Master of Arts in Art History (MA)

Master of Arts in Art History (MA)

The M.A. in Art History is designed as a two-year program of study offering a broad range of courses in Western art history, opportunities for advanced study and experience with independent research.

The M.A. program requires a minimum of 36 credit hours, balanced between coursework designed to promote coverage of the field, cross-disciplinary explorations, focused research, and a written thesis. M.A. candidates must pass a written comprehensive exam by their third semester and an oral exam on their thesis research. Competency in a modern foreign language is also required.

The M.A. is a necessary preliminary degree for the Ph.D in art history, but it is also increasingly a requirement for entry-level employment in such arts-related fields as:
• museums
• galleries
• auction houses
• arts administration
• community colleges

This M.A. program will develop skills in critical thinking and visual analysis applicable to a wide range of professional and civic pursuits and will prepare the student for further study in the field or for an arts-related career.

Minors, specializations and certificates encouraged
M.A. students are also encouraged to seek minors, specializations and certificates in related fields, including Ethnic Studies, 19th-Century Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, Great Plains Studies, Digital Humanities, and Medieval-Renaissance Studies.


Applicants will ordinarily have a bachelor’s degree with an art history major or minor, however we recognize that M.A. applicants may come from a wide variety of backgrounds that may require individual structuring of their programs. Those without a demonstrated background in art history may be advised to take undergraduate courses in the department prior to admission to the program or concurrent with their M.A. studies (these classes will not count toward M.A. program requirements). Regardless of an applicant’s undergraduate major, admission to the M.A. program assumes a minimum of a B average in undergraduate work. In addition, the applicant must meet the standards of admission to the Graduate School, and must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).



  • arts administrator
  • instructor
  • gallery manager
  • museum educator
  • museum registrar
  • curatoral assistant
  • restoration specialist

Application to this program

The Department of Art and Art History has an entirely online application system. The application for the MA in Art History has two parts. Due to a waiting period between parts one and two, the application will require several days to complete.

Read more about graduate application