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M.A. Degree Options


Our graduate programs prepare students for careers in academia and higher education, museums and galleries, arts leadership, and other arts-related professions. We offer two programs leading to an M.A. degree in art history. The first is a general course of study on the main campus that provides a comprehensive overview of art history while allowing students to pursue specialized research interests. The second is a graduate program dedicated to the history of Italian Renaissance art, which requires one semester on the main campus followed by two semesters of coursework in Florence, Italy. Both programs emphasize the development of written and oral communication skills and informed criticism. Students are encouraged to undertake positions at the Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Archives, and the SUArt Galleries on campus. 


 Art history students interested in careers in museums, arts administration, and art libraries have the option to concurrently pursue master’s degrees in three other programs: Museum Studies (College of Visual and Performing Arts), Janklow Arts Leadership (Department of Art and Music Histories, College of Arts and Science), and Library and Information Science (iSchool).



The M.A. degree in Art History provides students with opportunities to expand their expertise in art and visual culture by taking advanced courses about art historical methodology and the art and culture of various world traditions. In addition to taking this coursework, students also produce an M.A. Symposium Paper, an original work of research submitted as a written paper and presented in a public lecture. Our students have moved on to careers in museums, galleries and the art market, education, cultural heritage, and cultural management.

Degree Requirements:

30 Credits (10 graduate courses, 3 credits each) structured as follows:

  • HOA 655, Graduate Research & Writing
  • HOA 656, Literature of Art Criticism
  • 5 graduate-level courses in each of five areas of art history  (ancient/medieval, renaissance, baroque/18th century, modern/American/20th century, non-western)
  • 2 courses at student’s discretion
  • HOA 757, 3-credit Art History Symposium Project
  • Qualifying paper
  • Participation in spring departmental symposium
  • Reading competency in a foreign language (typically, French, Italian, Spanish or German) by passing a departmental language exam. Required before the beginning of the second year.
  • Passing of the art history qualifying exam, required before the beginning of the second semester
  • 2-year residency requirement

For more information, contact Professor Sascha Scott (sscott04@syr.edu), Director of Graduate Studies. 

While in residence in Florence, art history graduate students encounter Renaissance art and architecture first hand via their coursework, field study opportunities, and interactions with art conservators and local museum directors and staff. They also pursue individual research projects on site and in some of the finest libraries in the world for the study of Italian Renaissance art history, including those at the Kunsthistorisches Institut, the Uffizi Gallery, Harvard University’s Villa I Tatti, and at the Biblioteca Nazionale. Graduates of this unique program have gone on to earn doctoral degrees at prestigious American and European universities, as well as to successful careers in academia, museums, the tourism industry, marketing, and architecture, among other professions.

For more information, please visit Florence MA in Renaissance Art, or contact Professor Sally Cornelison (sjcornel@syr.edu), Director of the Florence Graduate Program in Renaissance Art.

Our 15-month master's program in Art Leadership trains you for leadership in the creative and performing arts. The Janklow Program operates at the intersection of arts administration and social entrepreneurship. By combining interdisciplinary coursework with professional mentorships, competitive internships, and unique immersion opportunities, we make you more competitive in today's knowledge economy. More information about this program can be found at http://janklow.syr.edu/.

Graduate students in the main campus Art History M.A. Program can concurrently pursue a M.A. in the Museum Studies Program (College of Visual and Performing Arts). Pursing both degrees allows students to combine advanced courses in art historical methodology and art history with a strong foundation in the theory and practice of museum studies. Combining these programs of study prepares students for a wide range of professions in museums, galleries, and related professions. 

A separate application for each of these programs must be completed. Students follow the general curricula for each M.A. program and earn two separate degrees, one in Art History and one in Museum Studies. Program requirements are partially satisfied with the sharing of two courses for credit in each program. For more information about the Art History M.A. Program, contact Professor Sascha Scott (sscott04@syr.edu), Director of Graduate Studies.  For more information about the Museum Studies Program, contact Carlota Deseda­Coon (chdeseda@syr.edu). 

Graduate students in the main campus Art History M.A. Program can concurrently pursue a M.A. in the Janklow Arts Leadership Program (Department of Art and Music Histories, College of Arts and Sciences). Pursuing both degrees allows students to combine advanced courses in art historical methodology and art history with interdisciplinary coursework in business, public policy, and communication and professional mentorships. Combining these programs of study prepare students for a wide range of careers in museums, galleries, and related cultural enterprises.  

A separate application for each of these programs must be completed. Students follow the general curricula for each M.A. program and earn two separate degrees, one in Art History and one in Arts Leadership. Program requirements are partially satisfied with the sharing of two courses for credit in each program. For more information about the Janklow Arts Leadership Program, consult http://janklow.syr.edu/ or contact Christine Conroy (cconroy@syr.edu). For more information about the Art History M.A. Program, contact Professor Sascha Scott (sscott04@syr.edu), Director of Graduate Studies.