Distinguished Majors Program in Art History

The Department's Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) is an opportunity for qualified undergraduates to undertake substantial, independent research projects while working closely with department faculty. Participants are prepared for advanced independent research and analysis by a required seminar in art historical theory, methods, and historiography. The program culminates in the submission of a DMP capstone project, a significant piece of original research, such as a text with a length of about fifty pages, a digital humanities project, an exhibition project, etc.. Students who successfully complete the program receive departmental honors, with a degree of Distinction, High Distinction, or Highest Distinction in art history.

Students should ordinarily declare their intention to apply for admission to the program by the end of the spring semester of their third year. In the fall of their third or fourth year, program participants attend ARTH 4051, Art History: Theory and Practice. This seminar introduces students to essential conceptual and methodological approaches to art history. A formal application for admission to the program is submitted to the director of the Distinguished Majors Program in the spring of their third year. To apply, students must have the approval of a faculty member who has agreed to direct their research. A GPA of at least 3.4 in the major and an overall GPA of at least 3.4 are required for admission. In addition to a completed application form, applicants must submit a statement and project proposal, preliminary bibliography, writing sample, and academic transcript.

DMP students in the program are required to enroll in six credits of Undergraduate Thesis coursework with their faculty advisor. ARTH 4998 is taken in the Fall semester and ARTH 4999 in the Spring semester. Once capstone projects are submitted, a committee of department faculty determines degrees of distinction. This evaluation depends above all on the level of accomplishment the project has attained, considered in tandem with the students' overall performance in the major. In the case that a project fails to meet departmental standards, a determination of no distinction may be made. The committee passes on its recommendations to the Committee on Special Programs. 

Students who wish to apply for the Department's Distinguished Major Program should complete the application form and use the requirement guidelines for the submission of supporting materials. Complete applications should be emailed to the DMP Director, Giulia Paoletti gp5mt(at)viriginia.edu

Applications are due the last Friday in April.

DMP application

Research Funding

Prospective DMP students are encouraged to conduct original research for their project and can apply for funding. Students should begin planning to submit grants in early spring of the third year in order to take advantage of the summer prior to fourth year for travel and research.

Research and travel funds are available from:

the College of Arts and Sciences

Office Of Citizen Scholar Development

Office of Undergraduate Research  

Echols Scholars Program 

Raven Society 

The College Council funding 

QVA Grants

The Department of Art (Leslie Baltz Fellowship and others) 


DMP project guidelines (Forthcoming)

DMP evaluation criteria (Forthcoming)


Past DMP Projects


Ruth Alber: "Acts of Worship: The Creation of Narrative Within the Kumano Sanzan Miya Mandara;" Advisor: Dorothy Wong; Second Reader: Larry Goedde.

Hans Christoffersen: "The Obama and Kennedy Portraits: Can the Presidential Portrait be Cool;" Advisor: Elizabeth Turner;  Second Reader: Henry Skerritt

Leslie Wade: "Reconciling Salvador Dalí's Uneasy Situation within the Canon of Modern Art;"  Advisor: Elizabeth Turner, Second Reader: Henry Skerritt.



Frankie Mananzan: “Yves Klein: Performing Authorship”


For more information, please contact the director of the Distinguished Majors Program:

Giulia Paoletti email
308 Fayerweather Hall



The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found here.