MA in Art History

Columbia's Department of Art History and Archaeology offers a free-standing MA in Art History in a wide range of fields from Antiquity to the 19th century.

The program that leads to the terminal MA degree is designed to prepare students for further study at the doctoral level and for careers in museums and other art-related organizations. Recent graduates have been accepted in PhD programs at Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, UCLA, Yale, UPenn, Columbia, the Graduate Center at CUNY, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Oxford, among others. Other recent graduates have gotten full-time curatorial, research, development, and exhibition management positions at the Frick Collection, the Guggenheim Museum New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Vancouver Art Gallery, among others.

Students may enroll full-time or part-time. For full-time students, the duration of the program is 2 years. Part-time students may take up to 4 years to complete the program.

The program is structured around 2 main axes: coursework and the MA thesis. All students must take a minimum of 10 courses, including the MA Methods Colloquium in their first semester, the Practices of Art History Colloquium in their second semester, and two sections of the MA thesis course in their final year. The thesis is written under the supervision of a Faculty member specializing in the student's field of study. Applicants should consult the list of full-time Faculty to identify a potential advisor and it is recommended that they indicate their name in their application. The MA program director accepts advisees in 18th- and 19th-century European Art.

While Columbia MA and PhD students may enroll in the same graduate courses, recipients of the free-standing MA in Art History will be considered for admission to the PhD program only upon submission of a separate PhD application.

For students interested in studying modern and contemporary art, see MA in Modern and Contemporary Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies (MODA).

In addition to the information provided on this website, prospective and current students may want to consult the MA Student Handbook.