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Master of Arts in Art History

ARH Banner, MA in ARH

This degree involves broad exposure to the history of art as well as focused attention to one of the department’s major areas (9 hours). The Master of Arts is designed to develop research and writing skills that will be useful in a professional career in one of the art historical disciplines. All incoming students are admitted into the 36-hour M.A. program. Students interested in moving into the Straight-through Track should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies, major professor and Department Chair. This track enables students to move through M.A.-level coursework at an accelerated pace directly into the Ph.D. program.

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Entrance into the Master’s program usually requires a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Undergraduate Art History courses and reading knowledge of one foreign language. Admission and funding of students is competitive and based on scholastic record, statement of purpose (outlining relevant experiences, background, research interests and professional goals), three letters of recommendation, research and writing proficiency, language capabilities, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.  For more information please consult our How to Apply page .


The program is designed to be completed within 2 years.

Course Requirements

36 credit hours of coursework

List of Courses

During their first semester, full-time students (minimum 9 credits per semester) are required to take Methods of Art History and two additional courses at the 5000-level. During the second semester, students usually take three 5000-level courses, although students may take a 6000-level seminar if they have the appropriate background in the subject of the seminar as well as the approval of the teacher and the Graduate Advisor. During the second year, students take three courses each semester for a total of 36 credits. (Students invited into the Straight-through Ph.D. Track now begin taking courses for the doctoral program.)

The M.A. and Straight-through Ph.D. Tracks all require:

  • Methods of Art History
  • A course in a field outside the western tradition
  • A minimum of three courses—constituting a major field—in one of the five Fields of Study: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance/ Baroque, Modern and Visual Cultures of the Americas

Language Requirement

To succeed in their graduate coursework, students must have a reading knowledge of one modern research language. This requirement is met by French, German, Spanish or another modern research language appropriate to the student’s field of study, to be approved by the major professor in consultation with the Graduate Studies Committee. The requirement is fulfilled either by passing an exam in reading knowledge or successfully completing an intermediate-level course. Although it is highly recommended that students meet the foreign language requirement before beginning the program, the requirement must be met by the end of the first year of coursework.

M.A. Progress Review

All faculty members in the department review and evaluate each student’s progress toward the end of the first academic year. In early March, students submit a self-assessment of their progress through the program and an M.A. Review Cover Sheet.

For more information, please contact Academic Coordinator Juan Barceló-González.