The University of Iowa

Art and Art History

As an Art or Art History major, many study abroad options are available to you. Programs are available in almost every language and many programs are also available in English. Study art or art history, or take advantage of your destination to fulfill General Education requirements, study a language, complete research in a special topic, or do an internship.


Although we generally do not encourage Art or Art History majors to study abroad until their junior year, the summer between freshman and sophomore year is an excellent opportunity to participate in a short-term study program. Explore possible opportunities with a study abroad advisor and explore our website.


Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Sophomore year is a great time to plan out your study abroad experience. This is the time to decide on the type of program you would like to go on and to set the learning objectives for your experience abroad. Discuss the options available to you with a study abroad advisor and do some research at the Study Abroad office Resource Room to make sure that the classes you are taking now at the UI match well with your future study abroad objectives.


Junior year is a great time to spend a semester abroad. As a junior, you will likely choose classes that satisfy your elective requirements. You can also consider adding classes that satisfy some of the requirements of a minor or second major to your study abroad experience, or add classes that enrich your understanding of the culture you are visiting.


Senior year is another time to consider going abroad. The summer between junior and senior year might be a fun time to spend overseas. On the other hand, the first semester of your senior is a great time to study abroad because, as an upperclassman, you can pick a program that is geared toward your academic and professional interests. Also, consider taking courses that are not offered by the UI but enrich your understanding of art or art history by looking for classes that are unique to foreign environments and universities. Juniors and seniors might also consider doing an internship overseas.

General Education Component

Most study abroad locations will offer coursework that will count as part of your distributed general education requirements.

Required Courses for Art and Art History Majors

Early planning is the key to successfully finding equivalencies for your major requirements on a study abroad program. Classes offered by our partner universities will provide you with a perspective on your field that is unique to the country and culture where you are studying and that will augment the education you receive at the UI.

BA in Art (39 Hours)

A minimum of 39 semester hours of art, art history, and art education must be taken (30 hours of required courses and 9 hours of electives) in order to graduate with a BA in Art from UI.

  • Required Art History Courses
    • Two of these courses: Arts in Africa, Western Art and Culture before 1400, Western Art and Culture after 1400, or Asian Art and Culture. These should be taken freshman or sophomore year.
    • Two additional courses, preferably taken after the introductory art history classes listed above.
  • Required Studio Courses
    • Two fundamentals courses - these are prerequisites for all other studio courses
      • Basic Drawing
      • Design Fundamentals
    • Two introductory 3-D courses
    • Two introductory 2-D courses
  • Nine hours of elective credit from the School of Art and Art History

Heidi Z. in Cork, Ireland

BFA in Art (62 Hours)

  • All the requirements for the BA in Art
  • Three studio courses beyond the beginning or introductory level in their major area of concentration
  • One introductory and one advanced course in each of two other studio concentration areas
  • Drawing and Painting BFA students are also required to take the 01F:106 Undergraduate Seminar in Drawing and Painting in addition to the three required studio courses for their concentration area
  • BFA students must also present an exhibition of their studio work

BA in Art History (45 Hours)

  • Both 01H:005 Western Art and Culture Before 1400 and 01H:006 Western Art and Culture After 1400
  • 01H:002 0R 01H:016
  • Four courses from 01H:020-098
  • Four courses from 01H:103-196
  • 01H:199 Topics in Art History
  • 01H:099 Undergraduate Seminar
  • Topics in Art History 01H:199 (3 hours)
  • 6 Hours of Studio Courses
  • 12 hours in disciplines outside of Art History. Areas of interest include anthropology, classics, history, literature, philosophy, political science, religion, sociology, or other approved by the department.

There are further requirements for students wishing to earn a teaching certification in addition to their BA or BFA. For more information, please visit the School or Art and Art History webpages and your departmental advisor. 


Electives are an excellent opportunity to earn credit toward graduation and a nice way to make study abroad work for you.

A Note from the Painting and Drawing Faculty:

Students who are contemplating foreign study in drawing or painting should be aware of the range of class expectations and quality of work in programs available abroad. Upon returning to this campus and requesting credit for work done abroad, students should also be realistic about the credits they expect to receive. Our usual three credits per class are given for an intense 16-week semester of work here. During foreign study, drawing and painting classes often meet irregularly (to facilitate travel). Consequently, the work we see accomplished is not enough and nowhere near the level (intensity and quality) of what is produced in a semester here. If you are a student who has cleared for the BFA in drawing or painting, please be advised that there is very little offered abroad that is the equivalent of the personal direction you receive in our Intermediate or Advanced Painting and our Concepts of Drawing. To keep developing at this level, you should plan on doing your own work outside of the classes. These comments regarding portfolios of returning students are not in response to any one particular program. Rather, we are trying to give the student some idea of what is generally seen in the portfolios of students who travel to learn.

  • But, drawing and painting students take heart! The School of Art and Art History wants its students to be able to study and have a great and rewarding time abroad. However, before you leave, they (and Study Abroad) strongly recommend that you do research on the courses you intend to take and that you get all of your coursework approved by your art advisor before you leave the University of Iowa. Also, you should be prepared to do work outside of your study abroad classes if you are seeking to get specific art course credit.
  • Alternatively, think about finishing any remaining GEP course work or completing requirements for your minor or second major while abroad.

Additional notes:

Students who study studio art abroad will be responsible for transporting their work back to Iowa.

Art History courses must be approved by the head of the art history department prior to departure if they are intended to fulfill requirements.

The University of Iowa administers a large number of study abroad programs, and programs offered by other U.S. colleges and universities are also available to UI students. The School of Art and Art History has worked closely with Study Abroad to select programs that fit art and art history majors particularly well. All areas of emphasis within the art and art history majors include options for study abroad. Consider your area of emphasis, your career interests, and your academic goals. Use these webpages and links, talk with your major advisor, and work with an advisor at the Study Abroad office to find a program that fits your needs.

The programs listed below were chosen because they offer a diverse representation of issues in art and art history, unique cultural experiences, or specialized internship options. While we suggest you look at these highlighted programs first, feel free to browse the Study Abroad website and consult materials in the Study Abroad Resource Room.

The specific programs recommended below may change, so check with your major advisor and Study Abroad for the latest updates.


India Winterim

Study the history of art, drama, dance, print-making, and textiles of South India in Tamil Nadu province. This UI-sponsored program is offered over winter break and gives students with tight schedules the opportunity to pursue their education abroad. Instruction is in English and courses are taught by UI faculty.


Iowa Regents Semester in Ireland

University College Cork's (UCC) History of Art Department was started in 2001 and has quickly developed into an interesting and vibrant program, thanks in part to Cork's exciting artistic community, which includes the Crawford Art Gallery, the Triskel Arts Centre, and the National Sculpture Factory. For information on specific courses, visit UCC's History of Art website.


Studio Art Centers International (SACI)

Florence, Italy

SACI was started in 1975 and is now a U.S. non-profit educational institution. It is accredited through NASAD, is affiliated with Bowling Green University, and has a good record of enabling students to gain credit toward their major. SACI is housed in several buildings in Florence, including an air-conditioned palazzo with a gallery, library, studios, and a conservation lab. Other facilities include a design center, craft center, and fresco studio. SACI offers semester and year-long programs, as well as a post-BA program. Courses are organized by subject/media:

  • Two-Dimensional (drawing, painting, printmaking)
  • Three-Dimensional (ceramics, sculpture)
  • Media Area (animation, digital multimedia, photography, video)
  • Design Area (graphic design, illustration, interior design, environmental design, design workshop)
  • Art History (including museology)
  • Art Conservation
  • Italian Studies
  • Italian Language
  • Writing
  • Crafts (batik, jewelry, weaving, book arts)

For more information on these areas and on specific courses, visit the SACI website.

South Korea

Ewha Womans University Exchange

At Ewha, international students are required to take between 9 and 18 credit hours. At the School of Fine Arts, courses are offered in Korean Painting, Ceramics, Finer Arts, Painting, and Sculpture. There is also a school of Design and a Department of Clothing and Textiles. Intensive language courses are also offered, and there is a directed independent study option.


CIEE Barcelona Liberal Arts Program

Camp Nou, Barcelona 

Designed for juniors or seniors with four semesters of college-level Spanish, students take a required CIEE intensive language class, and then choose from courses concerning the theory of art, modern art, primitive art, Greek art, and contemporary art, among others.

United Kingdom

Regents Semester in Scotland

At the University of Edinburgh, the History of Art Department offers 5-year MFA and MA degrees that combine theoretical, historical, and studio work. UI students may participate in these classes and options may be available for work placement and portfolio development.