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Freshman's Class Academic Skills I seminar: On the Scholarly Study of Art and its History


Admission requirements

Same as admission requirements for the BA Art History/BA Arts, Media and Society.


The course is primarily an introduction to the academic study of Art History, and secondly, it aims to ease the transition from secondary education to studying at the university. The course starts with an introduction week in which the students will gain insights into what the field of study entails. Furthermore, they receive instructions about the university's digital learning environment. The students acquaint themselves with the visual nature of the discipline of art history through visits to museums, collections and monuments.

After the introduction week at the beginning of the semester, students become aware of the academic nature of the discipline in the first seven weeks by means of seminars on primary sources, secondary literature and the use of library and documentation facilities. The course objective is to introduce students to academic skills by analysing texts and writing assignments.

Course Objectives

  • Students gain insight into the difference between secondary education and academic education by recognizing the academic nature of studying Art History.

  • Students learn to write at an elementary level according to methods accepted in the field.

  • Students acquire the skills to manage a small-scale student research project, as well as learning to plan and prepare their studies.

  • Students acquire knowledge of the academic approach to the visual properties of various forms of art, based on confrontations with artefacts on site during excursions.

  • Students acquire knowledge of different types of primary sources and literature and the use of a university library.

  • Students are trained in achieving text comprehension, using various reading strategies.

  • Students learn to analyse on a basic level concrete (visual) objects and learn to trace and evaluate the sources and literature relevant for art historical research.

  • Students learn to do writing assignments based on art historical (visual and textual) resources.

  • Students learn to use the digital learning environment Brightspace; discussion boards; plagiarism detection and uploading assignments through Turnitin.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Excursions

Important: attendance in seminar sessions and excursions is mandatory! In case of no-show, the tutor should be informed by e-mail about your absence and the reason prior to the actual seminar session. Moreover, this course cannot be successfully completed by students that were absent more than twice. Only in exceptional cases, the Examination Committee may consider the possibility of an additional or substitute assignment. See also the Course and Examination Regulations.

Assessment method


  • Exam Literature Analysis

  • Final paper of approximately 1500 words

The final grade will be determined by means of the 2 papers mentioned above. The teacher will provide feedback on the first version of each submitted paper in Turnitin. The final version rewritten, after feedback, is marked.

Compensation: Both papers must be concluded with at least 6.0 (= a pass) each. That means that the weighted average of the two papers must also be at least a 6.0


  • Exam Literature Analysis: 40%.

  • Final paper of approximately 1500 words: 60%.


A resit/ rewrite can be done for constituent examinations which are failed.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading List

  • Fred S. Kleiner, Gardner’s Art through the Ages. A Global History 16th edition International Edition). Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2016. [ISBN-13: 9781285754994 / ISBN-10:1285754999]

  • Additional texts announced and/ or published on Blackboard.


Enrolment through My Studymap Login | Universiteit Leiden is mandatory.

First year students will be registered for this course by the student administration.



This course is an admission requirement for the following courses:

  • BA2 seminars

  • AMS on Site: Practices and Approaches