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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 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.

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

The topics discussed are:

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

  • reading strategies: skimming, fast reading techniques;

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 (2-6 september):

  • Tuesday 3 September (introduction 1, 10:15-12:00; followed by an afternoon organized by the study association LKV)

  • Thursday 5 September: museum visit in Leiden

  • Friday 6 september (introduction 2, 9:00 -11:00)

In Block 1 there are 3 parallel groups for Arts, Media and Society students:

Monday 15.15-17 (group 5 and 6) / Friday 9.15-11.00 (group 4)

Each student has one seminar in the special collections of the Univerisity Library (Print Room /Prentenkabinet)These six seminars will take place on Thursday November 7 in the Heinsusroom and Thursday November 14 in the Vossiusroom of the University Library. There will be a different 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 9:15-11:00. 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 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 (including the seminars organised by the EAV and the seminar in the special collections (Print Room /Prentenkabinet) of the University Library). Only in exceptional cases, the Examination Committee may consider the possibility of an additional or substitute assignment.
If the assignments are not uploaded in Blackboard/Turnitin in time and in the student own group list, a re- write must be made for that assignment. If the re-write is not handed in under the same conditions, the student no longer meets the requirements to pass the course. 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)
4 hrs: 2 introductory sessions/lectures in the first week of September
12 hrs: 6seminar sessions on sources and literature
2 hrs: seminar in the special collections (Print Room /Prentenkabinet) of the University Library
6 hrs: expertise Center for Academic Skills
44 hrs: studying and analysing the literature and sources, both in analogue and digital format
56 hrs: schrijven van twee werkstukken —-
140 hrs

Assessment method

  • one assignment (1 x 40%): paperof approximately 1000 words.

  • final paper (60%): 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.

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: 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

Re-sit: 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.


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.


Drs. L.M. Plezier

Or send an email to the studiecoördinator van de BA Kunstgeschiedenis.


This course is an admission requirement for the following courses:

  • BA2 seminars

  • AMS on Site: Practices and Approaches