Office: McMurtry Building, Room 107, 355 Roth Way
Mail Code: 94305-2018
Phone: (650) 723-3404
Web Site:

Courses offered by the Department of Art & Art History are listed on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site under the subject codes ARTHIST (Art History), ARTSTUDI (Art Practice), FILMSTUD (Film Studies), and FILMPROD (Film Practice).

Mission of the Department of Art & Art History

The department offers courses of study in:

  1. Art History

  2. Art Practice

  3. Film and Media Studies

  4. Film Production

leading to the following degrees: B.A. degree in Art History; B.A. degree in Art Practice; B.A. degree in Film and Media Studies; M.F.A. degree in Art Practice; M.F.A. degree in Documentary Film and Video; Ph.D. degree in Art History.

The undergraduate program is designed to help students think critically about the visual arts and visual culture. Courses focus on the meaning of images and media, and their historical development, roles in society, and relationships to disciplines such as literature, music, and philosophy. Work performed in the classroom, studio, and screening room is designed to develop a student's powers of perception, capacity for visual analysis, and knowledge of technical processes.

Learning Outcomes (Undergraduates)

The department expects undergraduate majors in the program to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the department's undergraduate program.

Students in historical studies are expected to demonstrate:

  1. knowledge and awareness of art and/or film terminology and concepts;

  2. ability to develop effective and nuanced lines of interpretation;

  3. improved critical thinking skills using primary and secondary source materials;

  4. improvement in analytical writing skills and close reading skills;

  5. ability to form and validate their own and others' opinions through knowledge of artistic movements and sociohistorical events.

Students in creative art are expected to demonstrate:

  1. enhanced awareness of the role of art in intellectual and cultural life;

  2. problem solving skills to organize, analyze and interpret visual information;

  3. mastery of techniques and materials of a discipline with awareness of historical and current practices;

  4. selection of materials, processes, form, and content to achieve poetic and expressive relationships to artistic media;

  5. ability to apply critical analysis to the student’s own work and the work of others;

  6. effective techniques for the preparation and presentation of work consistent with professional practices in the field.

Learning Outcomes (Graduate)

The purpose of the master's programs is to further develop knowledge and skills and to prepare students for a professional career. This is achieved through completion of courses, in the primary field as well as related areas, and experience with independent work and specialization.

The Ph.D. is conferred upon candidates in Art History (including Film and Media Studies) who have demonstrated substantial scholarship and the ability to conduct independent research and analysis in their respective disciplines.  Through completion of advanced course work and rigorous skills training, the doctoral program prepares students to make original contributions to knowledge in their fields and to interpret and present the results of their research.

Art History

Undergraduate Program in Art History

The discipline of Art History teaches students how to analyze and interpret works of fine art (paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture), photography and moving image media (film, video, television, and digital art), material culture (ritual objects, fashion, advertisements, and the decorative, applied, and industrial arts), and the built environment (architecture, urbanism, and design). The department takes it as axiomatic that the skills of visual literacy and analysis are not innate but may be acquired through training and practice. Objects of study are drawn from the cultures of Africa, Asia, the Americas, from the Middle East; from Western, Central, and Eastern Europe; and from antiquity to the present.

Art History is a historical discipline that seeks to reintegrate the work of art into the original context of its making and reception, foregrounding its significant status as both historical document and act of social communication. At the same time, Art History seeks to understand the ways in which the work of art transcends the historical moment of its production, taking on different meanings in later historical periods, including the present. As part of their visual training, students of Art History become proficient in cultural analysis and historical interpretation. Art History thus envisions itself as uniquely well positioned to train students from a variety of disciplines in the light of the dramatic visual turn that has gripped the humanities and the sciences over the course of the last decade, with more and more disciplines becoming vitally interested in visual forms and modes of communication.

Graduate Program in Art History

The doctoral program in Art History at Stanford is relatively small and affords the graduate student the opportunity to work intensively with individual members of the faculty. The Doctor of Philosophy degree is taken in a particular field, supported by a background in the general history of art. Doctoral candidates also undertake collateral studies in other graduate departments or in one of the University's interdisciplinary programs.

Art Practice

Undergraduate Program in Art Practice

The Art Practice program offers production-based courses founded on the concepts, skills and cultural viewpoints that characterize contemporary art practice. The goal is to educate students, both majors and minors, in the craft, culture, and theory of current fine art practices to prepare them for successful careers as artists. The art practice program is designed to develop in-depth skills in more than one area of the visual arts. It emphasizes the expressive potential of an integration of media, often via a cross-disciplinary, interactive path. Through collaboration and connections with scientists, engineers, and humanities scholars, the program addresses a breadth of topical and artistic concerns central to a vital undergraduate education.

Graduate Program in Art Practice

The program provides a demanding course of study designed to challenge advanced students. Participants are chosen for the program on the basis of work that indicates high artistic individuality, achievement, and promise. Candidates should embody the intellectual curiosity and broad interests appropriate to, and best served by, work and study within the University context. 

Film and Media Studies

Undergraduate Program in Film and Media Studies

The Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Studies provides an introduction to film aesthetics, history, national cinematic traditions, modes of production in narrative, documentary, and experimental films, the incorporation of moving image media by contemporary artists, and the proliferation of new forms of digital media. The program is designed to develop the critical vocabulary and intellectual framework for understanding the role of cinema and related media within broad cultural and historical concepts.

Graduate Program in Documentary Film and Video

The Master of Fine Arts program in documentary film and video production provides a historical, theoretical, and critical framework within which students master the conceptual and practical skills for producing nonfiction film and video. The M.F.A. is a terminal degree program with a two-year, full-time curriculum representing a synthesis of film praxis and film and media history, theory, and criticism. Courses provide an intellectual and theoretical framework within which students' creative work is developed. Students proceed through the program as a cohort. The program does not permit leaves of absence.

The M.F.A. degree is designed to prepare graduate students for professional careers in film, video, and digital media. Graduates are qualified to teach at the university level. The philosophy of the program is predicated on a paradigm of independent media that values artistic expression, social awareness, and an articulated perspective. Students become conversant with the documentary tradition as well as with alternative media and new directions in documentary. Training in documentary production is combined with the development of research skills in film criticism and analysis. Electives in film studies, art history, and studio art provide an intellectual and theoretical framework within which creative work is realized. The parallel focus on production and studies prepares students for an academic position that may require teaching both film studies and production.

Art & Art History Department Course Catalog Numbering System

The first digit of the ARTHIST and FILMSTUD course number indicates its general level of sophistication.






Undergraduate level lectures


Undergraduate seminars/individual work


Graduate level lectures


Graduate seminars/individual work

 Art History












Early Modern








Africa and the Americas


Seminars and Colloquia


Historical Studies


Critical Studies


Graduate Research

Art Practice




Courses for Non-Major (Lower Level)


Lower Level Undergraduate Courses


Upper Level Undergraduate Courses


Graduate Seminars

Film and Media Studies








National Cinemas






Undergraduate Seminars


Graduate Seminars

 Film Production 




Undergraduate Courses


Graduate Courses


Graduate Courses for MFA Doc Film Students Only


Emeriti: (Professors) Kristina Branch, Wanda M. Corn, David Hannah, Joel Leivick, Suzanne Lewis, Michael Marrinan, Dwight C. Miller, Kristine Samuelson, Paul V. Turner, Bryan Wolf

Chair: Pavle Levi

Area Director for Art History: Bissera Pentcheva

Area Director for Film and Media Studies: Jean Ma

Area Director for Art Practice: : Camille Utterback

Director of Undergraduate Studies in Art History: Emanuele Lugli

Director of Undergraduate Studies in Art Practice: Terry Berlier

Director of Undergraduate Studies in Film and Media Studies: Shane Denson

Director of Graduate Studies in Art History: Richard Meyer

Director of Graduate Studies in Art Practice: Paul DeMarinis

Director of Graduate Studies in Documentary Film: Jamie Meltzer

Director of Honors Program: Adam Tobin

Professors: Scott Bukatman (Film and Media Studies), Enrique Chagoya (Art Practice), Paul DeMarinis (Art Practice), Jan Krawitz (Documentary Film), Pavle Levi (Film and Media Studies), Richard Meyer (Art History), Alexander Nemerov (Art History), Bissera Pentcheva (Art History), Nancy J. Troy (Art History), Richard Vinograd (Art History), Gail Wight (Art Practice), Xiaoze Xie (Art Practice)

Associate Professors: Terry Berlier (Art Practice), Shane Denson (Film and Media Studies), Jean Ma (Film and Media Studies), Jody Maxmin (Art History), Jamie Meltzer (Documentary Film), Karla Oeler (Film and Media Studies), Camille Utterback (Art Practice)

Assistant Professors: Jonathan Calm (Art Practice), Usha Iyer (Film and Media Studies), Srdan Keca (Documentary Film), Marci Kwon (Art History), Emanuele Lugli (Art History), Rose Salseda (Art History)

Senior Lecturer: Adam Tobin (Film and Media Studies)

Lecturers: Jamil Hellu (Art Practice), Sarah Peck (Art Practice), Leila Weefur (Art Practice)

Graduate Advising Expectations

The Department of Art and Art History is committed to providing academic advising in support of graduate student scholarly and professional development. When most effective, this advising relationship entails collaborative and sustained engagement by both the adviser and the advisee. As a best practice, advising expectations should be periodically discussed and reviewed to ensure mutual understanding. Both the adviser and the advisee are expected to maintain professionalism and integrity. Should serious challenges arise in the advising relationship, advisee and adviser (together or individually) should confer with the DGS and/or Department Chair.

Faculty advisers guide students in key areas such as selecting courses, designing and conducting research, developing of teaching pedagogy, navigating policies and degree requirements, and exploring academic opportunities and professional pathways.

Graduate students are active contributors to the advising relationship, proactively seeking academic and professional guidance and taking responsibility for informing themselves of policies and degree requirements for their graduate program.

For a statement of University policy on graduate advising, see the "Graduate Advising" section of this bulletin.