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Columbia University Course/Program Name
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International :01 Jan 

BA Art History with a Visual Arts Concentration

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

3 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

46040 USD
46040 USD

Application fee

International 75 USD
National 75 USD
Department of Art History
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600

World University Ranking

About this course

The Art History Department offers a major with a Concentration in the Visual Arts. Here, students have the option of doing a studio thesis instead of a written one. Visual Arts Concentrators work closely with faculty advisors who assists them in planning a program incorporating personal interests while meeting departmental requirements.


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Eligibility Criteria

To be well-prepared for a college like Barnard, it is important to think about the academic community you are hoping to join. Barnard's general education requirements cover a wide range of subjects: literature, the social sciences, language and the arts, lab sciences, and quantitative areas. For this reason, you should acquire a strong foundation in high school, taking courses from the core academic subjects: math, science, English, history, and foreign language. Do your best to take the most rigorous classes available to you in which you can do your best work. For transfer students, our recommendations are similar. Take courses that are recommended to fulfill general requirements in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. If an area is a relative weakness, continue taking that subject while pursuing advanced coursework in areas of relative strength. Remember, we hope to see how you might contribute to our intellectual community, and your choices tell us what kind of a student you will be.

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Course Modules

Requirements for the Major in Art History with a Visual Arts Concentration

A minimum of 12 courses:

1. BC1001 and 1002 Introduction to Art History. This two-course sequence is required.

2. Art History: BC3031 Imagery and Form in the Arts. To be taken in the spring semester during the junior or senior year.

3. Studio courses: BC3530 Advanced Studio AND BC3999 Senior Independent Project
(to be taken in the Senior year) 
Students produce their senior thesis projects in conjunction with the Advance Studio BC3530 (fall) and Independent Projects BC 3999  (spring) courses.  (Please see description of the senior thesis below). You will develop, research, and create your thesis project in consultation with faculty members and peers in the Visual Arts Concentration. You will also attend and participate in group critiques, and guest artist lectures scheduled during the academic year. You will present your visual art project in two group senior exhibitions scheduled at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters of the senior year.

4.  One Seminar Courses in Art History (may also be counted toward the historical and regional distribution requirement.)

5.  One 19th or 20th century elective courses, in Art History.

6. Two elective courses in Art History

7. Three elective courses in Visual Arts-Studio

*Courses in film are accepted toward the major requirements. 

*Studio courses cannot exceed 30 points of credits.


Description: The Senior Project in the Art History Visual Arts Concentration is scheduled in the last year of the major.  By that time you will have taken Imagery and Form BC 3031 and a variety of Art History and Studio courses, which may help form your approach to your thesis project.

BC3530 Advanced Studio AND BC3999 Senior Independent Project provides a two-semester framework in which to complete a senior project. Your Senior Project should be a cohesive body of work based on original concepts and executed with some technical proficiency.  A paper approximately seven to ten page in length will accompany your Senior Project outlining your artistic goals.  This paper will serve as an artist’s statement and should describe what your work would mean to viewers as well situate your work vis-a-vis artistic precedents.

You also will take part in a senior thesis exhibition, which will be accompanied by a catalog. Here, you will be responsible for both installing your work and for taking it down at the end of the show.

Grades: Two grades will be awarded in connection with your work on the Senior Project.  One will evaluate the way in which you have fulfilled the course requirements, that is, the regularity of your meetings and the effort you have made in completing your thesis.  This grade will be a letter grade.  The second grade will be awarded on the basis of the evaluation of the Senior Project itself.  This evaluation will consider whether or not the aims of the project were met: a pass with distinction, a pass or a fail.


Art History Majors concentrating in Visual Arts may chose to do a written Art History Senior Thesis instead of the Visual Arts Senior Project. To do this they must: Notify their adviser of their intention to do so by the end of their junior year with permission from both the Visual Arts Director and Art History chair. They must then take both Methods and Theories of Art History (BC3970) & the written Art History senior research seminar (BC3959 and BC3960).  (These three courses required for the written thesis option replace the Visual Arts sequence, BC3031 Imagery and Form in the Arts and BC3530 Advanced Studio AND BC3999 Senior Independent Project.)

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How to Apply

Submit all supporting materials

  • Request that all official high school and college transcripts be sent to Barnard College along with your high school's profile. Your guidance counselor will also need to submit the School Report.
  • Submit official standardized testing. For more information, please view
  • Submit Teacher Evaluation forms. We require letters from two teachers that taught you in core academic subjects (English, foreign language, history [social science], mathematics, or science) in your final two years of secondary school.
  • Your counselor will submit the mid-year report with your first semester senior grades by March 1st via the common application.
  • Submit TOEFL or IELTS (if applicable). In addition to SAT/ACT requirements, TOEFL/IELTS scores are required for students whose primary language is not English and who have not been enrolled in a school where English is the primary medium of instruction for four consecutive years

Optional Supplemental Materials

  • Students may choose to complete an on-campus or off-campus interview. For information on how and when to schedule an interview, please visit our admissions interview page. 
  • Students may choose to submit supplementary portfolios (art—including film, photo, drawing, painting, sculpture—music, dance, theatre, or creative writing) for review via Slideroom. 
    Please note: Supplementary material will not be reviewed by Barnard faculty, and unfortunately, during high volume periods, we cannot guarantee it will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. 

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