Master of Arts Degree Requirements

MA degree requirements


Applications are invited from students in a variety of disciplines concerned with the history and theory of art, architecture and cultural production. Taking account of different backgrounds, students may be directed toward additional courses or supervised reading programs designed to broaden their knowledge of the field.

Course Requirements

A minimum of eight graduate-level courses (32 credits) with regular letter grades and a B average or better, to be distributed as follows:



ARTH 500. Theory and Methods (required in the first year)


Seven courses (including at least six art history seminars; taken with at least four different faculty members in art history)


Total minimum number of credits


*For courses outside the department and all independent studies, students submit a petition to the graduate committee.

Foreign Language

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 by the end of the second semester (24 credit hours). Work in certain fields may require additional language skills.

NOTE: Students may seek a waiver of the language requirement by petitioning the graduate committee in writing and providing appropriate documentation of their competency in the language in question.

Master's Comprehensive Examination

The Master's Comprehensive Examination has been incorporated into the mandatory seminar on 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 electronically in accordance with Graduate School regulations (with hardcopy required by the department). Students must be registered for at least 1 credit of Thesis (ARTH 599) during the semester in which the degree is completed.


All MA students must file a "Declaration of Candidacy" form during the semester in which they intend to complete their Master's program. Students should review their record of matriculation requirements with their supervisor, who will also notify the DGS of their intention to complete. The Departmental file should contain all records indicating that the student has passed all required courses and examinations. A completed signature page is required to show that the thesis has been approved by both readers. The Director of Graduate Students has the responsibility of attesting that all requirements have been met, before a degree can be awarded.