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University of Pittsburgh    
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
  May 24, 2022
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Department of History of Art and Architecture

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Art, like science or language, is an intrinsically human way of organizing our experience of the world. Because it appeals to a fundamental sense of order, art can speak to us with immediacy even without knowledge of the purposes for which it was created and the particular principles or order adhered to by the artists of a given culture. Still deeper understanding may follow, however, from an awareness of these purposes and principles, and courses in art history are concerned with the study of art and architecture as cultural documents of the values and ideals of various cultures. Art history offers an opportunity to consider objects and environments that have been created in response to some of humanity’s loftiest and most basic aims. The requirement that these visual expressions be analyzed and evaluated in the medium of words makes art history a rewarding area of humanistic study. The major in the history of art and architecture offered by the HAA department helps prepare individuals for careers calling for skills in writing, where description and analysis play important roles, as well as for careers more immediately related to art, such as those of critic, teacher, librarian, art administrator, or museum or gallery staff member.

The architectural studies major, also administered by the HAA department, offers a curriculum devoted to the study of human-made environments. The major components include history of architecture, studio arts, and a core curriculum that includes a survey of the history of architecture, the history of architecture theory, a professional internship, and a portfolio. The degree is suitable for a wide variety of careers and professions including the design and construction of the built environment, such as landscape architecture, interior design, restoration, historic preservation, real estate development, and contracting. These interests can be categorized in two groups:

  • The preprofessional studies category prepares students for graduate professional training in any of the environmental design fields (architecture, interior design, landscape design, urban planning, and preservation). Students are able to explore a professional interest while acquiring a liberal arts education.
  • The nonprofessional studies category is for students not interested in becoming professional architects. This program offers a rigorous curriculum that assists students in exploring their interest in environmental arts and criticism and provides an understanding of the environment’s integral relationship with society and culture.

Students of both categories should be fully aware that this degree in architectural studies does not in itself constitute professional or technical training. Students seeking recommendations to graduate professional programs in architecture must complete a number of natural science courses in addition to those focused on architecture and design. Proficiency in calculus is required for students seeking a career in architecture. The department strongly recommends that students successfully complete at least one term of college level calculus (MATH 0220 or equivalent) before graduation.

For more information on these majors and the History of Art Architecture department, see

Architectural Studies Major

This major offers students two options - the Design track and the Preservation Track.




      History of Art & Architecture

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