Art and Architectural History

As an Art and Architectural History student, you’ll immerse yourself in the study of visual culture and its philosophical, aesthetic and social meanings across history. Through coursework, internships and a semester abroad at our Florence architectural studio, you’ll explore the interconnectedness of the arts and develop the analytical and critical skills needed for a career in teaching, museums and galleries, art conservation and commercial art.

The Art and Architectural Major

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The program leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Architectural History is a 12-course, 36-credit major. The courses build upon a two-course introductory sequence, a seven-course intermediate level, two advanced seminars and a senior seminar or thesis. This flexible program is tailored to  the particular interests and goals of each student who may, beginning at the intermediate level, develop a six-course concentration in either Art History or Architectural History.

Degree Requirements

Introductory Courses

AAH121-122History of Art and Architecture I-II 

Intermediate Courses

AAH305Theory and Methods of Art and Architectural History 

And SIX from the following menu of options:

AAH311History of American Art 
AAH312History of Modern Art 
AAH313Arts and Architecture of Africa 
AAH317Giotto to Leonardo 
AAH318Michelangelo to Vasari 
AAH319History of Italian Renaissance Art 
AAH320The Art of Buon Fresco 
AAH321Art and Architecture in the Classical World 
AAH322Art and Architecture in the Medieval World 
AAH323Art and Architecture in the Islamic World 
ARCH324Evolution of Urban Form 
ARCH325History of Modern Architecture 
ARCH327History of American Architecture 
ARCH328Renaissance Architecture in Perspective 
ARCH329History of Landscape Architecture 
AAH330Topics in Art and Architectural History 
HP341Pre-industrial America 
HP342Industrial America 

Advanced Seminars
Three of the following:

AAH421Issues in Contemporary Art 
AAH423Nature and Art 
AAH430Special Topics in Art and Architectural History 
ARCH478Dutch Architecture: An Enduring 20th Century Legacy 
AAH530Special Topics in Art and Architectural History 
AAH560The Newport Seminar 
ARCH573Modernism in the Non-Western World 
ARCH575Contemporary Asian Architecture and Urbanism 
ARCH576Theoretical Origins of Modernism 
ARCH577The American Skyscraper 

400 level courses in Art and Architectural History from the Institute for Fine and Liberal Arts of the Palazzo Rucellai.

OR

AAH450Senior Thesis 

Optional Concentration
Students may elect to pursue a six-course concentration from the intermediate courses and advanced seminars in either Art History or Architectural History.

Art History Concentration: six from AAH 311, AAH 312, AAH 313, AAH 317, AAH 318, AAH 319, AAH 321, AAH 322, AAH 323, AAH 330 (relevant topics), AAH 421, AAH 423, AAH 430 (relevant topics) Architectural History Concentration: six from ARCH 324, ARCH 325, ARCH 327, ARCH 328, ARCH 329, AAH 321, AAH 322, AAH 323, AAH 330 (relevant topics), HP 341, HP 342, AAH 423, AAH 430 (relevant topics), ARCH 475, ARCH 530 (relevant topics), ARCH 573, ARCH 575, ARCH 576, ARCH 577

Course Catalog

To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.

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Bachelor of Arts in Art and Architectural History/ Master of Arts in Art and Architectural History 4+1 Degree Program

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Students can expect to complete the degree program sequence through a program of 5 1/2 or 6 years of study, though students may accelerate through winter intersession or summer study.

Degree Requirements

Introductory Courses

AAH121History of Art and Architecture I 
AAH122History of Art and Architecture II 

Intermediate Courses

AAH305Theory and Methods of Art and Architectural History 

And SIX from the following menu of options:

AAH311History of American Art 
AAH312History of Modern Art 
AAH313Arts and Architecture of Africa 
AAH317Giotto to Leonardo 
AAH318Michelangelo to Vasari 
AAH319History of Italian Renaissance Art 
AAH320The Art of Buon Fresco 
AAH321Art and Architecture in the Classical World 
AAH322Art and Architecture in the Medieval World 
AAH323Art and Architecture in the Islamic World 
ARCH324Evolution of Urban Form 
ARCH325History of Modern Architecture 
ARCH327History of American Architecture 
ARCH328Renaissance Architecture in Perspective 
ARCH329History of Landscape Architecture 
AAH330Topics in Art and Architectural History 
HP341Pre-industrial America 
HP342Industrial America 

Advanced Seminars

AAH505Art and Architectural History Theory and Methods Seminar 

And THREE of the following:

AAH421Issues in Contemporary Art 
AAH430Special Topics in Art and Architectural History 
ARCH478Dutch Architecture: An Enduring 20th Century Legacy 
AAH523Nature and Art 
AAH530Special Topics in Art and Architectural History 
AAH560The Newport Seminar 
ARCH573Modernism in the Non-Western World 
ARCH575Contemporary Asian Architecture and Urbanism 
ARCH576Theoretical Origins of Modernism 
ARCH577The American Skyscraper 

400 level courses in Art and Architectural History from the Institute for Fine and Liberal Arts of the Palazzo Rucellai.

OR

AAH450Senior Thesis 

Elective Requirement
The completion of eleven electives offered at the advanced level is required for graduation.

In addition to the undergraduate program, students in the B.A./M.A. in Art + Architectural History 4+1 program must complete the minimum of 36 RWU credit hours at the graduate level and an internship through the SAAHP Career Investment Program. These 500- and 600-level courses include three-credit classes, a travel course (as an option) of three credits. See Master of Arts degree requirements below.

All accepted Master’s students will, in conference with their advisor, develop a personal degree program to include electives from select, existing graduate-level offerings, as needed, in SAAHP (art and architectural history, historic preservation, and architecture) and related graduate programs in the university.

Students accepted to the Master’s program who do not have a Bachelor of Arts in art and architectural history will, in conference with their advisor, develop a customized degree program to include, as needed, select, existing  undergraduatelevel courses that are already part of the B.A. in Art and Architectural History curriculum and/or university offerings.

Undergraduate coursework or language course work necessary to meet the graduate degree expectations will not count toward the Master’s curriculum total. At least 30 graduate credits must be taken at RWU.

Thesis Option
The thesis represents the culminating intellectual experience in the Master’s program. This written essay of publishable quality is produced over two semesters of seminar work in the Research Methods and Thesis courses with an advisor in the area of the student’s research interest. The end product will be evaluated by at least two Graduate Faculty members.  Detailed guidelines for this research paper will be provided. Master’s papers are presented at an end-of year, day-long public seminar and are accessioned by the University library to form an archive of collected student scholarly resources.


Course Distribution
All students must fulfill a distribution requirement. At least one course must be taken in four of the following eight areas of study with a minimum of one of the four in a region beyond Europe and the Americas:

  • Ancient Greek and Roman Art and Architecture
  • Byzantine and Medieval Art and Architecture
  • Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture
  • Modern European Art and Architecture
  • Art and Architecture of the Americas
  • Art and Architecture of Africa
  • Art and Architecture of Asia
  • Islamic Art and Architecture


Concentration in Art History or Architectural History
For the optional Master’s degree concentration in art history or in architectural history, students may elect to focus on one of these two fields of study represented in the department. They must complete six of their twelve graduate courses in either Architectural History or Art History. The core course and thesis requirements are the same as the MA in the more integrated Master of Arts degree in Arts and Architecture.

Complementary Coursework
With the approval of their advisor, students may take courses in the culture, literature, history, and philosophy of their areas of interest. These courses, as well as language courses and studio art courses do not count towards the degree. In the second year of full-time study, or final year of part-time study, students must register for one research methods thesis course and one thesis seminar in which they work under the close supervision of a faculty advisor, thus completing the 36 credit requirement.

Foreign Languages
In addition to completing the required course work, each student must demonstrate mastery of intermediate level reading proficiency in one foreign language related to their research interests by completing two courses at the intermediate level in that language or by equivalent certification through examination.

Student Internship and Employment
Through the graduate program every student is required to complete an Internship through the SAAHP Career Investment Program which provides students with a supervised practical environment in which to practice professional skills at a governmental office or agency, nonprofit museum or gallery, or private arts institution. This experience may lead to future positions in the field.

4+1 Bachelor of Arts + Master of Arts Threshold Review: Junior Year Review
Students are required to have achieved and maintained a 2.67 cumulative GPA through the end of the sixth semester in order to enter directly into the 4+1 Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts in Art and Architectural History Degree Program. All B.A. in Art and Architectural History students are reviewed for achievement of these standards at this time, and notified of their eligibility to continue with the 4+1 sequence. Students must notify the school of their intention to pursue this 4+1 track.

Students pursuing the 4+1 Bachelor of Arts/Master of Arts in Art and Architectural History degree sequence subsequently complete all 500-600 level coursework at graduate academic standards, which include achieving a minimum passing grade of B- in any 500-600 level course, and a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all 500-600 level courses. Students with Senior Standing and who have achieved a 2.67 cumulative GPA may register for graduate coursework with approval of the instructor and the dean.

Graduate Course Grading, GPA and Graduation Requirements
The minimum passing grade in graduate-level courses is a B-(2.67). The minimum GPA for M.A. in Art and Architectural History graduate students is 3.0.

Duration of Study
Full-time students are expected to complete all requirements for the MA degree in two years. Parttime completion of the MA is also possible; part-time students typically complete the degree in three to five years. With careful planning, undergraduate students or incoming graduate students with advanced standing, and in consultation with their advisor, can complete the degree requirements in an accelerated time-frame. For  example, courses may be taken in winter sessions or as the program develops, in summer mini-mesters, or summer sessions. The program for all MA candidates is determined in discussion with the student’s advisor and is a mix of seminar and lecture courses.

Course Catalog

To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.

Download PDF (6 MB)

Elective Offerings

Advanced Level Course Options

AAH520Themes in World Arts and Architecture 
AAH521Issues in Contemporary Art 
AAH522Sacred Spaces 
AAH523Nature and Art 
AAH530Special Topics/Travel Course: Arts and Architecture of Time and Place 
AAH531Topics in Art and Architecture of the Classical World 
AAH532Topics in Art and Architecture of the Medieval World 
AAH533Topics in Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture 
AAH534Topics in Modern Art and Architecture 
AAH535Topics in Art and Architecture of the Americas 
AAH536Topics in Art and Architecture of Africa 
AAH537Topics in Art and Architecture of Asia 
AAH538Topics in Art and Architecture of the Islamic World 
AAH560The Newport Seminar 
AAH650Thesis 
ARCH573Modernism in the Non-Western World 
ARCH576Theoretical Origins of Modernism 
ARCH577The American Skyscraper 

The Art and Architectural Minor

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Degree Requirements

ARCH121-122History of Art and Architecture I-II 

Two Intermediate Courses from the Art and Architectural History Major

Two additional courses from the Art and Architectural History Major, a minimum of one at the 400 level or above.

Course Catalog

To read more about our academic offerings, or to view full course descriptions, please refer to our University Catalog.

Download PDF (6 MB)