Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja), Indian (Tamil Nadu)

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Art History Masters

General Information

The Master of Arts in Art History degree may be taken in either a thesis or non-thesis track. The thesis track emphasizes training in academic scholarship and offers study in breadth through coursework and research in the preparation of a thesis. Students who plan to continue for a PhD or pursue a career in art-history education typically follow the thesis track. The non-thesis track emphasizes coursework in breadth and practical training experience through a supervised practicum. The non-thesis track may be appropriate for students interested in pursuing certain positions in art museum education, commercial galleries or other visual arts institutions.


Competitive applicants must have a good general background in art history. Applicants need not have an undergraduate major in art history, but should have a solid record of art history course work. In our program we define a “solid record” for our undergraduate majors as 55 quarter credits of art history classes distributed among major fields of study offered in our department. This figure should serve only as a general reference point, however; we do not expect all applicants to have exactly the same background and course distribution as our undergraduate majors. Studio art classes and work experience in art-related fields can enhance your application, but in most cases will not substitute for a good background in academic course work.

Financial Aid

Our main source of departmental financial support for our graduate students is a limited number of Teaching Assistantships. These, however, are rarely awarded to first-year students; exceptions are sometimes made for entering Ph.D. students with teaching experience. A majority of our graduate students have outside jobs (some within the University), at least for part of the year. Additional information and advice about financial aid can be found under Graduate Support.

More about the Art History MA