The Department of Art Studies

The Department of Art Studies (DAS) of the University of the Philippines is the only department of its kind in the country and in Southeast Asia. The department has been a leading institution in the teaching and study of art in the Philippines from an inter-disciplinal perspective, drawing primarily from the fields of art history, art theory and aesthetics, art criticism, art management and curatorial studies. Its current and former faculty boasts of distinguished art historians and art critics, as well as art practitioners in the various fields (theater, dance, music, visual arts, among others) and curators, reflecting the department’s strong interdisciplinal leaning and belief in research grounded in praxis and vice versa. Since its beginnings in 1959, the department has produced a substantial body of scholarly work that has expanded the domain of Philippine art scholarship beyond the confines of formalist and Euro-American-centric perspectives. It continues to shape new generations of critical art scholars, critics, curators, cultural workers, educators, and artists.

History of the Department

In 1959, when the Department of English split into three units, the Department of Humanities and Philippine Institutions was one of the new departments to emerge. This unit was tasked to teach art appreciation in the style of the University of Chicago. The pioneers of the program included Aurelio Estanislao, Eliseo Pajaro, Leticia Ramos-Shahani, Ricaredo Demetillo and Virginia R. Moreno, all distinguished artists and men and women of letters.

In 1964, an A.B. Humanities Degree was instituted.

By 1989, most of the members of the department were at the forefront of research in Philippine Art. There was a dramatic shift in art writing that had been focused on the fine arts. The study of art now includes the creative endeavors of marginalized Philippine communities as well as popular art forms. The faculty changed its name to the Department of Art Studies to reflect the new approaches and paradigms required in these areas, sharpening the focus of the discipline. This shift also signified the movement away from the shadow of Enlightenment aesthetics and towards the more exigent goals of a ‘less Western’ liberal arts canon.

This shift towards a nationalist orientation will be sharply felt in the 1990s when more radical foundational and epistemic challenges took place in the Bachelor of Arts in Art Studies program. In 1993, the first ever curricular workshop after the DAS renamed itself resulted, among others, in the overhaul of the core courses in art history and the institution of the “Arts of the World” series of courses to further check the dominance of Western art histories and in response to the changing borders and boundaries of a constantly shifting world.

Currently, the Department of Art Studies offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Studies with the option to concentrate on Art History, Interdisciplinary, or Philippine Art; and three Master of Arts degrees (Art History, Art Theory and Criticism, and Curatorial Studies). It also offers three General Education courses: ARTS 1 (Critical Perspectives in the Arts), Art Studies 2 (Art Around Us: Exploring Art in the Everyday) and PHILARTS 1 (Philippine Arts and Culture).


The department offers the only undergraduate and graduate degree programs on Art Studies in the Philippines. They aim to hone the knowledge, mindset, and skills of students in the practice of art history, art theory and aesthetics, art criticism, art management, and curatorial studies.

Find out more about the BA program here.

Find out more about the MA programs here.

Faculty & Staff

The department prides itself with its 44 faculty members―particularly 3 Professors Emeritae, 34 members of various ranks, and 7 lecturers―who specialize on varying geographies, periods, and perspectives in art history, art theory and aesthetics, art criticism, art management, and curatorial studies.

Find out more about each faculty member here.


Art Studies Journal Vol. 3, Issue No. 1: Journal Relaunch & Public Forum

Released by the Department of Art Studies in the early 1990s, the Art Studies Journal (ASJ) is set to be relaunched at the UP Vargas Museum on the 21st of March 2024. Devised as one of the Department’s discursive platforms for critical perspectives and methodologies on doing art studies, the journal aligns with the department’scommitment …

Art Studies Journal: Call for Submissions, vol. 3, nos. 1-2 (2023)

The Art Studies Journal is the official journal of the Department of Art Studies, College of Arts and Letters, University of the Philippines Diliman. It is envisioned to foster discursive and scholarly engagements on Philippine art, in conversation with the regional and the global, through deploying the lenses of art history, art theory and aesthetics, …

Attention: OAR UP Alumni Email and Survey

Please help us encourage more UP alumni to register for a UP Alumni email and participate in the survey. Their feedback is invaluable to maintaining our engagement with them and improving our programs. We are sharing with you resources to help promote the UP Alumni Email and participation in the survey: OAR website for UP Alumni Email registration: …