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 Western and non-Western fields from Antiquity to the 19th century.

The program that leads to the terminal MA degree is designed for students who wish to develop their academic background in art history in order to pursue a career in the art world (museum, gallery, auction house, art consulting, publishing, etc.) and for those who wish to complete an MA before considering a PhD program.

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, Materials and Practices of Art History in their second semster, and two sections of the MA Thesis course in their final year. The thesis is written under the supervision of a full-time Faculty member specializing in the student's field of study. Applicants must indicate the name of the professor they hope to work with and should consult the list of full-time Faculty to identify a potential advisor.

At the end of their first year, full-time students in good academic standing may choose to spend their second year's Fall semester in Paris. Students will be enrolled at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, where they will follow a regular full-course semester and complete necessary requirements regarding the MA thesis. Upon completion of the program, students will earn a dual MA degree, i.e., an MA in Art History from Columbia University and an MA in Art History from the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

While Columbia MA and PhD students may enroll in the same graduate classes, 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. Students who are interested in earning a PhD are advised to apply to the PhD program in the first year of their MA program. For students interested in an MA in modern and contemporary art, see MA in Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies (MODA).

Financial support for MA students is very limited. For information about loans and federal work-study eligibility, please visit the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences' financial aid website.

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