Art History

at UBC's

Vancouver Campus

Examine a wide range of art historical periods and topics, as well as critical theories, while taking into account the constantly extending reach of visual studies in a globalized world. Many fields connect and inform art historical study – you can find a wide variety of courses in other Faculty of Arts departments to complement your studies.

This program is also offered at UBC's Okanagan Campus
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Why this program?

  • Learn how to critically engage with and analyze objects, relating them to their specific historical and cultural contexts.
  • Select courses addressing art objects and practices from a broad range of cultural traditions.
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Program information

  • Campus: Vancouver
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts
  • Degree: Bachelor of Arts
  • Length 4 yrs
  • Co-op Yes
    You can combine your studies with full-time, paid work at top local and international organizations.
  • Honours Yes
    You can study intense specialization in a single field.

Art History provides you with an excellent foundation for further advanced studies. Through a progression of courses, you’ll learn how to analyze and compare images and material culture from a broad variety of cultural contexts, integrate different kinds of information gleaned from historical research and critical reflection, and develop synthetic arguments concerning the impact of images, art, and media in society.

You can choose a combination of art historical and studio practice courses geared toward the development of skills in visual analysis and art historical research. Courses are taught in a lively atmosphere of instructor-led debate, discussion, and critique. Majors may concentrate in one of three areas: arts of Europe and the Americas, arts of indigenous Americans (pre-Hispanic and First Nations), or arts of East and South Asia.

Campus features

The Visual Resources Centre: this important repository of digital images for the Faculty of Arts makes available a large collection of film, video, and more, which can be watched on site or borrowed for private viewing.

Morris & Helen Belkin Gallery: internationally recognized gallery that includes in its mandate the investigation of contemporary approaches to art history.

Museum of Anthropology: presents exhibitions of contemporary art and ethnographic material from around the world, both in its object collections and archives.

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection: holds a wealth of printed matter ranging from European medieval manuscripts to Edo period maps, and modernist periodicals, as well as photography.

Life at UBC's Vancouver campus

The Bachelor of Design program is offered on UBC's beautiful Vancouver campus. You’ll learn from passionate and skilled experts who can support you in connecting with professional design communities locally and internationally as you create close ties with faculty members and student peers.

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Your future

Students of Art History will experience the breadth of the field by exploring the history and diversity of the discipline through research-based learning and practice. Upon completion, graduates will have an international calling card to not only enlighten the world on Art History, but also to expand on the ever increasing significance of visual culture in today’s rapidly evolving digital society.

Fields of work include:

  • Cultural heritage and art institutions (e.g., public or commercial galleries, as well as artist run centres)
  • Art practice
  • Design and architecture
  • Education
  • Academic work in art history or cognate fields in the humanities
  • Policy, diplomacy, and international relations
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Publishing
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Political science

Program requirements

English-language requirements

English is the language of instruction at UBC. All prospective students must demonstrate English-language competency prior to admission. There are numerous ways to meet the English Language Admission Standard.

General admission requirements

IB Diploma Programme

  • Completed IB Diploma, including at least three Higher Level courses.

IB Certificate Courses

  • IB Certificate courses (Standard and Higher Level) may be used in an admissions average if you are graduating from a recognized high school curriculum that can be used as your basis of admission.
  • Students who complete the IB Diploma in English are required to achieve a minimum score of 3 in an IB Group 1 English course at either Standard or Higher Level. (If you are an international student with a score of less than 3, you may be eligible for UBC Vantage One programs.)
  • IB Math Applications and Interpretations SL, or IB Math Studies, do not satisfy the math requirement for admission to UBC’s science-based programs, the Faculty of Management, the UBC Sauder School of Business, or the Vancouver School of Economics.
  • Van Test

Degree-specific requirements: Arts

  • No specific courses required beyond those needed for general admission

Related courses

The following subject categories are particularly relevant for this degree. Consider taking courses in these areas in your junior year and senior year.

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics and Computation
  • Second Languages
  • Social Studies
  • Visual and Performing Arts
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