Study Abroad for History of Art and Architecture Majors

The Department of History of Art & Architecture encourages its students to complete some portion of their undergraduate study through the University’s Education Abroad Program. Art history majors can deepen their understanding of the art and culture of particular nations and regions by studying at a foreign university while adding an international dimension to their undergraduate education. Because all courses taken through EAP are accepted as UC courses, students may spend as much as a year of study at a foreign university with no loss of time completing their degrees. Honors majors have the extraordinary opportunity to use their period abroad for first-hand research on their honors thesis projects.

Why study abroad?

Study abroad can be a profoundly enriching experience in many ways, but has a particularly important role to play in the study of art history. Many programs offer the opportunity to study the art of a particular culture while gaining intensive, first-hand exposure to the culture itself: in France, for instance, one can take a class on Gothic architecture in the morning, then visit a great Gothic cathedral in the afternoon. Acquiring fluency in a language and some familiarity with its literature, as well as an understanding of a country’s history, social customs, and everyday life, uniquely enhances one’s understanding of art.

Art history majors find that a summer, a term, or best of all, a year in a foreign country enhances their critical thinking and writing skills. The challenge of adapting to another academic and cultural environment expands students' self-understanding and gives them a sharper sense of the political and social differences in today’s world. No matter what career they eventually pursue, the intellectual and personal growth they experience during their time abroad serves them well in many ways.

Honors majors may use their period of study abroad to do first-hand independent research on their honors thesis projects. Such projects, which must be planned in advance with a faculty advisor, are especially recommended for those who contemplate graduate work in art history..

What classes should I take?

By searching Gaucho Credit Abroad and the UCEAP Course Catalog, you will get an idea of the types of art history as well as architecture courses UC students have taken around the world. 

All UCEAP students automatically earn UC credit for the work they complete abroad. However, the application of credit to major requirements is subject to the discretion of the department and approval of the college. Save all syllabi, papers and other relevant course information to help you petition courses for specific requirements Plan ahead and consult with your advisors before leaving and while abroad. 

Keep in mind that at least 20 units of upper-division major coursework (or 12 upper-division minor units) must be completed in residence at UCSB along with other residence requirements. Consult a Letters & Science College advisor for more information.

Where should I study abroad?

Traditionally, art history majors have preferred programs in Western Europe -- especially in EnglandItaly and France -- but students may study art history in Asia, South America, Africa, the Middle East and the South Pacific.

New UCEAP programs are developing all the time, so interested students should investigate their options thoroughly. Keep in mind that it is not always possible to predict exactly which courses will be offered at a foreign university in any particular term, so a degree of flexibility must be figured into planning.    

When should I study abroad?

Students can study abroad as early as their sophomore year or as late as their last semester, even in a fifth year. Students wishing to fulfill upper-division major requirements should study abroad during their junior or senior year. Students interested in fulfilling major preparation or General Education requirements can participate as early as their sophomore year. 

How do I get started?

  • Stop by the UCSB EAP office at 2431 South Hall.
  • Go the UCSB EAP website, Getting Started.
  • Consult the UCEAP website, eap.ucop.edu, for program details.  
  • Go see your department undergraduate advisor. 

Department of the History of Art & Architecture
1234 Arts
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-7080
Phone: (805) 893-2417
arthistory.ucsb.edu

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