History of Art and Architecture


The concentration in History of Art and Architecture introduces students to the history of art, architecture, and visual culture. Students in HIAA explore Western and non-Western areas ranging over a wide period of time (Ancient, Medieval, Islamic, East Asian, Latin American, Early Modern, Modern/ Contemporary). Concentrators often focus on a particular period (e.g. ancient, modern architecture), a particular branch of the field (e.g. urbanism), or a methodology (e.g. semiotics, critical interpretation, archaeology), but students may choose to create their own program of study. Concentrators will receive essential training in perceptual, historical, and critical analysis. Concentrators often study abroad for first-hand knowledge of works of art and monuments as well as for exposure to foreign languages and cultures. Because foreign language skills are essential for pursuing art historical studies in a professional environment or in graduate school, HIAA requires two years of foreign language study.

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Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Examine visual cultures across historical periods and geographic regions
  • Develop an awareness of the history and theories of architecture and urban development
  • Demonstrate fluency in a foreign language through the intermediate level
  • Understand how objects of material culture are made, viewed, and collected
  • Become conversant in perceptual, historical, and critical analysis
  • Engage in independent research


Click here for a list of the History of Art and Architecture concentration requirements.

Honors and Capstones

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All students are encouraged to develop one of their seminar papers into a capstone project, in consultation with the instructor. Capstones can include UTRAs, undergraduate TA-ships, internships, perfecting a seminar paper, GISP, etc. The capstone and any related course of study, including internships, must be approved and overseen by a faculty sponsor.

Students wishing to write an Honors thesis should have an A average in the concentration. It is advisable for them to have taken at least one seminar in the department and written a research paper before choosing to undertake a thesis. Students accepted into the Honors program enroll in HIAA 1990 during the fall and spring semesters. Honors candidates must submit a thesis and present their honors work publically at the end of the spring semester.

Self-Assessment: All second semester seniors are required to write a final essay that takes measure of what they have learned from the concentration, including their capstone and other experiences relating to their study of the history of art and architecture. The self-assessment should be turned in with a revised list of courses actually taken and the final paperwork for concentration approval. For more information about the Self-Assessment process as well as the Honors application process and requirements, visit the program website.


  • Architectural Studies

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Enhance your aesthetic sensibility
  • Expand your reading skills
  • Collaborate fully
  • Understand differences among cultures
  • Embrace diversity
  • Engage with your community
  • Develop a facility with symbolic languages
  • Learn what it means to study the past
  • Evaluate human behavior
  • Work on your speaking and writing

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

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Affiliated Departments


Director of Undergraduate Studies

Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors

Alumni Pathways

HIAA alumni have earned graduate degrees in law, engineering, business, architecture, the history of art, and education. They work as curators, artists, designers, investment bankers, educators, and small business owners in the U.S. and throughout the world.

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

Dept. Undergraduate Group

Visit this DUG's website to learn more.

Student Leaders:

  • Ruby Stenhouse
  • Elaine Wang

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact focal_point@brown.edu, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.