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Master of Arts in Art History

Program Description

The strength and uniqueness of this program lie in the diversity of its faculty, the urban setting of the university, and the multicultural emphasis of the curriculum. Courses are offered in a wide range of fields, including: Ancient Egyptian; Near Eastern; Roman; Medieval; Italian and Northern Renaissance; Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century European, American and Latin American; African; African-American; Pre-Columbian; and Contemporary art. Seminars may cover topics such as Iconography and Symbolism in Ancient Egyptian Funerary Art, Pictorial Narrative in the Middle Ages, Orientalism in the Nineteenth Century, Latin American Artists in the United States, Contemporary Art History and Criticism, and Art of African-American Women.

Program Requirements – (36 hours)
The program is designed to be completed in four to five semesters by a full-time student. The College of Arts and Sciences and University policy allow a maximum of seven years for the completion of the M.A. degree requirements, which include lecture and seminar courses, a comprehensive examination, a thesis proposal, a thesis, and a demonstrated reading knowledge of a foreign language. The specific requirements are as follows:


  • 21 hours of Art History courses, consisting of seven art history lecture courses or seminars with a minimum of three seminars (AH 6000 or AH 8000 level).
  • 3 hours of AH 8010, Methodology and Historiography of Art 
  • 6 hours of electives in related areas, chosen with the approval of faculty adviser 
  • 6 hours of AH 8999, Thesis Research
  • *The seven required Art History courses must be distributed in areas that are both related and unrelated to the student’s major area of concentration. The Art History program currently recognizes five areas of study: 1) Ancient Art; 2) Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Art; 3) Modern Art; 4) Art of Africa and the African Diaspora; and 5) Art of the Americas. To fulfill the distribution requirement, students should take one course in three of these five areas.

    Foreign Language. Candidates for the Master of Arts degree in Art History must demonstrate a reading knowledge of either French or German. The language requirement should be fulfilled no later than the end of the first year (or 18 hours) of graduate work. This requirement may be adjusted by petition of the student if his/her major area of research requires learning a language other than French or German. The foreign language reading requirement may be satisfied by passing a reading examination administered by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. The reading tests, offered once a semester, emphasize translation ability. Students are permitted to take the exam more than once, if necessary.

    Student Review. Upon completion of 18 credit hours of graduate study, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, the candidate’s progress will be reviewed by the Art History faculty. The student at this point will also have fulfilled the foreign language reading requirement and demonstrated appropriate research and writing skills. If the evaluation is satisfactory, the candidate will then complete the remaining coursework and confirm an area of concentration and an appropriate adviser, who must be selected from the tenure-track faculty in the Art History program.                                                                                                   

    Thesis proposal. Before enrolling in AH 8999 (Thesis Research), candidates must present a thesis proposal, written in consultation with their adviser, to be approved by their thesis committee.  The thesis committee consists of the adviser and at least two other faculty members.  One of the committee members may be selected from outside the School of Art and Design, from another discipline within the School of Art and Design, or from non-tenure-track faculty in Art History.                                                                                                                                          

    Thesis. Candidates must prepare a scholarly thesis on a specialized topic within their chosen area of concentration. The completed thesis must be submitted for approval to the candidate’s thesis committee. Once approved by the candidate’s thesis committee, the thesis will be submitted for approval to the School of Art and Design and the College of Arts and Sciences.


Admission to Program

In accordance with Graduate Division procedures, applications for the graduate program are reviewed in the spring semester.

Application Materials

Applicants must satisfy the general requirements of the Division of Graduate Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, before an evaluation of the application may be made by the Art History faculty. In addition to the general requirements, the program requires the following:

  • A high standard of overall undergraduate achievement.
  •  Undergraduate coursework in Art History. Applicants normally should have a minimum of five upper-level courses or the equivalent.
  • A one-to-two-page statement of purpose describing current academic interests, proposed area of specialization, and long-range career goals. The statement should also explain how the art history graduate program at Georgia State will serve those interests and goals.
  • A writing sample such as a term paper from an upper-level Art History course. The statement and writing sample should be included with the other application materials sent to the Office of Graduate Studies, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • GRE scores




Applicants to the Art History graduate program are also encouraged to meet personally with a member of the Art History faculty.

Career Opportunities

Manager or curator in museums, galleries, art libraries; museum registrar; museum educator; specialist in historic preservation and conservation; art critic; college lecturer; research or curatorial consultant.

Departmental Support

Graduate assistantships with tuition waiver and stipends are available. Information may be obtained from the Graduate Director of the School.


School of Art and Design

     General Information (404) 413-5221
     Graduate Director (404) 413-5229

College of Arts and Sciences

    Office of Graduate Studies (404) 413-5040

For more detailed information about the program please see the Georgia State University General Catalogues