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Introduction to the Major

Students researching
Visual objects play a central role in the formation of values and beliefs, including the perception of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race and class.

Students of the history of art and visual culture at UC Santa Cruz investigate complex questions concerning the social, political, economic, religious, and psychological impact of images from the perspective of their producers, users, and viewers. Through attentive historical study and close analysis, students are taught to recognize and assess these systems of value and are introduced to theoretical and methodological frameworks for future research.

Combining HAVC with other programs

The HAVC major is flexible, can be easily completed within 4 years, and works well when combined with other programs offered at UCSC. Many students choose to combine HAVC with other major/minor programs such as Anthropology, Art, Education, History, Psychology, Businesss and Management Economics, and Classical/Italian Studies.


Graduates from the History of Art and Visual Culture B.A. program will have demonstrated the following:

PLO 1- Breadth of Cultural Knowledge

Students will be able to demonstrate an appreciation for, and foundation in, visual studies grounded in a range of historical, social, cultural, and ideological perspectives. 

PLO 2- Critical Thinking

Students will be able to apply critical thinking skills that will enable them to analyze and solve problems through observation, experience, reflection, interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and/or explanation of visual, material, and historical cultural forms and values.  Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills through oral and/or written communication.

PLO 3- Research Proficiency

Students will be able to formulate research questions that expand their knowledge of art and visual culture.  Students will be able to apply research methods to answer these questions by consulting the current literature and developing independent results through archival, library, or field research.

PLO 4- Written Communication

Students will be able to present clear visual and historical analysis and interpretation in writing.  Students will be able to demonstrate standard writing conventions in visual studies appropriate to purpose and context.



Undergraduate Minor

Concentration in Religion and Visual Culture