Undergraduate Concentrations

The Department of the History of Art offers students two separate concentrations. Students can choose to concentrate in the History of Art and Architecture or in Architectural Studies. The two concentrations are allied, but they also have different goals and requirements. What they share is stated here. You can find the different requirements and goals for each by clicking on the links for the two concentrations.

Whether you choose to concentrate in the History of Art and Architecture or in Architectural Studies, the Department's goal is to provide you with a strong theoretical and historical understanding of the visual and material environment created by humankind. You will encounter a vast range of works, from the most recognized buildings, paintings, and sculptures to deeper layers of material culture. In courses that span history you will explore the past as a foreign country with all its surprises and different from what you might expect. And you will range across the globe in courses that embrace human creation throughout the world.

Both concentrations aim to engage you with the history of art and architecture as a humanistic discipline. You will master the different analytical tools that have been developed and are currently used in practice to expand our knowledge of art and material culture in history. These include a wide spectrum of approaches, from gender theory and the structural analysis of buildings to direct familiarity with the classification by date and style of artworks and material culture or the relationship between production of paintings and the history of economics.  In your courses, you will discover the history of art and architecture as a lively field of inquiry, embracing theoretical questions that open up new areas and issues. Your path into understanding new cultures and historical periods also will be opened by learning to read at least one foreign language as part of what both concentrations require.

Both concentrations will prepare you to choose from a variety of professional goals. Our graduates have built careers in higher education, museum work, the art market, architectural history and practice, historic preservation, publishing, cultural property law, and other fields.

Concentration Advising

Students who wish to concentrate in the History of Art and Architecture or Architectural Studies are welcome to do so after consultation with the Departmental Undergraduate Supervisor, Professor Jeffrey Muller (jeffrey_muller@brown.edu, office hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30-3:30pm, List Art Building 411)

The Concentration Supervisor should be consulted for matters concerning course selection, approval to take RISD courses, approval to study abroad, and the final approval of transfer credits for courses taken outside of Brown.

Taking RISD Courses

Brown students may take as many as 4 courses at the Rhode Island School of Design (History of Art and Architecture concentrators can count only 2 of these for concentration credit). Only two circumstances will require a student to petition in advance of registration: when students wish to study at RISD for 5 or more courses and when students intend to enroll in a RISD course that satisfies RISD's Liberal Arts degree requirements. The Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) demands that students who desire to have more than 4 RISD courses counted toward their Brown degree present an academic rationale in each instance. In the event of Brown/RISD curricular overlap, students are asked to enroll in the Brown course.

Study Abroad Programs/Summer School

Information on approved programs for study abroad may be obtained at the Office of International Programs in J. Walter Wilson Buidling,  Suite 510.  Forms necessary for preliminary and final approval are also available there for the concentration advisor's signature. Transfer credits will be counted as lecture courses rather than seminars. Concentrators may receive concentration credit for two courses taken abroad. Summer courses require advance approval from the concentration advisor, and should be at least five weeks long, excluding the final examination, in order to count for Brown credit.