MA Requirements

The Art History MA is designed to develop art historical knowledge, with an emphasis on Asia/Pacific; knowledge of art historical theory and critical approaches to the study of Art History and visual culture; and research skills and methodology. We offer specialties in the following areas: (1) China, (2) Japan, (3) Pacific, (4) South/Southeast Asia, and (5) Modern/Contemporary. The MA program is a full-time, 36-credit degree. Time to degree is typically 3 years (6 sequential semesters).

The orientation of the MA is towards independent and original research in Art History. It is preparation for an academic focus in the field of Art History and for further formal study in a PhD program leading to an academic career in, e.g., college/university teaching, museum curatorial work, etc. The program requires that students take 6 credits of ART 700 (Thesis Research). Students must submit and defend an original and polished Thesis of art historical research, which can be constructed as a traditional thesis paper, a curatorial thesis or exhibition plan, or other appropriate project. Students intending to engage in studies leading to the PhD are strongly encouraged to complete course work beyond the minimum MA requirements.


  • 36 credits of coursework - at least 18 of these credits must be in courses numbered above 600 and must include the following: ART 670 (Art Historical Methodology; 3 credits); three graduate seminars in Art History (total of 9 credits); and 6 credits of ART 700 (Thesis Research). The remaining 18 credits are electives.
  • Competency in one research language. The language requirement can be fulfilled through a language exam or by successfully completing four semesters of language coursework (two years / 12 credits) with at least a grade of "C" in each semester. Language coursework does not apply towards the 36 credits required for the MA degree.
  • Submission and Defense of a Thesis Proposal that conveys a student's preliminary knowledge of a given area of focus
  • Submission and Defense of an original and polished Thesis


  • The total number of 699 and 700 credits applied toward degree requirements shall not exceed 12.
  • All elective credit must be earned in courses numbered 400 and above.
  • Up to 9 credits, with Primary Advisor's approval, may be earned in appropriate advanced courses outside of the Art History area. This applies to relevant Studio Art courses as well as to courses outside of the Department of Art and Art History. The combined total of non-Art History courses applied to the MA degree may not exceed 9 credits.