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Learning Abroad in Art History

Learning Abroad in Art History

The Department of Art History strongly encourages its undergraduates to study abroad as part of their Art History major or minor. Classroom learning about the art of other eras and cultures will come alive in the geographical milieu of its origin, when you are able to perceive the relationship between the culture, the way of life, and art.

“Why study abroad? Not just so one can see more works of art but rather to see works of art fully in their cultural context. Each country has a distinctive ‘visual feel,’ one shaped by buildings and sidewalks, by the dress of people, by the languages spoken on the street, and even the smells peculiar to each place—all things that make art come fully alive and acquire meaning that no classroom or museum can convey.”
—Professor Frederick M. Asher, Former Chair, Department of Art History

Study Abroad Process

This is the basic process you'll complete in order to study abroad. The order in which you do things is somewhat flexible.

Academic Planning

Review the following suggestions from the Department of Art History before beginning your study abroad research.

Choose your study abroad experience wisely

Align study abroad with your personal, academic, and professional goals

Consider timing and length

Pay special attention to program type

Seek cultural immersion

Work on your art history major or minor

Fulfill Liberal Education requirements

Learn or perfect a language

Once you have selected a program

While you are abroad

After you return

Programs

Africa and the Middle East

Ghana

University of Ghana (available through CIEE Ghana–Legon: Arts & Sciences)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Comprehensive university on the outskirts of the capital, Accra, supplemented by required Twi language and optional CIEE courses plus the option of doing a research project.
  • Strong university in African studies. Although there is no art history department, available courses include Art History of Ghana.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an African language is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Israel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (also University Study)
  • Participants study in the Rothberg International School. Strengths include Jewish studies, Biblical history and archeology, Israeli and Middle Eastern studies, Islamic studies, Hebrew, and Arabic.
  • Rothberg offerings include History of Art in Israel from the Yishuv to the Present; Jerusalem’s Architectural Heritage; Biblical Figures & Stories in Jewish, Christian, & Islamic Art.  Geography of Jerusalem and Jerusalem Through the Ages: Historical Geography & Archaeology.
  • Instruction at the Rothberg School is in English; no prior Hebrew is required. Students fluent in Hebrew may also take regular courses. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

South Africa

University of Cape Town 

  • Program type: University Study
  • The University of Cape Town is one of Africa’s leading research and teaching institutions, located in a stunning setting on the slopes of Table Mountain overlooking a spectacularly beautiful city.
  • Fine Art includes some courses on modern/contemporary art: The Emergence of Modernity; Reading the Contemporary—Art in Context; Art Narratives—Traditions & Tensions.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of an African language is required. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Turkey

See Europe.

Americas

Argentina

Universidad Nacional de Cuyo (available through IFSA-Butler Argentina)

  • Program type: University Study (mostly)
  • One of Argentina’s top regional universities, UNC is located in Mendoza, heart of Argentina’s wine-producing region. Lying at the foot of the Andes, it is a great location for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Courses offered in ancient art, medieval art, modern art, contemporary art, Latin American and Argentine art, museology, and others. In catalog look under Historia de las Artes Plásticas.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; 5 prior semesters of Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Chile

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (available through CIEE Chile–Santiago Liberal Arts or IES Chile or ISFA-Butler Chile– Santiago)

  • Program type: University Study (mostly)
  • Top-rate Santiago institution (enrollment 18,000) whose Art Department combines art history and studio arts. All three sponsors offer advanced language and at least one area studies course.
  • Sample course titles: Pre-Columbian Art; History of Contemporary Sculpture; Art and Symbolism; Modernity—The Pre-Columbian and the Ethnic; History of Chilean Art; Latin American Art.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; 4 semesters (IES), 5 semesters (Butler) or 6 semesters (CIEE) of prior Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (through CIEE Chile–Valparaíso Liberal Arts or IFSA-Butler Chile– Valparaíso)

  • Program type: University Study (mostly)
  • Private university (enrollment 9,000) in picturesque port city of Valparaíso. Both sponsors also offer advanced language and at least one supplemental area studies course.
  • Art history courses have very general titles (e.g., Art Theory 4 or Art History 7) and syllabi are unavailable online, so consultation with the Art History adviser is essential.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; 5 semesters (Butler) or 6 semesters (CIEE) of prior Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Universidad de Chile (available through CIEE Chile– Santiago Liberal Arts or IES Chile or ISFA-Butler Chile– Santiago)

  • Program type: University Study (mostly)
  • One of Chile’s largest private universities (enrollment 23,000). All three sponsors also offer advanced language and at least one area studies course, IES more than the others.
  • Art history curriculum stresses analytical frameworks and techniques. Includes no courses on particular world regions or historical periods.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; 4 semesters (IES), 5 semesters (Butler) or 6 semesters (CIEE) of prior Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Asia and Oceania

Australia

University of Melbourne

  • Program type: University Study
  • One of Australia’s most prestigious universities, located in the country’s second largest city. The department of art history focuses mostly on Western art.
  • Sample course titles: Art History—Theory & Controversy; Art & Revolution; Studying Art on Location; Medieval Art—Celtic to Gothic; Australian Art; Contemporary Aboriginal Art.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

China

Alliance China– Xi’an

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Program name is Globalization Then and Now: Xi’an & the Silk Road. Includes two-week Silk Road field trip into Central Asia.
  • Includes Chinese language study, The Silk Road Yesterday & Today, and choice of one other course in Chinese history, art history, or contemporary society and culture.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Chinese is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or summer.

India

SIT India– Himalayan Buddhist Art & Architecture

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program that includes opening and closing sessions in New Delhi, two weeks in Leh (Ladakh Valley), extensive travel in other areas of the Tibetan plateau, individual research.
  • Focus is on the symbolism and cultural and religious significance of ancient (as well as newer) Indian art.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of South Asian languages is required. Summer.

Indonesia

SIT Indonesia– Arts, Religion, & Social Change

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Highly experiential program based on the predominantly Hindu island of Bali. Includes extensive travel within Bali as well as Java, plus an individual research project.
  • Examines close relationship between religion, fine arts, performing arts, and social organization, including changes, especially in urban settings, in response to pressures of globalization.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior study of Indonesian languages is required. Summer.

Japan

Sophia University, Tokyo (available through Bilateral Exchange in Tokyo or CIEE Japan)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Jesuit university with two campuses, one of which has all instruction in English and draws both foreign students and Japanese students who have lived abroad for extended periods of time.
  • Most art history courses focus on either Western art or Asian art, including courses specifically on Japanese or Chinese traditions.
  • Instruction is in English; prior Japanese language study preferred but not required. Spring semester or academic year; calendar year and summer through CIEE only.

New Zealand

University of Auckland

  • Program type: University Study
  • New Zealand’s largest university, located in its largest city (population 1.4 million—about a third of the country total). Art History department emphasizes modern and contemporary art.
  • Sample courses on the region include: Introduction to Art & New Zealand; Maori Art; Contemporary Pacific Art; Contemporary Sculpture in New Zealand & Australia; and many more.
  • Instruction is in English, although some  Maori studies courses are taught in Maori instead. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year

University of Otago

  • Program type: University Study
  • Otago (enrollment 20,000) is located in Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island, a particularly attractive location for students interested in outdoor activities.
  • Art History & Theory department emphasizes Europe but includes some offerings on Japanese art and New Zealand art as well. Strongest on nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
  • Instruction is in English. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Victoria University of Wellington

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, 21,000-student Victoria University offers courses on Byzantine & Medieval Art, Renaissance, Baroque, Modernism, Postmodernism, and more.
  • Considerable strengths in New Zealand and Pacific art. Sample courses; Art in Aotearoa New Zealand; Art in the Pacific; Topics in Contemporary New Zealand Art; Topics in Colonial Art.
  • Instruction is in English. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

South Korea

Yonsei University

  • Program type: University Study
  • Yonsei, located in Seoul, teaches many courses in English as a strategy to position Koreans for the global workforce; thus study abroad students can take courses alongside Korean students.
  • Strong multidisciplinary curriculum not only in Korean studies but also in Asian studies more broadly. Relevant courses include: Survey of Asian Art; and Modern & Contemporary Korean Art.
  • Most instruction is in English; no prior Korean is required. Some additional courses available in Korean for students sufficiently proficient. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Europe

Austria

IES AustriaEuropean Studies and Culture

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Large language and area studies program with extremely broad curriculum. Some courses on Austria, others on Central and Eastern Europe, and others on Europe as a whole.
  • Sample titles: Austrian Art & Architecture; Modern Architecture in Vienna; Art Analysis—Current Exhibitions in Vienna. Chance to visit outstanding Viennese museums, galleries, churches.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior German is required. Students sufficiently proficient may also take IES or University of Vienna courses in German. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

University of Graz (available through Bilateral Exchange in Graz)

  • Program type: University Study
  • The city of Graz has a rich cultural heritage and offers a range of artistic and musical activities.
  • A few art history classes are available. 
  • Academic year or spring semester.

Belgium

Université Libre de Bruxelles (available through CIEE Belgium– Advanced Liberal Arts)

  • Program type: University Study (mostly)
  • Located in Brussels, one of Europe’s great art centers, the Université Libre was founded in 1834 as an alternative to Catholic or state universities and has a current enrollment of about 18,000.
  • Curriculum of the Art & Archeology department focuses mostly on Europe but also includes considerable strengths in Egypt and in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Instruction is in French; 6 semesters prior French required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Czech Republic

CIEE Czech Republic– Central European Studies

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Multidisciplinary area studies program offering special courses at Prague’s Charles University in a broad range of humanities and social science fields. Internships offered as well.
  • Art history courses: Art & Architecture of Prague; Historical Development of Czech Architecture, Applied Art, & Interior Design; Modern Czech Art. All include gallery and architectural visits.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Czech required. Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Denmark

Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS)

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Copenhagen-based DIS, one of Europe’s largest and academically strongest study abroad programs, offers a wide variety of courses on Denmark, Scandinavia, and Europe.
  • Curriculum includes over ten courses on European or Danish art, including courses tied to optional study tours to Rome, Greece, or Paris. Other courses use local field study extensively.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Danish is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

France

Gothic Architecture, Painting, & Sculpture in Paris

  • Program type: Field Study
  • This U of M program led by an Art History faculty member examines Gothic art and architecture in northern France, with a special focus on monuments in and near Paris.
  • Class venues alternate between the study center classroom (with computer lab) and churches and museums, plus a full day excursions to the city of Chartres.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior French is required. May term.

Study Abroad in Montpellier

  • Program type: University Study and Study Abroad Center (two tracks)
  • Permits a mix of special language and culture courses for international students and regular Université Paul Valéry courses in a proportion suitable to each student’s language proficiency.
  • Students in the past have taken integrated art history classes with French students, for example, History of Modern Art, History of Medieval Art, and Prehistoric Art.
  • Instruction is in French; one year of prior French is required for center track, two for university study track. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or a summer intensive language program.

Germany

Exchange in Germany

  • This exchange is with Freie University of Berlin  
  • Art history course offerings, through the Kunsthistorisches Institut, cover not only European art of many periods and countries but also artistic traditions of other world regions.
  • Berlin is the largest city in Germany with a vibrant cultural life and a rich history
  • Students take courses from the university’s curriculum with German students

IES Germany– Berlin Language & Area Studies

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Program combining center courses, university courses, rich field study opportunities, internship options in Berlin (including with museums/galleries), and field trips to other Central European cities.
  • IES offers two courses on 20th-century German art and architecture; many other art history courses are available at Humboldt-Universität.
  • Instruction is in German; two years prior college language study required. Fall semester, spring semester, academic year, or summer.

University of Freiburg

  • Program type: University Study (mostly)
  • Highly rated university located in an extraordinarily picturesque medieval city, and center of environmental activism, at the foot of the Black Forest near the French and Swiss borders
  • Participants take one study abroad center course and otherwise pursue regular coursework alongside German students at the University of Freiburg, including in its Art History department.
  • Instruction is in German; four semesters of prior German required for academic year, five for spring semester. Spring semester or academic year.

Ireland

Trinity College Dublin (available through Arcadia Ireland, or IES Ireland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • History of Art and Architecture department focuses on European art from the early Middle Ages to the 20th Century. Some courses on non-Western art are available as well.
  • Instruction is in English. Academic year only.

University College Cork (available through Arcadia Ireland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • University of 16,000 students located in historic city of Cork (population 120,000) on Ireland’s south coast.
  • History of Art curriculum includes courses on Europe or parts thereof (including Ireland), thematic courses, and methods/approaches courses. Little coverage of non-European art.
  • Instruction is in English. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

University College Dublin (available throughArcadia Ireland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located on the outskirts of the Irish capital, UCD is one of Ireland’s strongest universities and has among its largest art history departments. (Look under Arts & Humanities in online catalog.)
  • Unusually extensive Art History curriculum focuses on Europe in all periods from antiquity to the present. Includes several courses on Irish art.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Italy

All Roads Lead to Rome: Baroque Architecture, Sculpture, & Painting in the Eternal City

  • Program type: Field Study
  • After introducing the high Renaissance (Michelangelo, Raphael), this U of M program led by an Art History faculty member focuses on the seventeenth century (Caravaggio, Bernini, Borromini).
  • Daily visits Monday through Thursday take students to squares, fountains, museums, and churches throughout the city. Eight free days permit independent exploration as well.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Italian is required. May term.

Arcadia Italy– Preugia

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Language and area studies program in a picturesque hilltop city in north-central Italy. Perugia is a university town and capital of the Umbria region.
  • Program offers several art history courses: Survey of Italian Renaissance & Mannerist Art; Perugia Through the Ages; Micaelangelo; Leonardo da Vinci; History of Ancient Art
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Italian is required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

IES Italy– Milan

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Area studies program offering a wide range of disciplines, including art history, plus opportunities for internships and for study in local universities.
  • Sample courses: Art in Northern Italy from the Fifties to the Present (in English); Leonardo da Vinci & Renaissance Art (in English); The Art of Lombardy (in Italian).
  • No prior Italian is required. Instruction for most courses is in English; some center and university courses alike are available in Italian. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

IES Italy– Rome

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Area studies program that includes a substantial art history curriculum plus opportunities for internships and for study in local universities.
  • Art history courses: Inside Art—Conservation; Archeology of Ancient Rome; The Renaissance & its Classical Heritage; Rome as a Living Museum; Baroque Rome; Medieval Art in Rome.
  • No prior Italian is required. Instruction for most courses is in English; additional university and center courses available in Italian. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Language & Culture in Florence

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • U of M-sponsored language and area studies program in the homeland of Renaissance art and architecture.
  • Multidisciplinary curriculum focuses on Italy and includes one art history course
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Italian is required. Available fall semester and spring semester

Netherlands

University of Amsterdam (available through CIEE Netherlands– Amsterdam Social Sciences or IES Netherlands– Direct Enrollment or Bilateral Exchange in Amsterdam)

  • Program type: University Study
  • The University of Amsterdam offers many courses in English that are aimed at Dutch students as well as international students.
  • Sample art history courses: Capita Selecta—19th Century European Art; Art of the 20th Century; Art of the Real; Museology in the Netherlands; Mythology in World Art & Literature.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Dutch is required. Still more courses are available to students proficient in Dutch. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

Portugal

CIEE Portugal

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Lisbon-based language and area studies program that offers courses on Portugal from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.
  • Includes two art history courses: Lisbon—City & Architecture; and The Arts & The Portuguese Empire.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Portuguese is required. University courses available to students with sufficient Portuguese fluency. Fall semester, spring trimester; or academic year.

Spain

IES Spain– Madrid

  • You may participate on a U of M affiliated program (affiliate) not listed in the Learning Abroad Center's catalog. However, you will need to apply through our application system.
    NOTE: This specific track and term of this program will not be found within our application system. Select “Program Not Found” on the application, and enter your specific application information in the fields given to request an application. Our staff will review your application and update your program, track, and term information.
     
  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Language and area studies program with a broad range of center courses, including internships, plus access to regular courses in Madrid universities. More art history offerings in spring than fall.
  • Courses include: History of Spanish Architecture; El Greco, Velázquez & Goya in the Prado; 20th Century Spanish Painters; History of Spanish Painting; Management of Cultural Heritage.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; 4 semesters of prior Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

International Program in Toledo

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • U of M program located in Spain’s former capital and one of Europe’s most picturesque cities—a living museum of architecture that UNESCO has declared a World Cultural Heritage Site.
  • Strong humanities/social science curriculum includes: Art & Architecture in Spain—Periods and Styles; Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Art in Toledo; Master Painters of Spain. Museum internships available as well.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; four prior semesters of Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, May term, or summer.)

Study & Internships in Madrid

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • English taught coursework and English speaking internships available in a variety of fields
  • Take the Paintings at the Prado course and fulfill Art History major requirements
  • Live with a Spanish host family
  • Instruction is in English; however, one semester of college-level Spanish is required

Turkey

Koç University (available through CIEE Turkey)

  • Program type: University Study.
  • Located in an Istanbul on a campus overlooking the Bospurus, Koç is an English-speaking university even though most of its students are Turkish.
  • Large department of Archeology & History of Art includes many courses on ancient Middle Eastern, classical European, Byzantine, and Islamic art, plus a few on European and Asian art.
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Turkish is required. Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

United Kingdom

Courtauld Institute (available through IES London)

  • You may participate on a U of M affiliated program (affiliate) not listed in the Learning Abroad Center's catalog. However, you will need to apply through our application system.
    NOTE: This specific track and term of this program will not be found within our application system. Select “Program Not Found” on the application, and enter your specific application information in the fields given to request an application. Our staff will review your application and update your program, track, and term information.
     
  • Program type: University Study
  • The Courtauld, available through an agreement with IES, is a major center in Britain for the study of the history of Western art and one of the premier art historical institutes in the world.
  • Small group instruction is at the heart of the Courtauld’s teaching. Possible areas of study could include Classical/Byzantine/Medieval; Renaissance; Early Modern; or Modern/Contemporary.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

University of East Anglia (available through IFSA-Butler England)

  • Program type: University Study
  • UEA’s School of World Art Studies and Museology is located in the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, perhaps the greatest resource of its type on any British campus.
  • Besides detailed coverage of European art, curriculum includes offerings on arts of Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Pacific, plus excellent Museum Studies classes, unavailable at the U of M.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.

University of Edinburgh (available through Arcadia Scotland or IFSA-Butler Scotland)

  • Program type: University Study
  • UE’s History of Art department has integrated a number of approaches to studying art history–from production, to patronage, to the theoretical side of how to conceptualize art and its history.  
  • Wide range of art history courses. Samples: Rise of Islamic Art; Sexual Politics & the Image; Art & Belief in China; Scottish Art in the Age of Change 1945–2000; Art, Science & Modernity.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

University of Glasgow

  • Program type: University Study
  • Unusually large curriculum in UG’s History of Art department covers all the major European art historical periods Antiquity to contemporary, plus some courses on American and Chinese art,
  • Sample past course offerings: Sculpture in Britain 1860–1920; Art After Photography; Dutch & Flemish Golden Age Painting; Dada & Surrealism; Early Impressionism; Italian Arty 1200–1290.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

University of Sussex (available through Arcadia England or IFSA-Butler England)

  • Program type: University Study
  • Located a few miles from the seaside town of Brighton, Sussex (enrollment 10,00) emphasizes interdisciplinary approaches to learning.
  • Art History department offers a great diversity of courses on European art from the ancient to the modern, from Byzantium to Western Europe. Little coverage of other world regions.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, or summer.

Additional Options to Consider

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
  • Work on your CLA language requirement or on a language minor while immersed in the language.
  • Complete two, three, or even four semesters of language in a semester or a summer.

Global Seminars

  • 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over Winter Break or May Session.
  • Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.
  • Explore an exciting location and topic! Check out this year's offerings!

Freshman Seminars

  • Freshman Seminars Abroad combine on-campus instruction during spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break.
  • Seminars are 3 credits at the 19xx level and most fulfill a liberal education requirement.
  • Seminars are designed specifically for first year students as an introduction to study abroad.

Student Project for Amity Among Nations (SPAN)

  • Program type: Field Study
  • Summer research abroad preceded by spring semester preparation and followed by fall semester project write-up; ideal vehicle for overseas research toward a senior project.
  • Faculty adviser helps students prepare, accompanies each group during the summer, and assists as the thesis is written.
  • Locations vary from year to year; two to four destinations offered annually. No language prerequisite for most sites. Summer.

Work, Intern, Volunteer, and Research Opportunities

  • The Department of Art History encourages study abroad programs offering experiences outside the classroom such as internships, service-learning, or research opportunities.
  • Don’t confine your search to study abroad; check out non-credit online WIV or teaching English first step modules.
  • Consider combining a WIV experience with a study abroad experience.

Student Experiences

Visit the Learning Abroad Center's Student Experiences web page for details on other students' experiences studying abroad.

Twin Cities Campus: