MA in Art History: Coursework

All students are required to complete 10 courses (30 points of credit), including:

  • The MA Methods Colloquium in their first semester. This course examines the range of methods employed by art historians for the interpretation of art, including formalism, iconography, social art history, feminism, gender studies, and post-colonialism. Through the critical reading of primary and secondary sources, the course focuses on the history and developments of the methods of art history while helping students define their own theoretical positions.
  • The Practices of Art History Colloquium in their second semester. This course examines the range of practices associated with art history, including connoisseurship, provenance research, curatorship, conservation and museum education, and draws on the expertise of leading art professionals invited to share their practical experience with the students.
  • 6 other courses at either the 8000, 6000, 5000- or 4000-level. Of these courses, no more than 2 should be taken for R credit. Students who wish to take courses at the 2000-level must get the instructor's approval to take them at the 5000-level, either for a letter grade (which commonly involves additional course assignments) or for R credit. Students may take up to two 2000-level courses at the 5000-level towards their course requirements, regardless of the grading option that they choose (letter grade or R credit).
  • 2 sections of the MA Thesis course in their final year in the program.

Distribution requirements

While there are no formal distribution requirements in the MA program, students are strongly encouraged to take during their coursework at least one course outside of their geographical and/or chronological field at the 4000 level or above.

Courses outside the Department

With the consent of their advisor, students may take courses in other Departments in the history, culture, literature or philosophy of their field of study.


To ensure permission to continue in the program, students are warned against the accumulation of Incompletes in the MA coursework.

Language requirement

Knowledge of one foreign language relevant to the field of study must be demonstrated in order to complete the MA. Students should consult with their advisor at the beginning of their first year to determine the exact language requirement.

For information about the fulfillment of the language requirement, please consult the MA Student Handbook.