Frequently Asked Questions

Please let us know if you have more questions after reading the information below. Feel free to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies for more information.

Do art or art history courses I take while studying abroad or in summer school at another college count towards my major?

Viewing works of art and architecture firsthand is a valuable experience, so we encourage students to take classes in art history that draw on the resources available in the location where you are based for your Study Abroad program. In general, though, we will give transfer credit for the major only where the course on which you enroll while abroad relates directly to the art of that country or region – a class on the High Renaissance in Rome, for example, or Impressionism in Paris. Courses with a more general focus – such as the medieval cathedral – can also be considered when offered in an appropriate location.

Courses taken at another college during the summer can be considered for transfer credit on a case by case basis. It is advisable to check with the department’s DUS before enrolling if you intend to make such a request. You are only allowed to transfer a maximum of two courses taken at another university.

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Can I do research as an art, art history or visual studies major?

The department offers a range of undergraduate research opportunities. Programs such as the Wired laboratory frequently integrate a strong research component into classes such as Visualizing Venice, while the Graduation with Distinction program involves students in a year-long research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Undergraduates have played an active role in a range of collaborative opportunities, ranging from shows of students’ work on campus and in the Durham community to helping to curate exhibitions at the Nasher Museum and Perkins Library. The university provides funding offering diverse forms of research support.

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How do I do an independent study?

Members of faculty are happy to discuss designing an independent study on a topic of particular interest to you, subject to the policies and procedures outlined on the Trinity College website. It is preferable to have a well-defined topic appropriate for the high level of inquiry demanded by independent study and to have previously taken courses with the faculty member you select. You can apply for research funding relating to independent study. For more, please visit:

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Can I use studio facilities if I am not taking a class in Visual Art?

No. However, studio workspace is available, exclusively for students’ use, in the Arts Annex building.

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Do I need to present a portfolio to enroll in a visual arts class?


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Will my AP credits in Art History and/or Visual Art be taken into account by the department?

No. AP classes cannot be used to count towards the Major, although they can be applied to your overall graduation credits.

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Do I need to take an intro course before taking a more focused art history course?

No.  Most of our courses do not have pre-requisites. It is helpful to have some previous, basic knowledge about the subject that your advance level course will be covering, but it is not necessary.

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