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Art History emphasizes the analysis of visual data in a historical context. Faculty expertise extends to many world regions—the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Mediterranean, South and Southeast Asia, China, and the Islamic world—and over all historical periods. Students apply what they learn through internship opportunities available in the Washington DC area, including the world-famous collections of the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institutions. Students go on to work in areas including museums, arts institutions, galleries, government and managerial positions. They also pursue further studies in fields including art history, library science, design technology, historic preservation, and fashion.


Students pursuing this degree must complete 33 to 34 credits within the major, with a minimum GPA of 2.00. Up to 6 credits in art history internships may be applied toward ARTH requirements for the major, with permission of the art history undergraduate director. A maximum of 6 credits of ARTH 398 Study Abroad in the History of Art may be applied to the major with permission of department.

For policies governing all undergraduate degrees, see AP.5 Undergraduate Policies.

Banner Code: LA-BA-AH

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

All art history majors are encouraged to pursue internships in art history (ARTH 393 Art History Internships) in their junior or senior year. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in a study abroad program. Students contemplating graduate study in art history should acquire a reading knowledge of French, German, or other appropriate research languages in consultation with an advisor.

Core Courses in the Major

Select one survey course from the following:3
History of Western Art I (Mason Core)
History of Western Art II (Mason Core)
Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core)
Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core)
ARTH 394The Museum (Mason Core)3
Select five courses from ARTH courses at the 300 level 115
Total Credits21
400-Level ARTH Courses
Select two from the following:6
Historiography and Methods of Research in Art History (Topic Varies)
Advanced Studies in Ancient Art
Advanced Studies in Medieval or Islamic Art
RS: Advanced Studies in Renaissance and Baroque Art
RS: Advanced Studies in 20th-Century European Art
Advanced Studies in Art of the United States
RS: Advanced Studies in 20th-Century Latin American Art
Advanced Studies in Contemporary Art
RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art
RS: Objects and Archives in Art History
Advanced Studies in Art History
Art and Visual Technology Course
Select one from the following:3-4
Introduction to the Artist's Studio (Mason Core)
Two-Dimensional Design and Color (Mason Core)
Drawing I (Mason Core)
Painting I (Mason Core)
Printmaking I (Mason Core)
Darkroom Photography I (Mason Core)
Digital Photography I (Mason Core)
Sculpture I (Mason Core)
Total Credits9-10

Elective in the Major

Select one elective from any art history course3
Total Credits3

Writing-Intensive Requirement

The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated as "writing intensive" in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in art history fulfill the university's writing-intensive requirement by successfully completing any 400-level ARTH course.

Additional Electives

Any remaining credits may be completed with elective courses to bring the degree total to 120.

Upper Level Requirement

Students seeking a bachelor’s degree must apply at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above) toward graduation requirements.

College Level Requirements for the BA Degree

In addition to the Mason Core program, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill a college level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements (Mason Core requirements or requirements for the major).

Philosophy or Religious Studies
Select 3 credits from the following:3
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select 3 credits of social and behavioral sciences from the following (additional to the Mason Core social and behavioral sciences requirement) 13
Or choose from the following GGS courses:
Major World Regions (Mason Core)
Human Geography (Mason Core)
Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies
Political Geography
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)
Population Geography (Mason Core)
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of the United States
Geography of Latin America
Geography of Europe
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East
Geography of the Soviet Succession States
Urban Planning
Geography of Virginia
Foreign Language
Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language, fulfilled by: 1
Or achieving a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test
Or completing the following ASL three course sequence:
American Sign Language (ASL) I
American Sign Language (ASL) II
American Sign Language (ASL) III
Non-Western Culture

Select 3 credits of an approved course in the study of a non-Western culture (additional to the Mason Core requirement in global understanding)

Select 3 credits (additional to Mason Core Global Understanding requirement) 1
ANTH 114Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core)3
ANTH 300Civilizations3
ANTH 302Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core)3
ANTH 307Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core)3
ANTH 308Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core)3
ANTH 309Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core)3
ANTH 313Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core)3
ANTH 314Zombies3
ANTH 330Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western3
ANTH 332Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core)3
ANTH 381Medical Anthropology3
ANTH 396Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core)3
ARAB 360Topics in Arabic Cultural Production3
ARAB 420Survey of Arabic Literature3
ARAB 440Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core)3
ARTH 203Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 204Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 206Survey of African Art (Mason Core)3
ARTH 318Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt3
ARTH 319Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core)3
ARTH 320Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core)3
ARTH 382Arts of India (Mason Core)3
ARTH 383Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core)3
ARTH 384Arts of China (Mason Core)3
ARTH 385Arts of Japan (Mason Core)3
ARTH 386The Silk Road (Mason Core)3
ARTH 482RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art3
CHIN 318Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core)3
CHIN 320Contemporary Chinese Film3
CHIN 325Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core)3
DANC 118World Dance (Mason Core)3
ECON 361Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core)3
ECON 362African Economic Development (Mason Core)3
FREN 451Topics in Sub-Saharan Francophone Literature and Culture3
FREN 454Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture3
GGS 101Major World Regions (Mason Core)3
GGS 316Geography of Latin America3
GGS 325Geography of North Africa and the Middle East3
GGS 330Geography of the Soviet Succession States3
GGS 399Select Topics in GGS3
GOVT 328Global Political Theory3
GOVT 332Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa3
GOVT 333Government and Politics of Asia3
GOVT 338Government and Politics of Russia3
GOVT 340Central Asian Politics3
GOVT 341Chinese Foreign Policy3
GOVT 345Islam and Politics3
GOVT 433Political Economy of East Asia3
HIST 251Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)3
HIST 252Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core)3
HIST 261Survey of African History (Mason Core)3
HIST 262Survey of African History (Mason Core)3
HIST 271Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)3
HIST 272Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core)3
HIST 281Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)3
HIST 282Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core)3
HIST 326Stalinism3
HIST 327The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II3
HIST 328Rise of Russia (Mason Core)3
HIST 329Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core)3
HIST 353History of Traditional China3
HIST 354Modern China (Mason Core)3
HIST 356Modern Japan (Mason Core)3
HIST 357Postwar Japan (Mason Core)3
HIST 358Post-1949 China (Mason Core)3
HIST 360History of South Africa (Mason Core)3
HIST 364Revolution and Radical Politics in Latin America (Mason Core)3
HIST 365Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core)3
HIST 366Comparative Slavery3
HIST 367History, Fiction, and Film in Latin America3
HIST 387Topics in Global History (Mason Core)3-6
HIST 426The Russian Revolution3
HIST 460Modern Iran (Mason Core)3
HIST 461Arab-Israeli Conflict3
HIST 462Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core)3
HIST 465The Middle East in the 20th Century3
JAPA 310Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core)3
JAPA 340Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core)3
KORE 320Korean Popular Culture in a Global World3
MUSI 103Musics of the World (Mason Core)3
RELI 211Religions of the West (Mason Core)3
RELI 212Religions of Asia (Mason Core)3
RELI 240Death and the Afterlife in World Religions3
RELI 272Islam3
RELI 313Hinduism (Mason Core)3
RELI 314Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions3
RELI 315Buddhism (Mason Core)3
RELI 337Mysticism: East and West3
RELI 365Muhammad: Life and Legacy3
RELI 374Islamic Thought (Mason Core)3
RELI 375Qur'an and Hadith3
RELI 379Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics3
RELI 387Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights3
RELI 490Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core)3
RUSS 353Russian Civilization (Mason Core)3
RUSS 354Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core)3

Mason Core

Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (ENGH 101)3
Oral Communication3
Quantitative Reasoning3
Information Technology and Computing3
Exploration Requirements
Global Understanding3
Natural Science7
Social and Behavioral Sciences3
Western Civilization/World History3
Integration Requirements
Written Communications (ENGH 302)3
Writing-Intensive 13
Synthesis/Capstone 23
Total Credits40

Honors in the Major


Majors who have completed 75 credits (a minimum of 15 credits in art history, with 6 credits taken at Mason) with an overall GPA of 3.50 and a GPA of 3.80 in art history are eligible to apply to graduate with honors in art history. Eligible students should apply to the undergraduate director by November 15 or April 15 with a statement of application including the names of two references from Mason art history faculty members. Transfer students should also submit transcripts. Not all applicants who meet the minimum requirements are guaranteed acceptance into honors in the major.

Honors Requirements

Students pursuing honors in the major complete ARTH 492 Honors Directed Readings and ARTH 493 Honors Directed Research, linked individualized courses that culminate in a research paper. Students must have completed at least one course in the field (or with the professor) chosen for these honors courses. ARTH 492 Honors Directed Readings should be taken before ARTH 493 Honors Directed Research, but they may be taken concurrently. To graduate with honors in the major, students must earn a minimum GPA of 3.50 in honors courses and a minimum GPA of 3.50 in art history courses applied to the degree. The two honors courses (6 credits) may be applied toward the requirement of 33- to 34-credits in art history, but they cannot replace the 6 required credits in the following:

ARTH 400Historiography and Methods of Research in Art History (Topic Varies)3
ARTH 420Advanced Studies in Ancient Art3
ARTH 430Advanced Studies in Medieval or Islamic Art3
ARTH 440RS: Advanced Studies in Renaissance and Baroque Art3
ARTH 460RS: Advanced Studies in 20th-Century European Art3
ARTH 471Advanced Studies in Art of the United States3
ARTH 472RS: Advanced Studies in 20th-Century Latin American Art3
ARTH 474Advanced Studies in Contemporary Art3
ARTH 482RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art3
ARTH 495RS: Objects and Archives in Art History3
ARTH 499Advanced Studies in Art History3

The accelerated master's program listed below specifies the BA in art history as a feeder degree for its program. It is important to note, however, that many accelerated master's programs are available for any bachelor's degree at Mason, including this one. See the full list of degrees with accelerated programs at George Mason. In addition, as a student with a BA in art history you may be particularly interested in the accelerated MA in art history.

Bachelor's Degree (selected)/Interdisciplinary Studies, Accelerated MAIS (Religious Studies Concentration)


Highly-qualified undergraduates in selected majors (see below) may apply to the accelerated master's degree in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in religious studies. If accepted, and depending on their undergraduate major, students will be able to earn a bachelor's degree in their chosen major and a master's in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in religious studies after satisfactory completion of 150 credits, sometimes within five years. See AP.6.7 Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Degrees.

Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master's degree. For policies governing all graduate degrees, see AP.6 Graduate Policies.

Selected Majors

If the student has not majored in religious studies, it is preferred, though not required, that the student have a minor in religious studies.

Application Requirements

Applicants to all graduate programs at George Mason University must meet the admission standards and application requirements for graduate study as specified in the Admissions. For information specific to the accelerated MAIS, see Application Requirements and Deadlines.

Accelerated Option Requirements

While undergraduate students, accelerated master's students complete two graduate courses as indicated on their Accelerated Master's Program Application with a minimum grade of B in each course. Once admitted to the accelerated master's pathway, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 in all coursework. Upon completion and conferral of the undergraduate degree in the semester indicated in the application, they submit the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form and are admitted to graduate status.

Select two from the following:6
Interdisciplinary Pathways in the Study of Religion
Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion
Interreligious Dialogue
Issues in Religious Ethics
Religion and the Natural Environment
Religion and Secularity in State and Society
Total Credits6

As graduate students, accelerated master's students have an advanced standing. They must meet all master's degree requirements except for the two courses (6 credits) they completed as undergraduates. Students must begin their master's program the semester immediately following conferral of the undergraduate degree.

Reserve Graduate Credit

Students may take up to 6 additional graduate credits as reserve graduate credit. These credits do not apply to the undergraduate degree. To apply these credits to the master's degree, students should use the Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's Transition Form.

Select 6 credits from the following:6
Interdisciplinary Pathways in the Study of Religion
Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion
Interreligious Dialogue
Issues in Religious Ethics
Religion and the Natural Environment
Religion and Secularity in State and Society
Total Credits6

The ability to take courses, including ones not listed above, for reserve graduate credit is available to all high achieving undergraduates with the permission of the department. Permission is normally granted only to qualified Mason seniors within 15 hours of graduation. See AP.1.4.4 Graduate Course Enrollment by Undergraduates.