Art History and Museum Studies

Faculty Honors Advisors

Julie Codell

About this opportunity

In the joint areas of art history and museum studies, students can major or minor in either of these fields, have internships in museums in the US and abroad, learn about the history of art across Asia, Europe, North and South America and have an honors contract in any course in art history or museum studies.


The thesis can be about any project related to the history of art or to museum studies, such as exhibitions, focus on an artist or a work of art, or issues such as restoration of art works, images of the body in art, gender and race represented in art and historical issues in the production or reception of art in criticism or the art market, but students are not limited to these suggestions.

Academic Preparation

Students with a minor or major in art history or museum studies can write a thesis, so students need to be on track for a major or a minor. Students should have at least one semester of a basic introductory course (e.g., ARS 101, 102, 201, 202, 250) and 2-3 upper division art history or museum studies courses (300 and 400 level) and fulfill the requirements for a minor or a major. Requirements: Students are required to take 36 honor credits in their degree program. A minimum of 18 of those credits must be upper division. Of the total 36-credit Barrett graduation requirements, students can complete as many as 30 honors credits as upper division courses. Students must also complete Honors Thesis Prep Requirement, an online workshop, before beginning their honors thesis work. Students will identify a thesis director and create a thesis proposal. Once approved by the thesis director students can enroll in ARS 492 and ARS 493 to complete their thesis work. Each of these courses is one semester long.

Recommended Timeline

Students should start thinking about a thesis during their junior year and can contact the FHA to discuss their interests in an artist, a period style, an art work or group of works, and any other relevant topics. They should have a topic and the FHA can recommend an appropriate faculty member in the field in which students are interested (e.g., Renaissance, modern art, etc.) to chair their thesis and also a second reader. Students are welcome to choose their director and their second reader, as well. Then at the end of their junior year or the very beginning of their senior year they need to meet with their chair and create a prospectus within the first few weeks of their senior year at the latest. In their senior year, in the fall, they register for ARS 492 under the name and supervision of the faculty  who will chair the thesis and spend the fall doing research on their topic. They will sign up for ARS 493 in the spring to write their thesis and schedule their thesis presentation.

Upon acceptance into the Barrett Honors College students entering the School of Art should make an appointment to consult with the School of Art Honors Faculty Advisor. The Advisor will assist the student in selecting courses linked to their particular interests and selecting a Faculty Mentor, who will guide the students through their specific academic major thesis.

Students should start thinking about their Honors Thesis in the junior year, and identify a full time faculty member to serve as their Thesis Advisor. Students should meet with the Faculty Advisor to assist with the development of a proposal and help determine potential faculty with shared interests.

Proposals for Honors Projects are due the semester before the project will be completed. The Honors Project must contain a written component, relevant visual or academic research, and an oral defense with the committee. Each student must form a committee of at least two members. Faculty must be first and second readers. Faculty Associates, Teaching Associates, and community members may be third readers if a third reader is added.

Honors Thesis Project Funding: Students can apply up to $1000 for support of their thesis or creative project and up to $1500 for an external reviewer to be part of their defense. Apply for this funding online.

Other Honors Opportunities

Honors Contracts and Projects take a wide array of forms; the key element is that the student and the professor interact independently of classroom hours. Honors contracts can include images. Any honors student can contract with any full-time faculty member of any rank in any course in art history or museum studies. We have an internship program as well and students can apply for an internship in the Valley and across the US.

An Honors Contract is carried out within the structure of a regularly scheduled class offering. This contract is supervised by the faculty teaching the course. Students must submit the electronic form for the contract during the first few weeks of classes.




Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts



Academic Unit

School of Art, Art History & Museum Studies