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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.


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.

In addition, in three lectures of two hours each, provided by the EAV Expertise Center for Academic Skills.

Topics EAV lectures:

  • general study skills: time management, learning strategies, preparation of lectures, making notes, preparing of examinations;

  • reading strategies: skimming, fast reading techniques;

  • memory techniques: basic techniques for memorizing and reproducing facts and other knowledge;

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 Blackboard; discussion boards; plagiarism detection and uploading assignments through Turnitin.


During the introduction week (3-7 september):

  • Monday 3 September (introduction 1, 10:00-12:00; followed by an afternoon organized by the study association LKV)

  • Wednesday (5/9) daytrip to Rotterdam

  • Friday 7 september (introduction 2, 9:00 -11:00)

In Block 1 there are 5 parallelgroups:

Monday 11-13 uur (Group A) / Tuesday 9-11 (Group B) / Wednesday 9-11 uur (Group C en D) / Wednesday 19-21 (Group E)

On the first and second of October the seminar is dedicated to the Special Collections of the University Library. This will take place at the Vossius room of the UL. There will be a diffenent schedule for these days. Pay attention to further announcements on Blackboard!

Besides every student will take two modules at the Expertisecentre Academic Skills. These are scheduled Monday morning 9:00-11:00. The division of groups and dates are published on Blackboard at the beginning of September.

Please note: for the final schedule refer to Collegeroosters / Timetable BA Art History on the Art History website.

Mode of instruction

  • excursions

  • seminar

  • lectures

Important: attendance in seminar sessions is mandatory! In case of no-show, the tutor should be informed about your absence 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 2018-2019.

Course Load

Course load in summary: 5 ects (140 hrs)

16 hrs: 2 days of excursions (travelling time included)
04 hrs: 2 introductory sessions/lectures in the first week of September
12 hrs: 7 seminar sessions on sources and literature
06 hrs: expertise Center for Academic Skills
38 hrs: studying and analysing the literature and sources, both in analogue and digital format
54 hrs: preparing 3 papers; writing a final paper, based on feedback of the teachers —-
140 hrs

Assessment method

  • two assignments (2 x 30%): papers of approximately 1000 words each.

  • final paper (40%): paper of approximately 1500 words.

The final grade will be determined by means of the 3 papers mentioned above, as well as active participation during the seminars and excursions. The teacher will provide feedback on the first version of each submitted paper. The final version rewritten, after feedback, is marked.

Active participation in the excursions and the seminars organised by the Expertise Center for Academic Skills counts as a practical exercise (and is therefore mandatory).

Compensation: The weighted average of the (constituent) examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). The mark for the final examination (or the main assignment) must be at least 6.0 at (= a pass). The mark for all other constituent examinations must be at least 6.0 (= a pass). However, it is possible to compensate for one constituent examination a 5.0 (but not a mark lower than 5.0) with the grade of another constituent examination which has the same weight in the average as the constituent examination it compensates.

Re-sit: A resit/ rewrite can be done for constituent examinations which are failed.

Exam review: 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.


Blackboard is used for announcements, course materials, communication and for turning in of the papers.


  • Fred S. Kleiner, Gardner’s Art through the Ages. A Global History (15th edition, International Edition). Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2016. [ISBN-13: 9781285754994 / ISBN-10:1285754999]

  • Additional texts announced and/ or published on Blackboard.


Via uSis.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Registration Studeren à la Carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr A.K.C. (Arthur) Crucq (coördinator)

Or send an e-mail to the study coordinator of the BA Arts, Media and Society


Not applicable.