Art History & Visual Arts


MAJOR: Eleven or twelve courses (44 or 48 units, depending on the emphasis) chosen in consultation with the major advisor.

Emphasis in Studio Art: Minimum of 48 units, chosen in consultation with the major advisor. Three beginning courses: S102, S103 and S105; Two of the following intermediate courses: S203, S210, S216 or 217; Two of the following Advanced Projects courses: S310, S320, or S330; and S490 Senior Seminar; One course, in Media Arts and Culture (Criticism or Production); Two Art History courses -H180 and H389. The sequencing of courses is crucial: students should take beginning and intermediate courses in the Frosh and Sophomore years; 300 level courses (Advanced Projects) in their junior year; and S490 (Senior Seminar) and any elective studio courses in the senior year. You may not take a required 100 level course as a Senior. In addition, the two Art History courses (H180 and H389), and one 300 level Advanced Projects course must be completed before the start of the senior year. S101, 104 and 106 may only be taken as electives and do not count as required beginning courses.

Emphasis in Media Arts and Culture: Minimum of 48 units. AHVA’s Media Arts & Culture Program fosters critical, historical, and practical exploration of audiovisual culture, with students producing senior comprehensives capstone work in either media production or critical media. All students, regardless of their project choice, are expected to push the boundaries of media scholarship, project form, and modes of audiovisual communication.

A minimum of twelve courses (48 units) are required for the MAC emphasis with students moving fairly freely between courses in production and those more focused on media history and critical analysis. Of the twelve required courses, students must take: at least three of the four 100-level gateway courses (ArtM 140, 143, 145, and/or 146), at least three (4-unit) 200-level courses, and the junior and senior seminars (ArtM 390 and 490). In addition, majors must complete one ArtH (Art History) and one ArtS (Studio) course.

All production comprehensives students must have taken ArtM 140 and either 242 or 355 by the end of junior year, along with 220 if producing fiction. In addition to ArtM 390, critical media comprehensives students must have taken at least two critical or historical media studies courses at the 200- or 300-level before the end of junior year.

Students may take relevant courses offered in other Occidental departments such as Theater, Music, CTSJ, or ECLS, which can be applied to the major upon approval of their faculty advisor. Eligible students may apply to study abroad in the Fall semester of Junior Year. Students may enroll for 2-unit internships through the Career Development Center. Occidental College also has a cross-registration agreement with Art Center College of Design, which offers various technical courses in media software.


Emphasis in History of Art: A minimum of 48 units, including three survey-level courses (H160, H170, and H180; one of these may be replaced by a 200-level elective in the same area) or equivalent; at least one course above 300 in two of these areas: Asian, Early Western, and twentieth century (either H387 or H389); the Seminar in Art History (H390); and the Senior Seminar (H490); two additional art history courses above the 100 level, of which at least one is at the 300 level; at least two courses (8 units) in Media Arts and Culture and/or Studio Art. In consultation with the advisor, a student may substitute a course outside the department (such as history, literature, politics, or philosophy, preferably related to the topic area of the senior thesis) for one of the art history electives.

Combined Emphasis: Students may declare a combined emphasis in art history and studio art: A minimum of 48 units, including four introductory courses two each in studio art (chosen from ARTS 101, 102, 103, 105, 106) and art history (chosen from ARTH 160, 170, 180); and six courses above the 100-level, three each in studio art and art history, including at least one 300-level course in each area; the Senior Seminar in studio art (ARTS490) or art history (ARTH490). Similar combined emphases between Art History and Media Arts and Culture or between Studio Art and Media Arts and Culture may be proposed in consultation with the faculty advisor.


Emphasis in Studio Art: Five courses (20 units) in the department including any four studio courses and one art history course. Studio courses must be selected from more than one professor.

Emphasis in Media Arts and Culture: Five Art M courses (20 units).

Emphasis in History of Art: Five art history courses (20 units) including at least one from Western art and one from Asian art; at least three must be 200-level courses or above.

WRITING REQUIREMENT: All students majoring in the department must successfully complete discipline-relevant writing within the context of the Junior Seminar for their specific area of emphasis (Studio Art - Art S390, Art History ¬Art H395, Media Arts and Culture - Art M390). For further information see page 40 and consult the department chair or your major advisor.

HONORS: A student with an overall GPA of at least 3.2 overall and 3.5 in the major who has demonstrated excellence in departmental courses must submit a proposal for an honors project for consideration before April 1 of the junior year. For further information, please see the Honors section of the catalog and consult the department chair.

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  • Location: Weingart 109