You are here


The study of visual culture encompasses the production, use, form, and reception of visual products and cultural manifestations past and present. 

It incorporates the painting, sculpture, and architecture traditionally defined as art history and extends throughout the field of visual imagery beyond the conventional boundaries formerly drawn by the academy. 

The History of Art and Visual Culture Department (HAVC) offers courses covering a wide variety of representations from the cultures of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific Islands including areas as diverse as ritual, performative expression, bodily adornment, landscape, the built environment, installation art, textiles, manuscripts, photography, film, video games, apps, and data visualizations.


Study and Research Opportunities


The history of art and visual culture curriculum guides students in acquiring skills in critical thinking about art and visual culture leading to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.  Each student who chooses to major or minor in HAVC devises an individual study plan with a faculty advisor.

• B.A.

• Undergraduate Minor

• Concentration in Religion and Visual Culture


Program Highlights



The HAVC internship program provides opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in the arts and to explore various career paths. For internships related to HAVC, click here.

Study Abroad

The flexibility of the HAVC programs allow many students to partake in Programs Abroad through UCSC or other institutions.  To learn more about studying abroad as a HAVC student, please visit the department's programs abroad page as well as the UCSC Global Engagement website.

Faculty Advisors

Faculty are the best resource for learning about the philosophies and foundations of history of art and visual culture. Faculty advisors work individually with students to develop a specific course of study, recommend additional courses of interest, and discuss long-term career goals, including education beyond the baccalaureate. A faculty advisor is assigned to each student by the undergraduate adviser during the declaration of major meeting.


Career Options

The preparation students receive from the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in history of art and visual culture can lead to successful careers in education, law, business, and social services, in addition to more disciplinary-specific careers in museum curating, art restoration, library and information science, heritage studies, design, criticism, arts education and administration, and advanced studies in architecture, visual culture, and art history.

For a list of career options related to HAVC click here.  Students can also visit the Career Center for more information.


Faculty Recognition 

Professor Martin Berger was awarded the Archie K. Davis Fellowship at the National Humanities Center (2015-16) , and was a Lecturer at the Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies, Tel Aviv University (December 2015).

Professor Raoul Birnbaum was named a residential research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton NJ (2016). He also was a member of a research team at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) that worked for three years on studies of a wide range of 17th-century Chinese paintings; the project culminated in an exhibition at LACMA (“Alternative Dreams," August-December, 2016) and the book 17th-Century Chinese Painting from the Tsao Family Collection, which received the 38th annual George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award.

Professor Carolyn Dean was awarded the Getty Scholars Fellowship at the J. Paul Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2016-17), and was named a UCSC Arts Division Dean Eminent Professor (2014-19). Professor Dean and Professor Dana Leibsohn (Smith College) were awarded a two-year Collaborative Research Grant from the American Council of Learned Societies.

Associate Professor Stacy Kamehiro was part of a team of faculty from UCSD, UCSC, UCLA, and UCB that was awarded a University of California Humanities Research Institute grant for the "University of California Pacific Worlds Initiative, 2017-18." 

Assistant Professor Albert Narath was the recipient of a Getty Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship (2016-17).