Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Art History

Honors Program | Undergraduate Studies

The Honors Program in the History of Art is designed to give talented undergraduate students an opportunity to pursue independent research in a subject of his/her choosing in close consultation with a faculty advisor.  Through their research projects and other activities, honors students explore current issues and debates in the History of Art, develop their own research and creative writing skills, and get a taste of what it is like to carry out advanced research.  In addition, honors students are provided with opportunities to participate in related art historical activities, such as lectures, meetings with visiting art historians, and museum visits.


The Honors Program in the History of Art consists of a two-course sequence:  A400 Senior Seminar (4 cr.) offered during the Fall semester and A499 Senior Honors Thesis (4 cr.) offered in the Spring.  These courses should be taken in sequence during the senior year.  Students who plan to graduate in December, however, will need to take the course sequence a year earlier. 

The first course in the Honors sequence is FINA A400, Senior Seminar, which consists of an intensive examination of a selected topic or theme in the history of art.  In this course students will examine critical readings on the topic, evaluate those readings in class discussion, carry out individual research on a particular issue relevant to the theme, and present their research in both oral presentations and a research paper.  The goal of the course is to provide students with the analytical and practical skills necessary to carry out individual research for their honors thesis.  The Senior Seminar for Fall 2015 will be taught by Professor Phillip Bloom.   

The second course in the honors sequence is FINA A499, Senior Honors Thesis.  The most significant requirement of this course is the honors thesis, an original research paper of approximately 20 pages in length that addresses an important question or issue in the history of art.  This paper is written under the guidance of two faculty advisors:  1) an Honors Advisor who specializes in an area relevant to the student’s project and who is willing to supervise it, and 2) a second reader, to be identified by the Honors Advisor in consultation with the student.  The Honors Advisor must be in residence during the semester that the thesis is to be written; no exceptions will be made to this rule. When appropriate, the second reader may be from a department other than the history of art.  Students taking this course will meet regularly throughout the semester to present aspects of their research and discuss their work with their peers.  These meetings will take place approximately once a month and will culminate in a series of oral presentations.   Successful completion of A499, Senior Honors Thesis, satisfies the Intensive Writing Requirement.


Admission to the Honors Program in the History of Art is by application, typically during the spring semester of the junior year.  To be considered, a student must have a minimum GPA of 3.500 in art history and 3.300 overall.  In addition, students should have completed two survey courses (A101, A102, A155, and A160) and two courses at the 200, 300, or 400 level.  (Students can be enrolled in these required courses at the time of application to the program, but admission is contingent upon the maintenance of the 3.500/3.300 GPA in the major/overall.)

To graduate with honors in the history of art, a student must earn A- or higher in both courses and must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.500 in the history of art and a minimum GPA of 3.300 overall.


Admission to the Honors Program is by application and is based primarily on the student’s academic record.

  1. a completed application form
  2. an unofficial copy of your transcript (printed from OneStart)
  3. 2 faculty letters of recommendation emailed directly to Professor Rothstein (


Application forms are available from the Art History Office (FA 132) or on the Art History web page

All materials should be addressed to Professor Bret Rothstein,  Director of Undergraduate Studies.  They can be dropped off in the  Art History Office (FA 132) or emailed directly to Professor Rothstein. 

Questions?  Please contact Professor Bret Rothstein , Director of Undergraduate Studies, or Meryl Krieger, Undergraduate Academic Advisor,