Masters Degree / Admissions

Prerequisites for Admission

Applicants must have a Bachelor of Arts degree with an art history major or equivalent course work. (At UW this includes 55 quarter-credits in art history covering a broad range of art history in a variety of cultural contexts, both western and nonwestern; a reasonable knowledge of at least one foreign language is also expected.) However, we invite applications from students with degrees in other fields who wish to pursue an advanced degree in art history; such students should have a strong background in art history in addition to their coursework in other fields.


—Applicants must meet the Graduate School general admission requirements.
—3.0 or B average in Art History courses

Each year, the School of Art receives more than 60 applications for the MA and PhD programs in Art History. Applications are reviewed by a committee of Art History faculty members. Approximately 3-5 MA / PhD students are accepted each year.

The Graduate Application Process

All application materials are submitted online. Application materials sent by mail will not be considered. The online application cycle opens October 1.

Specific online application instructions will be available here beginning September 1st.

Application Deadlines

The deadline for all applicants (U.S Citizen, Permanent Resident or International) to submit both online applications and all required application materials is January 15. Late applications will not be accepted and incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

After You Apply

Applicants can track whether application materials have been received by logging back in to their UW Graduate School Application. Faculty typically make admissions decisions in late February and early March. You will be notified of our decision via e-mail. All admitted candidates must notify the School of Art of their decision to accept or decline our offer in writing by May 1.


New graduate students in Western art are required to take an intermediate-level language proficiency exam in French, German or Italian during their first quarter in the program. (“Intermediate level” means able to score 3.2 or better at the end of a second-year university-level language course.) Degree candidates specializing in Native American art may substitute Spanish for one of the three. If you do not pass a language exam your first quarter, you will be asked to make verifiable progress toward this goal and pass an exam as soon as possible. You may be asked to curtail art history course work if satisfactory progress toward satisfying language requirements is not made. Evidence of ability to pass language exams will be a major consideration in your application.

For applicants interested in Japanese or Chinese art history, Japanese or Chinese may be substituted for French, German and/or Italian. For information about studying Chinese art, contact Professor Haicheng Wang, haicheng@u.washington.edu.

GRE (Graduate Record Exam)

GRE exam scores, which in and of themselves will not make or break an application, are an important factor in your application evaluation.

Writing Samples

Papers produced for art history classes are generally the most useful evidence for reviewers of your written work. Other helpful submissions include art-history-related articles, catalogue essays, museum publications or other writing dealing with art-historical topics. If none of the above are available, submit samples of writing you feel would be most useful for those evaluating (a) your ability to express yourself clearly in writing, and (b) your ability to deal with subject matter relevant to art history.

Further Questions

If you have other questions regarding the MA program or admission requirements, please email the Graduate Program Assistant, uwah@uw.edu