Information provided in this section will provide you with a wealth of material about majoring in Art, Art History and Visual Studies. It will also inform you about opportunities and organizations available to you within the Duke community.
Each student majoring in Art, Art History and Visual Studies will be assigned an advisor once their major is declared. Second majors are also encouraged to work with an advisor in navigating their course planning and other opportunities in the arts community at Duke. Students should contact their advisor to make an appointment in advance of registration. The Director of Undergraduate Studies is available for consultation by appointment.
Arts organizations in the Triangle area are especially eager to have Duke students working with them during the academic year and/or summer. Internships are an integral component of the I&E Certificate. (external link)
Capstone courses in Visual Art and Visual & Media Studies are offered every spring for seniors majoring in these disciplines. These culminating courses will offer you the opportunity to bring together aspects of your academic engagement through the development of a semester- long (Visual & Media Studies) or year-long (Visual Arts) project.
You are encouraged to travel and to take courses abroad. There is no substitute for exposure to the major works of painting, sculpture, and architecture in museums and cities around the world. A wide variety of programs are available for one semester, for the entire academic year, or for the summer only. There is a complete listing of such programs in the Office of Duke Global Education for Undergraduates, (Smith Warehouse, Bay 6, 114 S. Buchanan Blvd.), which has an extensive file of study opportunities in other countries, including a number of programs that have received “pre-approved” status. A listing of summer courses can be obtained from the Office of Summer Session in the Bishop’s House.
During the last semester of your junior year at Duke, you may apply for graduation with departmental distinction if you have a minimum 3.5 departmental GPA and 3.3 overall GPA. To be eligible, you must apply in writing to the program early in the spring semester of your junior year. Include in your letter the following: 1) a working title and brief description of your thesis project, 2) the name of your principal advisor, 3) an application form to the director of undergraduate studies, and 4) in consultation with the advisor, the names of a distinction committee of two additional faculty members.
Independent study provides the ideal opportunity for a student to do an extended research project in a subject of particular interest. Students are encouraged to do independent studies with a faculty member with whom they have previously taken a course. Students doing Independent Studies in Art History are required to write a research paper. A successful Independent Study project can lead to Graduation with Distinction in the Major.
The Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies prides itself on the superior work of its students. Additionally, Duke University assesses the strengths of a Department based on the work of its students. For these reasons AAHVS requests that all students create a Senior Portfolio of exemplary works completed in their major, to be submitted in their final semester.
Students may find that their projects require funds to cover cost of supplies and materials. We first ask you to reach out to the Undergraduate Research Support Office (URS) which offers various grants, fellowships, and awards to students to help them with academic expenses. Under the ‘Opportunities’ tab, you can select ‘Creative Arts’. This will give you a list of all the funding they offer for arts projects specifically and their corresponding deadlines.
There are many grants, prizes, and other resources available to you as a Duke undergraduate, with certain prizes and grants geared towards the research and practice for students majoring in Art, Art History and Visual Studies.
Suggested courses for students pursuing paths in:
- Animation, Motion Graphics and Design
- Sculpture, Installation and 3D Media
- Interactive Art and Media