts degree is offered in art history, and the master of fine arts degree is offered in creative arts. It is expected that the program be completed within two years for the MA degree and two-and-a-half years for the MFA degree. The creative arts areas include ceramics, painting and drawing, media arts (photography, video, and digital arts), film (in collaboration with the Film Studies Program), printmaking, sculpture, and Integrated Arts (IA). Students are encouraged to consult with an advisor in the appropriate area in order to obtain advice and current information.

The department, in conjunction with the Leeds School of Business, offers a dual degree program in which both MBA and MFA (or MA) degrees are awarded. The requirements are as follows:

Students must apply to and meet application requirements for each program separately.
Students must meet the admission standards for each program separately;
Dual degree students may start either program first; in the first year of studies, courses are taken in one of the two departments exclusively; in the second year, courses are taken in the other department exclusively; in the third year, a combination of MBA and MFA (MA) courses is taken.

Master of Arts Degree (Art History) +

Prerequisites. The following are required for admission to the graduate program:

1. A baccalaureate degree from an approved college with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.000.
2. A score of 500 or higher on the verbal section and an average score (approximately 50 percent below) on all other sections of the Graduate Record Examination.
3. A broad general background in history, literature, and philosophy.
4. An extensive background in art history.
5. Applicants to the master’s program in art history are asked to write a 750 to 1,000 word essay in Part II, number 6 on the application form.
Examinations. The comprehensive exams are given during the second year of study to measure graduate student knowledge of art history at the master’s degree level. The exams consist of essay questions.

Degree Requirements: Plan I (Thesis Option). A minimum of 30 semester hours must be completed, of which 21 must be completed in residence on the Boulder campus. Requirements and regulations include:

1. Courses.
Theories of Art History (ARTH 6929) must be taken during the first semester. This course may be taken twice for up to 6 credit hours.
Visiting Scholars Seminar (ARTH 6939) must be taken during the second semester. Students are encouraged to repeat this course.
At least one 3-credit, 5000- or 6000-level course in four of the following areas of art history: ancient, medieval, early modern and Renaissance, Baroque, Art of the Americas, modern, contemporary, Asian, and critical theory/museology.
Where appropriate, Teaching Practicum, 2 credits per semester while teaching, not to exceed 8 credits.
At least one 3-credit, 3000-level or above course in a department outside the Department of Art and Art History, which supplements the major or minor areas of specialization.
Comprehensive exam.

Master’s Thesis (ARTH 6959): 4–6 credit hours (see below).

No more than 9 hours of independent study credit may be applied toward the MA degree.
Pass/fail
courses do not count toward the MA degree.
A limit of 9 hours of transfer credits may be applied toward the MA degree.
Students are encouraged and expected to attend undergraduate lecture courses as needed to prepare themselves for graduate seminars and for the comprehensive exam.

2. Thesis. See thesis requirements under Master of Arts and Master of Science in the Graduate School section.
3. After acceptance of the final draft of the thesis by the thesis advisor, an oral examination takes place dealing with the subject matter of the thesis and any areas of weakness that may have been found in the written comprehensive exam.
4. Language Requirement. The candidate for the MA degree in art history is required to demonstrate an adequate reading knowledge of French, German, or another appropriate language before receiving the degree by satisfactory course work equal to 3 progressive semesters at the college level or above or by passing an approved language examination. Language examinations may be arranged with one of the art history faculty on an individual basis.
Degree Requirements: Plan II (Project Option). Same requirements as above with the following exceptions:

1. A minimum of 36 semester hours is required.
2. The project replaces the thesis.

Master of Fine Arts Degree (Creative Arts) +

Prerequisites. The following are required for admission to the graduate program:

1. Bachelor’s degree from an approved college or school of art with a minimum grade point average of 2.750.
2. Minimum of 34 credit hours of acceptable work in art; 12 credits in fine arts history is preferred.
3. Submission of a portfolio, including 20 images, representing creative work, a written statement of goals and objectives, and an artist statement.
4. Applicants interested in media arts and film should submit a portfolio of creative work to include CDs, DVDs, video and/or audio tapes, film, etc., as appropriate (especially for documentation of performance and/or installations) for screening by the media arts and film committees.
Degree Requirements. A minimum of 54 credit hours (of which 36 credit hours must be taken in residence on the Boulder campus) of acceptable graduate work must be completed beyond the bachelor’s degree, with the following requirements:

Required Courses Semester Hours
Home studio (major area) min. 12
Electives (student and non-studio; up to 6 credits may be taken in an allied field, at the 300 level and above) 21
Art history and theory 9
Visiting Artist Seminar 3
Graduate Art Seminar 3
Thesis 6

Film Track MFA
ARTF 5030 Visiting Filmmakers Seminar is allowed as a substitute for ARTS 5118 Visiting Artist Seminar;
ARTF Critical Studies courses are allowed as alternates to fulfill 3 credit hours of the art history requirement.

Graduate First-Year Review +

Graduate students are required to schedule a first-year review at the end of the first year of full-time study. The purpose of this review is to evaluate the student experience in the program and prepare the student for the qualifying paper (art history) or prethesis review (studio arts).

Transfer of Credit +

Procedures for transferring credit from other graduate programs are governed by the regulations of the Graduate School. Transfer credit, not to exceed 18 semester hours for studio arts or 9 semester hours for art history, must first be approved by faculty in the student major area.

Change in Area of Concentration +

Students who wish to change their area of concentration after admission must petition the departmental graduate committee.

Graduation +

Before registering for ARTS 6957 (MFA Thesis), students must have a pre-thesis review with their faculty advisor and thesis committee. Studio arts thesis work must take the form of original creative work of acceptable professional standards. The oral defense exam must be done in conjunction with the thesis exhibition, and the candidate must provide a critical written statement (creative thesis) concerning the work. The candidate’s written creative statement is housed with the Art and Architecture Collection in Norlin Library, and 10–15 digital images (representing work in the exhibition) become part of and are housed with the departmental Visual Resources Collection. The committee may request a contribution of original work.

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