4+1 Degree Program

BA+MA in Art History


The BA and MA 4+1 degree program admits qualified applicants who are enrolled as art history majors at Binghamton University and wish to complete a BA and an MA in Art History in five years. The program is open to art history majors in the Art History track. The program restricts admission to students with exceptional academic records and demonstrated potential for advanced graduate work.

Prospective students should begin the application process early in the junior year by
applying to the 4+1 program at the level of the Art History Department.
Applicants will fill out an internal form generated by the Art History Department and
submit an official transcript, the names of two professors who have agreed to serve as
references, and a writing sample. Qualified students will be conditionally admitted into the 4+1 program and then they will be allowed to enroll in 500-level
courses. Eight total credits can double-count toward the BA and MAdegress, including four credits of ARTH 500.

During the first semester of the senior year, 4+1 program students must apply for formal admission to the Graduate School. The 4+1 program student is granted MA student status only after all requirements for the BA degree are completed satisfactorily, with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for graduate coursework. 4+1 degree students are not eligible for the Departmental Honors program.

Course Requirements

4+1 program students must fulfill all of the course requirements for both the Art History BA and the MA. However, all 4+1 program students must take ARTH 500 in the spring semester of their senior year, which will fulfill the MA requirement for ARTH 500. Graduate-level courses (28 credits) must be taken for regular letter grades and a B average or better must be maintained.

Foreign Language Requirements

Students must pass an examination demonstrating an ability to read research literature in their areas of interest in an appropriate language of scholarship in addition to English. The examination must be taken no later than one semester after formal admission to the MA program. Work in certain fields may require additional language skills.

Master's Comprehensive Examination

The master's comprehensive examination has been incorporated into the mandatory seminar in theory and methods. All students are required to pass ARTH 500, Theory and Methods, with a grade of B or better. At the discretion of the art history graduate committee, students failing to achieve the required grade may be asked either to repeat the course or, in exceptional cases, to redo the examination assignment.

Master's Thesis

Students are required to produce a master's thesis, finished to a professional standard and approximately 30 pages in length. The paper will be supervised by a selected art history faculty member and refereed by a second reader, assigned by the departmental graduate committee. The final thesis must be approved by both readers and submitted in accordance with Graduate School regulations. Students must be registered for at least one credit of Thesis (ARTH 599) during the semester in which the degree is completed.

BA (Art History Track) + MA Program Required Courses:

Required Courses


Lower (100-level):
Any two from ARTH 102, ARTH 103, ARTH 110, or ARTH 111


Intermediate (200-level) and advanced (300-level):
No more than 8 credits at 200-level
At least 8 credits must be in each of the following two distribution
— "Pre-1800"
— "Post-1800"


Elective in Fine Arts:
Any course in ARTS, CINE, MUS, or THEA


Seminar in ARTH at the 400 level (double-counts towards MA degree)


ARTH 500: Theories and Methods
(double-counts towards MA degree)


500-level courses: 7 courses (including at least six art history seminars,
taken with at least four different faculty members in art history, at least
4 credits should be taken while still at the BA stage in order to complete
the degree in a timely fashion)


ARTH 599: Thesis

1 or more


at least 64

Please note: 2-credit courses may count toward total required credits. (For courses outside the department and all independent studies, students submit a petition to the graduate committee. In order to count towards the coursework credits for the degree, independent studies must be for 4 credits and must have been formally petitioned and approved in advance by the Graduate Committee.)

Sample Sequences of Coursework for the BA+MA Program

Students who are considering the BA+MA program in art history should signal their interest to the director of undergraduate studies as early as possible, ideally by the sophomore year. Students should take two courses from the 100-level introductory sequence during the freshman or sophomore year, and then move on to intermediate (200-level) and advanced (300-level) courses. During the junior year, students should apply to the program at the level of the department. After being accepted provisionally, 4+1 program students may enroll in 500-level courses. 

4+1 program students should take ARTH 500: Theory and Methods, a graduate-level seminar that examines the discipline and its history from a theoretical and critical perspective in spring of the senior year. 4+1 program students should plan to take and pass the language exam during the senior year, but definitely by the end of the first semester of the MA year. During the senior year, 4+1 program students must formally apply to the MA program through the graduate school. At the end of the senior year, 4+1 program students must complete all requirements for the BA degree in art history and file for completion. In the fifth-year, the MA year, the student takes the remaining 500-level courses needed to satisfy degree requirements and files the MA thesis by the end of spring semester.

The following is a sample sequence for a potential path through the BA+MA 4+1 program. Please note that it is merely a sample; actual course paths will reflect the specific interests and research orientation of individual students as well as courses offered. Students are advised to discuss their course programs with the Director of Undergraduate Studies and/or the Director of Graduate Studies.

Sample sequence for Art History Track

Freshman Year: Fall

ARTH 100-level course

Freshman Year: Spring

ARTH 100-level course

Sophomore Year: Fall

ARTH 200-level course ("Post-1800")
Any-level course in ARTS, CINE,

Sophomore Year: Spring

ARTH 200-level course ("Pre-1800")
ARTH 300-level course ("Post-1800")

Junior Year: Fall

ARTH 300-level course ("Pre-1800")
ARTH 300-level course

Apply to the 4+1 program
at the level of the department using the
internal form

Junior Year: Spring

ARTH 400-level course

Senior Year: Fall

ARTH 500-level course

Take and pass the departmental
language exam

Senior Year: Spring

ARTH 500: Theories and Methods
ARTH 500-level course

Apply to the MA program formally
through the graduate school

MA Year (fifth year): Fall

ARTH 500-level course
ARTH 500-level course
ARTH 500-level course

MA Year (fifth year): Spring

ARTH 500-level course
ARTH 599 1 cr.

File MA thesis at the end of the