Department of Art History and Art

Department of Art History and Art Undergraduate Majors

Handbook for Undergraduate Majors in Art History

Undergraduate Admissions

Case Western Reserve University provides students with the unique opportunity of taking courses in one of America's major art museums. Its outstanding collections enable students to study at first-hand important examples of art from various world cultures. The curriculum is designed to give students a broad grounding in painting, sculpture, architecture and the decorative arts, with a strong emphasis on understanding the cultural context in which they were produced. Students also develop a technical and critical vocabulary as well as sound writing skills to express ideas and feelings about a work of art.

Dr. Noelle Giuffrida
Mather House 305

The Undergraduate advisor accepts declarations of majors, advises major and minor students in registration procedures, answers questions concerning requirements and courses, signs necessary forms, and certifies completion of requirements for the major and minor in advance of graduation.


The major requires 36 credit hours of art history courses with the following distribution:
  1. ARTH 101/0102 (6 credit hours): These courses which satisfy the College of Arts and Sciences core offer overviews of Asian and Western Art. They seek to introduce the tools of visual analysis, the concept of style and esthetic and contextual aspects of works of art.
  2. ARTH 200-level (3-6 credit hours recommended): The student is introduced to the art of broad historical periods through a variety of area surveys.
  3. ARTH 300-level (15-18 credit hours): Here the student is encouraged to explore in more depth the arts of different periods and cultures and the varying approaches of different instructors.
  4. ARTH 396 Majors Seminar (3 credit hours Fall semester Senior year). This course also serves as a Capstone course in the SAGES curriculum.
  5. ARTS (3-6 credit hours): Although only three credit hours of art studio are required, the student major is encouraged to pursue other offerings in studio art.

There is no language requirement for the major in art history, but two years of foreign language study is encouraged. Foreign languages are required in art history graduate programs.

Minor in Art History
A minor for the B.A. degree in the Art History requires a minimum of eighteen credit hours including ARTH 101/102

General Education Requirement-Arts and Humanities
Any combination of two 100 or 200 level Art History courses for an arts sequence.

Humanities Sequence
For the B.S. degree a Humanities sequence may be pursued in the area of Art History; consisting of any three art history courses at the 100 or 200 level.

Independent Study

Independent study may be pursued in ARTH 398 and 399. Consent of the instructor is required.

Integrated Graduate Studies

The Integrated Graduate Studies (IGS) Program in Art History is open to highly qualified undergraduate students interested in pursuing graduate studies in the discipline. By closely integrating undergraduate and graduate course work, highly motivated students begin a program of graduate study in their senior year as they complete the B.A. requirements, with the M.A. degree generally awarded the following year.

On completion of ninety semester hours (ordinarily at the end of the junior year and after completing all GER requirements), art history majors who have earned a minimum grade point average of 3.2 in courses in art history and closely related fields, and 3.2 in all courses, may apply for admission to IGS through the School of Graduate Studies. This involves the submission of a completed application for admission to the Case Western Reserve University School of Graduate Studies (obtainable from the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies, 121 Baker Building), plus three letters of recommendation. The Office of Graduate Studies will obtain a current transcript from the University Registrar. The Department of Art does not require GRE scores for IGS applications.

An art history or major with a cumulative grade point average slightly below the 3.2 requirement but who is otherwise well qualified in the field and can meet all other requirements, may petition for admission to the IGS program.


Junior Year Abroad
Full-time students with a 3.0 grade point average in the college are eligible to apply for the Junior Year Abroad. Thirty semester hours of credit may be earned through study at an established foreign university or in foreign study programs offered by accredited American universities. Programs require approval of the student's major advisor and the appropriate dean's office. For details of available programs, interested students may contact the Western Reserve College Dean's office, ext. 2928.

There is a modest fee for participation in the Junior Year Abroad Program. Financial aid may be applied to the Junior Year Abroad Program.

Pre-professional training is available through ARTH 395. This course is designated for students seeking professional experience in art history. It focuses on the museum experience (registration, exhibition, interpretation, and administration) although students may also elect to conduct internships in museum-related environments such as art conservation.  Students are encouraged to have gained significant experience in art history coursework before embarking on an internship.  Students must identify an internship and supervisor as well as a campus internship supervisor the semester before enrolling in the internship.

Pancoast Fellowship
Pancoast Fellowships are available through the office of the Dean of Collegiate Affairs for women undergraduate majors to fund travel and study abroad. Recent awardees in the Department of Art History and Art have spent a summer of Italian art and language study in Florence and traveled to Nepal.

Awards and Prizes

The Department of Art History and Art awards two annual prizes to undergraduate majors in Art History. The Muriel S. Butkin Art History Prize is granted for overall best performance and highest grade point average by an undergraduate Art History major. The Noah L. Butkin Award is awarded to the undergraduate student who, in the opinion of the faculty, has written the best term paper on an art history topic that year.

Departmental Honors

Majors who wish to earn the Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors in Art History must make written application to the department chair no later than the fall semester of their senior year. Departmental honors are awarded upon fulfillment of the following requirements: a grade point average of at least 3.5 in the major and an honors thesis (ARTH 399) that receives a grade of A.

Art history majors wishing to undertake an honors thesis should have completed a significant portion of the requirements for the art history major (including 101 and 102 and a majority of the required upper division courses) and have attained a 3.5 GPA in the major or a GPA reasonably close to the expectation. An honors thesis should be an original work that facilitates the enhancement of skills essential to the discipline (e.g. research, critical analysis, and written expression). An honors thesis typically takes the form of an advanced research paper but other forms such as an exhibition or other related projects may be accepted. Samples of previous honors theses available upon request; suggested page length of a research paper c. 25 pages. In order to pursue an honors thesis, the student should ensure that s/he meets the basic requirements in consultation with the department undergraduate advisor or other faculty representative. The student must  identify an honors thesis supervisor the semester prior to enrolling in ARTH 399. Honors theses are typically one semester in length. The length of the honors thesis tenure should be developed in consultation with the thesis advisor. The thesis advisor, in consultation with the student, will identify a second reader for the honors thesis. Final submission of the honors thesis must be approved by both the thesis advisor and second reader. The submission form is found in the department office and is to be deposited in the student’s file. If the honors thesis is completed in the final semester of the student’s college career, the student and advisor must ensure that all graduation and honors declaration deadlines are met.

Resources and Facilities

Most classes are held at the Cleveland Museum of Art where students have access to the permanent collections and to a rotating schedule of exhibitions. Undergraduate students enrolled in 300 level courses and above are permitted access to the Museum's Ingalls Library, the fourth largest art museum library in the United States, with more than 300,000 volumes, including major art periodicals and auction catalogues.

The University's Kelvin Smith Library, with approximately 1.2 million volumes, is linked cybernetically with 75 college and university libraries in the state of Ohio. Enrolled students may use the fiber-optic CWRUnet system to borrow from these institutions via the world-wide web. The downtown Cleveland Public Library, one of the best of its kind in the nation, is another major resource.

Undergraduate majors are encouraged to attend area art history conferences and symposia. The department sponsors the annual Undergraduate Symposium, an international symposium organized by members of the Art History Club, and the annual Cleveland Symposium, organized by its graduate students for the presentation of papers. The Cleveland Museum of Art's active schedule of symposia, held in conjunction with its major exhibitions, provides students with the opportunity to hear distinguished national and international scholars, as do university sponsored programs of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities. Various conferences sponsored by CWRU, notably the American Studies program's collaboration with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, also engage topics of interest in visual and cultural studies. The department sponsors an annual lecture in honor of Professor Emeritus Harvey Buchanan. Recent speakers have included Wu Hung, Marilyn Stokstad, Charles Rosenberg, Michael Conforti, and Theodore Reff.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate students, both majors in art history and non-majors, may choose to pursue research on defined topics in art history with the consent of and under the supervision of members of the Department of Art faculty. Familiarity with a foreign language is recommended but not necessary.


Description and Personnel
The pre-architecture program is a track in the Art History major that introduces the student to the forms, history, and functions of architecture as well as the studio skills relevant to its practice. The program is designed to provide a background for undergraduate students who plan to continue architectural studies at the graduate level, as well as for those interested in the study of architecture as part of a liberal or technical education.

The most important component is the 2-semester course sequence Architecture and the City I and II. This is a traditional introductory architecture studio, giving students hands-on experience in designing in three-dimensions.  The course is taught by Sally Levine, an architect with an independent practice in Shaker Heights.  She is an experienced architectural educator.  If you have questions, you can reach her at

The pre-architecture major leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. HOWEVER, IT MAY BE CHOSEN ONLY AS A SECOND MAJOR. The double major is required so that the perspectives provided by this interdisciplinary program may be complemented by a concentrated disciplinary experience.

To declare a pre-architecture major, students should have declared a first major and have sophomore or junior standing. Up to 6 credits in general education requirements and elective courses taken by students for their first major may be applied to their pre-architecture major.

FACULTY DIRECTORY: Click here for information on faculty and their fields of study.

Faculty Office Hours

Teaching Assistants
Mather House 322

Department Assistant
Debby Tenenbaum
Mather House 108
FAX: 368-4681

Most courses in art history are offered in the classrooms of the Cleveland Museum of Art and in its galleries through the University's unique cooperative program with the museum. The CMA Ingalls Library contains more than 200,000 volumes and a photographic archive with more than 420,000 photographs as well as a slide collection in excess of 375,000 slides. These facilities are available to faculty and upper level undergraduate students for teaching and study purposes.

For further information regarding undergraduate enrollment, contact Dr. Noelle Giuffrida.


Image: Flowers in a Glass, Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (Dutch, 1573-1621), oil on copper.