History of Art and Architecture

The visual study of the world around us has been and continues to be increasingly important as worldwide communication becomes most often based in visual media. Understanding the sources and significance of images that form a common language of communication is crucial for anyone wanting to play an active part in society. The Dual BA Program between Trinity College Dublin and Columbia University offers students the opportunity to study the History of Art and Architecture in two different world cities, each with its own visual culture. 

A major or concentration in Art History and Archaeology lays the basis for pursuit of a variety of careers, including law, medicine, business, and academe, among others. Critical study teaches the student not only the particulars of the art, archaeology, and architecture under study, but also the broader analytical and synthetic skills needed for mature, reasoned, and inventive solutions to broad-based questions in any field.

The Department of History of Art and Architecture at Trinity boasts a wide range of expertise in Irish and European art from medieval manuscripts to contemporary art. Located in the vibrant heart of Dublin city, teaching in the nearby national museums and galleries, the Chester Beatty Library and Trinity’s own unrivaled historic campus and collections, is a central and distinctive feature of the undergraduate program.

Columbia’s Department of Art History was founded in conjunction with special resources in archaeology and architecture at the Avery Memorial Library, as inspired by great European traditions of archaeology, connoisseurship, and iconology. Art History at Columbia is tied to the cultural life of New York City, where more people are engaged in making, writing about, exhibiting, and collecting art than any place else in the world. Whether it is devoted to Roman sculpture, Japanese ceramics, or French painting, a class in art history at Columbia brings students into direct contact with works of art in the city's museums and galleries, while classes in architectural history introduce students to the staggering diversity of its buildings and public monuments.

During the Fresher years at Trinity, students take History of Art and Architecture core modules and approved/elective modules as required, and attain 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits. Core modules lay the foundations for the critical analysis of artworks and structures, the study of iconography, and how past scholarship and interpretation of art and architecture impacts on our understanding and approaches to art and architecture today. Experiential, object-based learning is key, whether examining a gothic cathedral or contemporary installation, students will become familiar with the different technical methods used by artists and architects from ancient Greece to the present day.

In years three and four at Columbia, students continue to follow a major in either Art HistoryArt History and Visual Arts, or History and Theory of Architecture, earning 64 Columbia credits (equivalent to 120 ECTS credits). This program of study allows students to continue to develop their skills and deepen their engagement with the core discipline, while also undertaking a number of classes across various humanities subjects. The art history curriculum encompasses many different cultures. It is also interdisciplinary in its scope, encouraging students to explore the central role of the visual arts on religion, politics, gender relations, urbanism, and in all other domains of human experience in which works of art inspire, disturb, or energize the imagination.

Students also complete an additional 30 ECTS credits in years three and four for their Trinity degree. This includes a multidisciplinary module in year three, and a capstone research project in year four that will assess their ability to independently identify an aspect of art historical study and critically engage with the sources, analytical tools and methodologies encountered during their studies.