Curiosity and persistence got me pretty far, but I got much farther with the critical thinking skills I honed at Carleton. – Nancy Broden, Honours B.A. Art History, 1991

Browse our growing collection of photos and testimonials at…
What our students say about Art History at Carleton

An undergraduate education in Art History provides students not only with art-historical knowledge, but with a whole range of skills that are essential in a variety of arts-related professions, such as museum work, arts education and administration. These skills include the ability to perform rigorous research, to communicate ideas clearly in oral and written forms, to work in groups, to manage time, and to organize projects. Carleton’s undergraduate training also gives students the necessary grounding for graduate work in Art History or other related disciplines.

The First-Year Experience
For Art History students, the first year performs two tasks. First, as for all undergraduate students, it acts as a transitional year, acquainting students with university life and standards of academic performance. Second, Art History students acquire a general knowledge of art-historical matters that provides the foundation for their second-year classes. Students are thus required to take the introductory Art History courses (ARTH 1100 and 1101), which introduces them to Western and non-Western artistic traditions.

The Second-Year Experience
Art History students take a large range of survey courses at the second-year level, which provides them with a thorough grounding in the history of art. These courses involve lectures as well as active discussions and written assignments. Through these courses, students deepen their knowledge of the field as well as refine their writing skills and their ability to think critically.

The Third-Year Experience
At the third-year level, the courses are more focused in content and deal more concretely with methodological concerns.

Art History Honours students are required to take a course in the history and methods of Art History (ARTH 3106). An engaging seminar in theory, historiography and method, this course develops the critical faculties and theoretical awareness that inform and enhance what students are learning in their other classes, preparing them for sophisticated work in their fourth-year research seminars. Third-year Art History students are encouraged to take advantage of the resources of the National Capital Region through a practicum placement at a cultural institution in Ottawa, such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Ottawa Art Gallery, the Museum of Civilization, and Library and Archives Canada.

The Fourth-Year Experience
At the fourth-year level, students build on the historical depth and critical skills acquired in the program to engage actively in the intellectual challenges of scholarly research and analytical thinking. Limited enrolment seminars provide stimulating environments of active learning and discussion. Emphasis is placed on both the deepening of research skills and the acquisition of practical experience in arts and cultural institutions. A focus also exists in fourth year on interdisciplinary work, as reflected in courses on cultural theory, cross-cultural studies, and other interdisciplinary topics. In these seminars, students have the opportunity to work in faculty members’ areas of active research. Fourth-year seminars are the culmination of the BA program. Students experience the excitement of real intellectual participation in the most recent debates in the field.

Undergraduate Programs

This section provides a link to the Undergraduate Calendar and the specific requirements and program information for the following programs available in Art History and the History and Theory of Architecture (offered in cooperation with the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism):

  • Art History – B.A. Honours
  • Art History – B.A. Combined Honours
  • Art History – B.A. General
  • Minor in Art History
  • History and Theory of Architecture – B.A. Honours
  • History and Theory of Architecture – B.A. General

photo - setting up exhiibition in the Gallery

Courses in the BA programs

The goals of the majors and honours program in Art History are to give students a thorough knowledge of the history of art, and to engage them critically in the current debates within the discipline and in the humanities in general. Such an education provides students with an awareness and understanding of various cultures as well as an appreciation of cultural difference. It also enables them to think and look critically. Students gain important communication skills, verbal and oral, through exchanging ideas in the classroom and writing research papers.

This training gives students a curiosity for intellectual endeavours, as well as a critical advantage that is necessary for professional life. It also provides them with the communication and research skills that are demanded in a variety of workplaces. Finally, our thorough training in art historical matters enables students to go on to studies at the graduate level, as many of our students do.

Undergraduate Calendar – Course Descriptions

Courses offered Fall/Winter 2017-2018

Course Number Changes 2014

Art History and History and Theory of Architecture Students: please note that this year some course numbers have changed.

  • ARTH 2608 is now ARTH 1201
  • ARTH 3305 is now ARTH 2310
  • ARTH 3609 is now ARTH 2610

If you started your program prior to 2014/15, then your program requirements on your audit will continue to reflect the old course numbers, which are no longer available. In order to fulfil specific course requirements not yet complete, take the required course at its new number, and your audit will be adjusted to reflect the new course coding before you graduate.

Please note that, for year-level requirements (courses required at 1000-, 2000-, and 3000-level) the courses will be counted at the year level of their coding in the year that you have taken them. In other words, if you took ARTH 2608 last year, it will count as a 2000-level course, but if you take it as 1201 this year, it will count as a 1000-level course.

Admission to the Art History and History and Theory of Architecture BA programs

The Carleton University Admissions Website has all the information you require about the process of being admitted to either the Art History program or the History and Theory of Architecture program.

On the Admissions page you can also sign up for the Admissions E-Newsletter which provides a monthly update with everything of interest to anyone thinking of attending Carleton U.

The goals of the majors (general) and honours programs in Art History are to give students a thorough knowledge of the history of art, and to engage them critically in the current debates within the discipline and in the humanities in general

Students at third year level or above can enroll in the department’s practicum program for up to two semesters, gaining hands-on experience in museum, gallery, or archival work.

There are four scholarships/bursaries that are of particular relevance to Art History majors.

The Capital Advantage

Photo - National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

Art History at Carleton is in a unique situation to foster intellectual growth. Its location in the nation’s capital provides our students with access to institutions of national and international scope, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and Library and Archives Canada. We use these institutions to teach our students to engage critically with extraordinary works of non-Western and Western civilizations.

The collecting, exhibiting, and research institutions in the National Capital Region are integral to Carleton’s art history program. Access to these institutions through our practicum program (a one or two semester internship) offers unique opportunities and advantages for students who want to pursue professional careers. The use of national institutions such as the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Civilization, moreover, defines our broader mandate, inclusive of art and visual culture from around the world, both historical and contemporary.

The practicum component is particularly significant for graduates looking for professional employment. The use of national institutions such as the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Civilization, moreover, defines our broader mandate, inclusive of art and visual culture from around the world, both historical and contemporary.