Department of Art and Archaeology

  • Chair

    Michael Koortbojian

  • Acting Chair

    Brigid Doherty (fall/spring)

  • Departmental Representative

    Bridget A. Alsdorf

  • Director of Graduate Studies

    Charles E. Barber

  • Professor

    Charles E. Barber

    Rachael Z. DeLue

    Hal Foster

    Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

    Michael Koortbojian

    Elizabeth Anne McCauley

    Andrew M. Watsky

  • Associate Professor

    Bridget A. Alsdorf

    Nathan T. Arrington

    Brigid Doherty, also German

    Chika Okeke-Agulu, also African American Studies

    Cheng-hua Wang

  • Visiting Associate Professor

    Haim Goldfus

  • Assistant Professor

    Anna Arabindan-Kesson, also African American Studies

    Beatrice Kitzinger

    Carolina Mangone

    Irene V. Small

    Deborah A. Vischak

    Carolyn Y. Yerkes

  • Lecturer with Rank of Professor

    James C. Steward

  • Visiting Lecturer with Rank of Professor

    Yve-Alain Bois

  • Lecturer

    Katherine A. Bussard

    John Elderfield

    Andrew J. Hamilton

    Alexander K. Harper, also Council of the Humanities

    Caroline I. Harris

    Bryan C. Just

    AnnMarie Perl

  • Visiting Lecturer

    Maryan W. Ainsworth

  • Associated Faculty

    Leonard Barkan, Comparative Literature

    Anthony T. Grafton, History

    Michael W. Jennings, German

    Spyridon Papapetros, Architecture

    Susan A. Stewart, English

  • Art Museum

    James C. Steward

    Associate Director

    Caroline I. Harris (Education)


    Mitra M. Abbaspour

    Katherine A. Bussard

    Laura M. Giles

    Bryan R. Just

    Karl Kusserow

    Cary Y. Liu

    J. Michael Padgett

    Betsy Rosasco

  • Index of Medieval Art

    Pamela Patton


    Catherine A. Fernandez

    Judith K. Golden

    Jessica L. Savage

    Henry D. Schilb

The Department of Art and Archaeology is devoted to the study of the visual arts and the investigation of material artifacts from a wide range of cultures and periods. It is also where students interested in the practice of art (taught by faculty in the Program in Visual Arts) can pursue a major. Working closely with faculty members in small classes and often dealing directly with original objects and primary sources, students can explore subjects as diverse as Roman city planning, Greek archaeology, Japanese painting, Renaissance architecture, 19th-century photography, and contemporary art.

Students in the Department of Art and Archaeology learn techniques for analyzing visual materials and locating them within time and place. They also investigate the factors that influence stylistic change (e.g., religious beliefs, economic constraints, patronage demands, and technological changes). Like any humanist or social scientist, they must evaluate evidence, form hypotheses, test data, and draw conclusions. Successful majors master the translation of visual perceptions into linguistic expression, develop visual memory, and make connections with a wide array of historical evidence. Students must have at least a C- average based on courses and independent work in order to graduate from the department.

Information and Departmental Plan of Study

Students interested in majoring in the Department of Art and Archaeology must choose one of two programs, each of which has its own admission prerequisites and curricular requirements.

Advanced Placement

No advanced placement credit is granted for the Art History Advanced Placement Examination.

Early Concentration

A sophomore may apply for early concentration through consultation with the departmental representative.

Study Abroad

Foreign study can be a richly rewarding part of any concentration in the Department of Art and Archaeology. Art history courses taken abroad (normally up to two per term or four for a year in a study abroad program) can be pre-approved for departmental credit by the departmental representative. Students generally study abroad during the junior year or the first term of the senior year. Junior independent work can be completed under the supervision of a departmental faculty member with prior approval and ongoing contact with the faculty adviser. Senior independent work in the fall of the senior year may be done overseas, but the spring term work must be done in residence. Students contemplating study abroad should speak with the departmental representative as early as possible and should plan to take courses in the language of the country in which they wish to study.

In addition, students interested in archaeology may choose to participate in overseas archaeological excavations undertaken by departmental faculty. For further information, contact Professor Nathan Arrington.

Preparation for Graduate Study

Students who are contemplating graduate work in the history of art and archaeology are reminded that most graduate programs require a reading knowledge of two or more foreign languages. In some fields German is particularly important.

Certificate in Visual Arts. For certificate requirements, see the description under the Program in Visual Arts.

Resources for Research. Outstanding resources are available for students concentrating in art and archaeology. These include the Marquand Library, a non-circulating research library with over 400,000 books; the Princeton University Art Museum; the Index of Christian Art; the Visual Resources Collection; and the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art. Firestone Library also houses extensive holdings of illuminated manuscripts, prints, and photographs in departments including the Manuscripts Division, Graphic Arts Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections, the Cotsen Children's Library, and the Western Americana Collection. Staff members in the University Art Museum and the Index of Christian Art occasionally offer courses or otherwise participate in the department's teaching activities. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the proximity of major museum collections in New York, Philadelphia, and elsewhere.

Honors. Honors are awarded by a vote of the faculty to students having the highest, weighted grade point average based on grades achieved in departmental courses (including all courses taken outside the department that have been designated as cognates), junior independent work, senior independent work, and the senior oral examination.

Program 1. History of Art

This central program allows a broad and rich exposure to the visual arts produced in a great variety of periods and locations.


Any two courses offered by the Department of Art and Archaeology.

Program of Study

A total of 10 courses in the Department of Art and Archaeology, including ART 100, ART 400 (Junior Seminar) and two seminars at the 400- or 500-level. Students must also take at least one course in each of the following three areas: Group 1 (ancient), Group 2 (medieval/early modern), and Group 3 (modern/contemporary). In choosing courses to satisfy the distribution requirement, students are encouraged to explore a range of media (e.g., architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, film). Thematic courses as well as courses spanning more than one area will be allocated to a distribution area on a case-by-case basis. ART 100, ART 400, and ART 401 count as departmentals but not as distribution courses.

Cognates. No more than two cognate courses taken in other departments (including the Program in Visual Arts) may be counted toward the 10 departmentals. This includes summer courses. Students participating in the Study Abroad Program may be allowed to count more than two courses taken overseas as departmentals. All cognate courses must be approved prior to enrollment by the departmental representative based on the submission of a syllabus and course description. Courses cross-listed with the Department of Art and Archaeology automatically count as departmentals.

Junior Seminar. During the fall of the junior year, all majors must take the junior seminar (ART 400). The course introduces students to various methodologies used by art historians and archaeologists, and prepares them for writing the junior and senior independent work. Students who are abroad during the fall of the junior year can complete the junior seminar during the fall term of the senior year.

Independent Work

Junior Independent Work. The fall junior independent work consists of a paper of approximately 20 pages addressing the state of the literature on a particular subject selected by the student as well as various methodologies appropriate to it. This paper is usually advised and graded by the instructor of the student's junior seminar. During the spring term, students write a second research paper (approximately 25 pages) with a departmental adviser of their choice.

Senior Independent Work. The senior independent work consists of a year-long research project of approximately 60-80 pages on a topic selected by the student and approved by the faculty adviser. The student selects a faculty adviser in the spring of the junior year and submits an extensive outline and annotated bibliography to the adviser by mid-November of the senior year. The thesis grade is the average of the grades given by the faculty adviser and a second faculty reader.

Senior Departmental Examination

The senior departmental examination consists of a one-hour oral examination discussing the senior thesis and also covering material from departmental courses. It is attended by three faculty members (including the adviser of the senior thesis, its second reader, and one additional faculty member).

Program 2. Studio Arts

Concentrators in this program explore the traditions, thought processes, and methods of making visual art in connection with a liberal arts education. Courses are offered in painting, drawing, graphic design, media, sculpture, photography, film and video production, and film history and theory.


Two courses in the Program in Visual Arts and one course in the Department of Art and Archaeology. By the first Wednesday following spring break, sophomores submit an application and a portfolio of creative work to the Lewis Center for the Arts administrative office. The admissions committee for the Program in Visual Arts will notify students accepted into the program by early April. No AP credit is accepted toward the Program 2 concentration.

Program of Study

A total of 10 courses, of which at least seven must be from the Program in Visual Arts and three must be from the Department of Art and Archaeology.

The visual arts courses must include: studio courses in at least two different media; two studio courses at the 300 or 400 level; VIS 392 Issues in Contemporary Art; and VIS 416 Exhibition Issues and Methods or VIS 417 Fall Film Seminar. The Department of Art and Archaeology courses must include: at least one course in the modern/contemporary area (19th century to the present); and two others, including at least one course from group 1 or group 2 (the third may be from any group).

Cognates. Up to two courses in studio art or art history may be taken at other institutions during the summers with prior approval by the departmental representative (for art history courses) or the director of the Program in Visual Arts (for studio art courses). Courses taken as part of the Study Abroad Program may be allowed to count as departmentals with prior approval from the departmental representative.

Junior Seminar. During the fall of the junior year, all concentrators must take the junior seminar, VIS 392 Issues in Contemporary Art. The course coincides with admission to the junior studios and investigates the history, challenges, and rewards of studio practice. Through readings, discussions, studio critiques, and a culminating exhibition of works in progress, VIS 392 provides the foundation for each student's independent creative development, as well as the impetus for beginning to be able to articulate the historical precedents and ambitions of their work.

Independent Work

Junior Independent Work. The fall junior independent work consists of an artist's book of at least 32 pages addressing the student's work, daily life, an art historical influence, a contemporary artist, or any other germane topic approved by the VIS 392 instructor. The book may be text only, text and images, or images only. It can be made of any materials, in any format, but must be gathered in book form or an expanded definition of book form. This book is advised and graded by the instructor of the student's junior seminar (VIS 392) and his/her primary adviser. The spring junior independent work involves the development of a sustained studio practice among peers, and with the consultation of one's advisers, culminating in a comprehensive junior independent work exhibition at the end of the term.

The spring junior independent work is done in consultation with the student's adviser. Students also interact with the general visual arts faculty in "open studios." The advisers' spring-term grade for junior independent work represents an evaluation of the entire year's studio work. The creative junior independent work is exhibited in a group show at the end of the junior spring semester.

Senior Independent Work. By the end of the second week of the fall term of the senior year, students must have three advisers, including one from the Department of Art and Archaeology faculty. The senior independent work is a major studio project completed by the end of the spring term, which is done in consultation with the student's advisers. Students present their work in an exhibition at the end of the year, usually in a two-person show with another certificate or Program 2 student. The grade for the senior independent work represents an evaluation of the entire year's studio work and is the average of two grades: (1) the average of the grades given by the student's three advisers; and (2) the average of the grades given by the rest of the Program in Visual Arts faculty who view the senior exhibition. A separate grade is given for the student's oral defense of the thesis exhibition by his/her thesis advisers only.

Senior Departmental Examination

The senior departmental examination takes the form of a one-hour critical discussion of the senior thesis exhibition with the student's three advisers in the latter half of the spring term, in the presence of each student's exhibition. The discussion is open to all Program in Visual Arts faculty and Program 2/Certificate students. The grade for the oral examination is the average of the three grades given by the advisers participating in the examination.

Certificate in Archaeology

The Department of Art and Archaeology offers students the opportunity to earn a certificate in archaeology while concentrating in another department. The Program in Archaeology aims to provide a broad introduction to the field of archaeology and to allow students to pursue archaeological interests that complement their research in other areas.

Undergraduate students may apply for formal admission to the Program during their sophomore year after taking any one of the courses offered by the Program. A freshman seminar or other alternative may be approved by the Program director. 

For the Classes of 2019 and earlier: students may pursue either the Department’s "Program 3" Major in Archaeology or a certificate in archaeology. Please consult the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Announcement regarding the Program 3 requirements.