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Art History + Spanish Departments

ShereenistShereenist Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
edited July 2009 in Smith College
I am planning to Major in art history and minor in Spanish. Does anyone have any insight or experience of these departments at Smith?
Post edited by Shereenist on

Replies to: Art History + Spanish Departments

  • TheDadTheDad Registered User, ! Posts: 10,225 Senior Member
    The Art History major is very popular and very demanding, you'll write a *ton* of papers. The head of the department spoke at our local Smith club once and he got me so excited that *I* wanted to start taking Art History classes at Smith and I barely know a Bronzino from a John Singer Sargent.

    Para Espanol, je ne sais pas.
  • levodopalevodopa Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    The Spanish courses aren't as rigorous as I'd like; it's more of a "get what you put into it" type of deal. You can survive without fully reading articles before classes, but you'll learn more if you trudge through them.

    That being said, I plan on actually learning Spanish when I study abroad in South America this fall.

    Also, beware of the Spanish placement test that you'll have to take when you get here in the fall-- it's a terrible test and I was placed two classes below my actual level. My professors were resentful that I was in their classes when I should have been in advanced composition, and I was just bored.

    My best friend is an art history major. They've set her up with some wonderful internships in NYC galleries, and she also works as a research assistant for one of the top art history profs. She's always writing papers, but she likes research and writing so it works for her.
  • je_ne_sais_quoije_ne_sais_quoi Registered User Posts: 714 Member
    My daughter took the Spanish placement test last year. She didn't think it was "terrible" and it placed her properly. (She was one of the few first-years in her upper-level classes.) Maybe the test has improved?

    Furthermore, though not her major, she adored her Spanish classes and professors. Her only complaint was the profs allowed English to be spoken, something NOT allowed in HS.
  • levodopalevodopa Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Well then they must have changed it since I took the test. I know when I took it, we didn't have the option of taking it online.

    However, last year the first-years in my upper-level classes seemed to fit in fine. I guess they've sorted the system out correctly.

    And yeah, the Spanish professors are adorable and all, but the curriculum here is nothing compared to Amherst's Spanish department, for example.
  • CarolynBCarolynB Registered User Posts: 1,068 Senior Member
    I'm glad to hear that the placement test seems to be more accurate now as my daughter plans to take Spanish this fall. Levodopa, how is it that you know the Amherst Spanish department is so excellent? Have you taken any Spanish classes there?
  • levodopalevodopa Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    No, but my best friend has. We would do our homework together (we were in the same level, technically) and her assignments were so much more creative and thorough. Her final project involved making a home video in Spanish. Her textbook was better, her speaking improved greatly, and the class was more interactive. I've heard similar stories from other Smithies who have taken Spanish at Amherst.
  • CarolynBCarolynB Registered User Posts: 1,068 Senior Member
    How did your friend place into a Spanish class at Amherst? Did she take a lower level course at Smith and then switch to Amherst for the next level up?
  • levodopalevodopa Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Yes, she did.
  • MeredithBelleMeredithBelle Registered User Posts: 37 Junior Member
    I'm studying gov & spanish, and do agree that because it's comparably smaller + is lit/cultural studies based, you get out what you put in. Though this is general rule of thumb for academics in general. A Spanish minor is unbeliviably easy esp. if you're planning to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country: 5 classes above the beginner's class, which you'll almost certainly place out of if you have taken Spanish in the past. If you just want to minor in it, the dept is more than acceptable because it provides a solid foundation. My Spanish (esp. my writing skills) have improved immensely. The profs vary greatly, again like pretty much every dept.

    Some students who took the online placement test felt they were placed too low, but you can always speak to the dept prof who's responsible for coordinating it if you feel that way. Also, Spanish profs are very strict about caps & upper-level classes are much smaller: if the class is upper-level + required for the major, your chances of getting a spot as a non-declared first semester first-year are pretty much zip. That's why I took a class one level below my first semester, which turned out to be a good thing because it eased me into the classes/dept.
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