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School of Art History

Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Art History

The Master of Arts program in Art History is a 36 unit program intended to give the student a broad general knowledge of Western Art History, under the guidance of experienced and dedicated faculty. Students graduating from the program will be prepared for acceptance into a doctoral program in Art History or for careers in fields such as gallery and museum management, visual technology, arts administration, education, post-secondary teaching, scholarly research and writing, curating and restoration, and art and antique connoisseurship.

The program offers specializations leading to the M.A. degree in the following areas: Ancient Art; Medieval Art; Renaissance Art; Baroque Art; 18th & 19th Century Art; Modern Art (pre war).

Students enrolled in the program are required to demonstrate reading proficiency in one European language (French, German, Italian or Spanish) and will take six units of fine art studio courses taught within Academy of Art University's internationally renowned School of Fine Arts. Required studio curriculum is designed to familiarize M.A. students with traditional methods of fine art production including painting, printmaking and sculpture. This marriage of Art History and Fine Art studies offers a unique lens through which art and its history can be discussed, as well as providing graduates with a distinct skill set.

Students will complete their degree by writing an M.A. thesis, with the support and advisement of an Art History faculty member. The thesis will be written in the student's chosen area of art historical specialization demonstrating independent scholarly research, and highlighting their joint understanding of art and its creative process.

Admission to the graduate program

Students applying to the M.A. Art History program will have completed a Bachelor of Arts in Art History (or equivalent) or have completed a minimum of twelve (12) units (4 courses) in Art History. At least two of these undergraduate Art History courses must be at the upper-divisional level and must be passed with a C- grade or higher.

Students must also demonstrate proficient reading knowledge of one of the following European languages: French, Italian, Spanish or German.*
(*Note: If foreign language requirement is not met upon entry, students have until their Midpoint to demonstrate proficiency.)

Applicants whose first language is not English, must submit a TOEFL score. For acceptance to the MA in Art History program, the TOEFL score must be 80 or above.

Applicants who do not meet the above criteria will be required to make up any deficiencies by enrolling in one to six Graduate School Preparatory classes to be determined by the department director.

Learning Outcomes: Degree Breakdowns & Requirements: MA Graduation Plan MA Art History Unit Requirements

Major 30 units
Studio Art Elective 6 units
TOTAL 36 units

MA Art History Degree Requirements
  • Successful completion of Final Thesis Project
  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 36 units
  • Reading Proficiency in one of the following languages:
    French, German, Italian, or Spanish*

*NOTE: Students must demonstrate reading proficiency in at least one European Language prior to graduation. European Language coursework cannot apply toward the Master's Degree.

Sample Graduation Plan | MA 36 units
  1st Year 2nd Year
FALL Major
9 units
9 units
WINTER Intersession
9 units

6 units
JUNE Intersession
3 units
Totals 21 units 15 units
  Art History Master of Arts Degree
  • Graduation plans may vary by individual degree progress
  • Graduate Academic Advisor approval is required for course loads exceeding 12 units for Fall or Spring semesters and exceeding 6 units in Summer semesters
  • Financial Aid is not available for intersessions
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