Art History Program Overview

Art history at USD is approached as a discipline with a history, and students examine the historical and theoretical frames that have shaped its definition over time.

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2018-2019, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on May 1, 2018. Access the catalog of record at http://catalogs.sandiego.edu.

The Art History Major

Preparation for the Major

Required Courses
ARTH 101Introduction to the History of Art3
Select one of the following:3
Introduction to Modern Architecture (formerly ARTH 135) 1
Introduction to Art History I
Introduction to Art History II
The Year 1500: A Global History of Art and Architecture
Art and Visual Culture
The Buddhist Temple
Introduction to Cinema
Two Visual Arts (ARTV) courses6
Total Units12

History of Art

Art History, as Donald Preziosi has written, makes 'the visible legible.' Over the course of their college careers, students of art history are equipped to think and write with precision about art, architecture and visual culture.  Attuned to perceptual process and alert to the power of images and objects, students reason with the evidence and investigate theoretical lenses, imagining and analyzing the intertwining of form, context and content.

Prerequisites are as in the major. Students must complete 28 Upper-Division Units in art history, including:

ARTH 395Methods in Art History3
ARTH 495Image World/Written Word: Senior Thesis Seminar3
ARTH 496Senior Thesis1
Total Units7

Museum and Curatorial Practice

This path prepares students to think critically and pro-actively about the ways that art is positioned-in the museum and in the larger arena of public space - shaping viewers' perceptions of the past and sense of the future. Mindful of the politics of representation and display, students will examine the shifting ground that reaches from the early museums of the mid-18th century to the urban interventions and cyber-exhibitions of the 21st century. 

This concentration prepares students to pursue graduate work and careers in museums, galleries, artists' spaces, art in public places programs, and emerging on-line venues. Enlisting the robust resources of San Diego, students gather first-hand experience through internships in USD's Hoehn Print Study Collection and University Galleries, together with the city's major museums and public art programs. Recent student internships have included: Hoehn Print Study Collection; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; San Diego Museum of Art; Timken Museum; Museum of Photographic Arts; Lux Art Institute; New Children's Museum; ARTS: A Reason to Survive; Quint Contemporary Art. Internships further afield have included:  Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC; Freer Gallery, Washington, DC.

Prerequisites are as in the major. Students must complete 28 Upper-Division Units in art history, including:

ARTH 395Methods in Art History3
ARTH 495Image World/Written Word: Senior Thesis Seminar3
ARTH 496Senior Thesis (formerly 495)1
Select at least four of the following courses, planned in consultation with the advisor:12
Memory, Monument, Museum: Politics of Display
Art in Public Spaces
Art of the Twentieth and Twenty First Centuries in Europe and the Americas
The Avant-Garde and Mass Culture: Art and Politics
Art Since 1960
Asia Modern
Chinoiserie and Japonisme
Museum Studies
Curatorial Practice
Exhibition Design
Seminar (formerly 394)
Museum Internship 1
Select 3 additional Upper-Division Art History courses9
Total Units28

Students are encouraged to meet with their advisor to select pertinent electives from such fields as Communication Studies, Sociology, Business, and Leadership.

History and Theory of Architecture and the City

This path encourages students to address contemporary social/cultural circumstances in the light of an historically grounded sense of visual expression and material culture. Courses in the history and theory of art, architecture and the city will be augmented by studies in other fields appropriate to each student’s interests. History and Theory of Architecture is conceived for students who intend to move into fields such as architecture, architectural history and historic preservation or public arts programs, and who will work toward creative strategies of urban intervention.

Prerequisites are as in the major. Students must complete 28 Upper-Division Units in art history, including:

ARTH 395Methods in Art History3
ARTH 495Image World/Written Word: Senior Thesis Seminar3
ARTH 496Senior Thesis (formerly 495)1
Select at least 6 courses from the following:18
City and Utopia: Introduction to History of Urbanism (formerly 338)
Contemporary Architecture (formerly 342)
Memory, Monument, Museum: Politics of Display (formerly 343)
Special Topics in the History of Architecture and Design
Art in Public Spaces
Art of the Twentieth and Twenty First Centuries in Europe and the Americas
Biographies of World Cities (formerly 344)
The Avant-Garde and Mass Culture: Art and Politics
Art Since 1960
The City in Art and Film
Race, Ethnicity, Art and Film
Public Art Studio Seminar
Critical Methods in the Analysis of Visual Culture
Select one additional Upper-Division Art History course3
Total Units28

(Please note that four courses are cross-listed: ARTH 321/ARCH 321, ARTH 322/ARCH 322, ARTH 323/ARCH 323, ARTH 340/ARCH 340 may be taken under either code.)

Global History of Modern and Contemporary Art and Architecture

This path focuses on the unfolding of modern and contemporary art and architecture across a broad geographical reach. Students develop depth and breadth of knowledge as they probe the ways that art and architecture at once reflect and shape the societies in which they are produced. This concentration draws on the strength of our faculty in the history and theory of modern and contemporary art and architecture in the United States, Latin America, Eastern and Western Europe, and Asia.

Prerequisites are as in the major. Students must complete 28 Upper-Division Units in art history, including:

ARTH 395Methods in Art History3
ARTH 495Image World/Written Word: Senior Thesis Seminar3
ARTH 496Senior Thesis (formerly 495)1
Select at least 5 courses from the following:15
City and Utopia: Introduction to History of Urbanism (formerly 338)
Contemporary Architecture (formerly 342)
Memory, Monument, Museum: Politics of Display (formerly 343)
Special Topics in the History of Architecture and Design
Art in Public Spaces
Modern Art: 1780-1920
Art of the Twentieth and Twenty First Centuries in Europe and the Americas
History and Theory of Photography
Museum Studies
Biographies of World Cities (formerly 344)
The Avant-Garde and Mass Culture: Art and Politics
Art Since 1960
The City in Art and Film
Race, Ethnicity, Art and Film
Asia Modern
Chinoiserie and Japonisme
Seminar ( formerly 394)
Museum Internship
Select two additional Art History courses to complete the 28 Upper-Division Units6
Total Units28

(Please note that four courses are cross-listed: ARTH 321/ARCH 321, ARTH 322/ARCH 322, ARTH 323/ARCH 323, ARTH 340/ARCH 340 may be taken under either code.)

Art History Study Abroad

No more than a total of two ARTH 275 and/or ARTH 375, can be counted toward Art History major credit. ARTH 275 or ARTH 375 can be repeated once for credit. Two sections of ARTH 275 or ARTH 375 can be taken concurrently during a study abroad semester or summer.

Honors Courses

Honors Seminars focused on the history of art and architecture are open to all Art History majors as space allows, and count toward the major. Recent topics have included several team-taught courses: Trash: Modernity and Evacuation; Images of Enlightenment; Modern Palestinian Art and Literature; and Modern Latin American Art and Literature.

The Double Major in Visual Arts and Art History; and the Double Major in Architecture and Art History

Each year a number of students double-major in Visual Arts and Art History; or in Architecture and Art History. The double major requires a total of at least 48 upper-division units in the two majors. Interested students should meet with an academic advisor to plan a course of study.

Recommended Program of Study, Art History

Freshman Year
Semester IUnits
Introduction to the History of Art 
or select one of the following:3
Introduction to Modern Architecture 
The Year 1500: A Global History of Art and Architecture 
Art and Visual Culture 
The Buddhist Temple 
Introduction to Cinema 
Core curriculum or electives 
Semester IIHours
Introduction to the History of Art 
or select one of the following:3
Introduction to Modern Architecture 
The Year 1500: A Global History of Art and Architecture 
Art and Visual Culture 
The Buddhist Temple 
Introduction to Cinema 
Core curriculum or electives 
Sophomore Year
Semester IHours
One or two 300-level ARTH courses3-6
One lower-division visual arts course3
Core curriculum or electives 
Semester IIHours
One or two 300-level ARTH courses3-6
Core curriculum or electives 
Semester IIIHours
Study Abroad course recommended but not required 
Junior Year
Semester IHours
One or two 300-level ARTH courses13-6
One upper- or lower- division ARTV course3
Electives 
Semester IIHours
ARTH 395Methods in Art History (required)3
One additional 300-level ARTH course3
Electives 
Senior Year
Semester IHours
ARTH 495Image World/Written Word: Senior Thesis Seminar (required)3
One or two 300-level ARTH courses13-6
Electives 
Semester IIHours
ARTH 496Senior Thesis (formerly ARTV 495 (required))1
One or two 300-level ARTH courses3-6
Electives