As each generation of art historians contributes new research-based interpretations of artworks, the contemporary understanding of an object changes, as does the understanding of the contexts in which an artwork was made, obtained, displayed, or critiqued. In this sense, the practice of art history is an ever-unfolding conversation. The purpose of graduate study is to join the community of scholars, educators, curators and critics who keep the conversation going.
The MA in Art History with a concentration in historical studies provides a general background in the research methods and teachings of art history and equips students for careers in arts and cultural institutions that require an MA degree. Additionally, this concentration prepares students for the more rigorous research demands of the PhD, which is the required degree for academic and many curatorial careers.
The historical studies concentration
- requires 5 core classes: art historiography, museum collections, a seminar in art and representation, and two writing seminars
- includes 5 additional art history seminars and elective options
- culminates in submission of a qualifying paper completed in consultation with a faculty advisor
The degree can be completed in 2 years (four semesters)—with full-time enrollment in three semesters and part-time enrollment in the fourth semester. Part-time enrollment is also an option, typically with degree completion in 3 years. Some students, both part-time and full-time opt to enroll in non-required electives either in art history, museum studies, non-profit management, or other departments relevant to a student’s interests and professional goals.
In the first semester, students complete the required course in art historiography and methodology, which provides an essential foundation for embarking upon research relevant to the current state of a chosen area of study. They complete the required museum collections and art & representation seminars in either the first or second year. During the third semester, students enroll in the first required writing seminar, which immerses them in the process of preparing work for scholarly publication (including issues of copyright, publication submissions, and standards for review). In the final semester, they enroll in the second writing seminar to complete a qualifying paper, in consultation with a faculty advisor.
In addition to coursework, students demonstrate the ability to translate art historical literature from a foreign language relevant to their research interests into English.
Through the process of completing coursework, museum internships and research endeavors, students develop a professional portfolio relevant to their career objectives.
Meet current graduate students