Learning Abroad Center

Learning Abroad in Art History

“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

Academic Planning Recommendations

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.

  • Students may apply up to a maximum of three courses taken abroad to the art history major or minor. Courses taught abroad by UMTC art history faculty are not included in this restriction. In addition, students may take the required lower-division art practice course abroad.
  • Take advantage of experiential opportunities such as an internship, volunteering, fieldwork, or conservation and restoration work, whether linked to course requirements or entirely non-credit.

Liberal Education Requirements

Search the U Credit Abroad Search. You may also submit any liberal education course not yet evaluated for approval online.

Major and Minor Requirements

  • Only courses accepted by the University of Minnesota at the upper-division level can count toward the major or minor. In art history, please note that classes cannot count as upper-division without some form of independent analytical writing, typically in a term paper that engages with both visual/material artifacts and written sources (e.g. secondary scholarly literature, archival materials, or primary sources).
  • To be acceptable for the major and minor, courses should be primarily focused on the fine arts, visual/material culture (e.g. design history), or architecture, and the built environment. Some classes that are primarily focused on history might include information about art or make use of local museums. Or, you might choose to write an art history paper for a class in religious studies or a language class. Both examples are scenarios that would not qualify for art history credit. A good rule of thumb is to consider whether the professor designed the class to help students learn more about the artistic, man-made world.

College of Liberal Arts Language Requirement

Courses taken abroad for the CLA Language Requirement (for BA degrees) must be at least 4 credits. CLA college advisers can approve courses that are clearly identified in a syllabus or online course description as first-, second-, third-, or fourth-semester language courses. If a course level is not explicitly stated, you must work with your CLA adviser to have the course evaluated by the appropriate language department. Advisers cannot approve these courses.

Who will advise me and help me with course approvals?

Learning Abroad Center advisers can help you find program and course information to help you prepare for your study abroad academic planning discussion with your academic adviser, Peter Harle. Once you have narrowed your options, use the Academic Planning for Study Abroad (APSA) form to structure your academic planning.

College/Department Scholarships for UofM Students


Africa and the Middle East


University Study in Israel: Hebrew University of Jerusalem

  • 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 may also take regular courses in the larger university (many offered in English) in addition to courses through Rothberg.

South Africa

University of Cape Town (offered through IES South Africa)

  • 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.



Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (available through IES Chile)

  • Top-rate Santiago institution (enrollment 18,000) whose Art Department combines art history and studio arts. Both 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

Universidad de Chile (available through IES Chile)

  • Program type: University Study (mostly)
  • One of Chile’s largest private universities (enrollment 23,000). The Universidad de Chile offers advanced language and at least one area studies course.
  • Art history curriculum stresses analytical frameworks and techniques. Includes no courses on particular world regions or historical periods.
  • Instruction is in Spanish.

Asia and Oceania


University of Melbourne (available through IFSA Australia)

  • 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.


IFSA China—Xi’an

  • 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.


Exchange in Tokyo, Japan: Sophia University

  • 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.

New Zealand

University Study in New Zealand: University of Auckland

  • 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 in 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 Study in New Zealand: University of Otago

  • 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 the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
  • Instruction is in English. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

Victoria University of Wellington (available through IFSA New Zealand)

  • 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.



IES Austria—European Studies and Culture

  • Large language and area studies program with an 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 Exchange in Graz)

  • 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.


Study Abroad in Denmark

  • 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.


Language & Culture in Southern France

  • 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.


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 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.

 IES Germany --Freiburg Language & Area Studies

  • 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.


Trinity College Dublin (available through IFSA Ireland)

  • 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 IFSA Ireland)

  • 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 Study in Ireland - University College Dublin

  • Located on the outskirts of the Irish capital, UCD is one of Ireland’s strongest universities and has among its largest art history departments.
  • 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.


IES Italy—Milan

  • 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

  • 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.

Study & Intern in Florence

  • Located in the homeland of Renaissance art and architecture.
  • Multidisciplinary curriculum focuses on Italy and includes the course Art History—Italian Renaissance Art, which is equivalent to ArtH5323
  • Instruction is in English; no prior Italian is required. Available fall semester and spring semester


University of Amsterdam (available through IES Netherlands—Direct Enrollment or Exchange in Netherlands: University of Amsterdam)

  • 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.


Study & Intern in Toledo

  • UofM 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.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; four prior semesters of Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, academic year, May term, or summer.)

Study & Intern in Madrid

  • 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

United Kingdom

University of Edinburgh (available through IFSA United Kingdom

  • 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 Study in the UK: University of Glasgow

  • 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 IFSA United Kingdom)

  • 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

LAC 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.
  • Explore an exciting location and topic, Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.

LAC Freshman Seminars

  • Combine on-campus instruction during the spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break, on a 3 credits, 1xxx level Seminar.
  • Freshman Seminars Abroad are designed specifically for first-year students as an introduction to study abroad, an opportunity to explore an exciting location and topic, and likely fulfill a liberal education requirement.

Additional LAC Seminars

  • Check out additional LAC Instructor-led Seminars that might run over winter break, spring break, May, and summer sessions. They vary in length, dates, and content so students can find one that best fits their academic and professional goals.

Intensive Language Programs

  • Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor.
  • Complete a semester of language on a short-term program or explore options to complete two or more semesters of language on semester-long program.