Art History, M.A.

The graduate Art History program in the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design emphasizes the study of visual art in relation to the historical and cultural contexts in which it was created. Students receive training in various time periods and geographical areas of art history, while also gaining depth of knowledge in a particular specialization. The M.A. is a two-year degree program with thesis and non-thesis tracks. Coursework takes the form of mixed-level lecture classes, graduate-only seminars, including Methodology and Historiography of Art, and electives in subjects outside art history. The program is open to students with undergraduate degrees in art history as well as those with degrees in other fields who have completed upper-level coursework in art history. It provides a foundation for individuals who wish to pursue careers in museums and galleries, as well as undertake doctoral studies.

The graduate Art History program features established faculty with active publishing and research profiles. Students normally focus on one of the following areas: Early Modern (Renaissance) Art, Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century European Art, Modern and Contemporary American and European Art, or Contemporary African Art, and work closely with a faculty mentor when developing a thesis. Interested individuals are encouraged to make contact with the appropriate faculty member prior to applying. Highlights of the program include its urban setting, interface with local arts organizations and museums, the Art History Graduate Forum, an annual student-run visual culture symposium, assistantships and funding to present at conferences and symposia elsewhere. Many of the program’s diverse course offerings emphasize one or more of the following themes: gender, race, identity, the body and cities.

Applicants for the M.A. degree must submit the following items:

  1. Three letters of recommendation. No form is required.
  2. A one-to-two-page statement of purpose describing academic interests, proposed area of specialization and long-range career goals. The statement should also explain how the Art History graduate program will serve those interests and goals.
  3. A writing sample such as a term paper from an upper-level art history course.

The statement and writing sample should be uploaded with the other application materials or sent to the Office of Graduate Programs.

Specific admission requirements for the M.A. degree in Art History include the following:

  1. A high standard of overall undergraduate achievement.
  2. Undergraduate coursework in art history. Applicants normally should have a minimum of five upper-level courses or the equivalent.

Applicants to the Art History graduate program are also encouraged to meet personally with a member of the Art History faculty.

Note: Deadlines are not postmark deadlines but deadlines for completion of applications.

Thesis Track (33 hours):
  1. 18 hours of coursework consisting of 6 art history lecture courses or seminars with a minimum of three seminars (AH 6000 or AH 8000 level).
  2. Three hours of AH 8010 Methodology and Historiography of Art.
  3. Six hours of electives in related areas
  4. Thesis proposal approved by the thesis committee.
  5. Six hours of AH 8999 Thesis Research.
  6. Thesis approved by the thesis committee.

(In regard to 4, 5, and 6, students should consult the latest art history thesis guidelines.)

Students should take at least one course in three of four general areas of study. These areas are:

  • Ancient and Medieval Art
  • Early Modern Art
  • Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Global South
Non-Thesis Track (36 hours):
  1. 27 hours of coursework consisting of nine art history lecture courses or seminars with a minimum of four seminars (AH 6000 or AH 8000 level).
  2. Three hours of AH 8010 Methodology and Historiography of Art.
  3. Six hours of electives in related areas.

Students should take at least one course in three of four general areas of study. These areas are:

  • Ancient and Medieval Art
  • Early Modern Art
  • Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Global South

Graduate research assistantships available with stipend and tuition waivers.

Goals and outcomes upon completion of an M.A. Art History program include:

  • Emphasizing the study of visual art in relation to the historical and cultural contexts in which it was created.
  • Training in different time periods and geographical areas of art history, while also gaining depth of knowledge in a particular specialization.
  • Providing a foundation for individuals who wish to pursue careers in museums and galleries, as well as undertake doctoral studies.
  • Establishing a network with local arts organizations and museums.
  • Presenting research at art history conferences and symposia including the Art History Graduate Forum.