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Department of Art History and Art

Department of Art History and Art

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Home / Introduction to Graduate Programs / Art History / Master of Arts in Art History

Master of Arts in Art History

The Master of Arts program in art history is designed to provide the student with a broad knowledge of the major art historical periods, the scholarly and bibliographical resources, and the methodologies of art history. It also offers an opportunity to investigate art historical problems in some depth. In addition to the regular graduate school application form, applicants to the graduate program in art history are required to submit GRE scores and copies of two research papers that they consider to represent their best work.  Applicants for the MA should have a BA major or minor concentration in art history or a related humanities field and a minimum GPA of 3.5. All applicants whose native language is not English, or who have not received a degree from an English-speaking university, must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); the required minimum score is 100 if Internet-based.

The master’s degree in art history is conducted exclusively under Plan B as described under the School of Graduate Studies in the university bulletin. All other requirements of the MA program must be fulfilled:

ARTH 495 Methodologies of Art History 3
Eight graduate courses at the 400 level or above, three of which must be seminars on the 500 level. These eight courses must include one course from four of the following five areas: world art, ancient, medieval, Renaissance/Baroque and modern/ American. 24
ARTH 489 M.A. Qualifying Paper 3
A reading knowledge of one foreign language (normally French, German, or Italian)
Successful performance on the MA comprehensive examination
Total Units 30

 

Prior to graduation all candidates for the MA in Art History are required to submit a qualifying paper; it may be a seminar or course paper reworked as necessary, or an independent project. The MA qualifying paper, based on individual research, should be the length of a publishable article and conform with the text and footnote format used in the Art Bulletin. The paper is written under the supervision of a faculty advisor, and is read and approved by a second member of the art history faculty. Further information regarding the Qualifying Paper is available online. Three credits registered as ARTH 489 is required.

All students are required to maintain good standing in the School of Graduate Studies, i.e. a minimum quality point average of 2.5 at the completion of twelve semester hours or two semesters of graduate study, and a minimum quality point average of 2.75 at the completion of twenty-one semester hours or four semesters of graduate study (For details, see the CWRU General Bulletin). If a student receives two grades of C, he or she will be placed on probation. An additional C will require withdrawal from the program.

All requirements for the MA degree must be completed within five years of matriculation, including leaves of absence, excepting leaves for military service or maternity/paternity leave. Formal application for graduation must be filed at the Office of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies not less than two months before the date of the convocation at which the candidate expects to receive the master’s degree. In exceptional circumstances, some requirements may be waived with the permission of the department and/or the Dean of Graduate Studies . All requests for waiver of a requirement must be made formally, in writing, no later than the semester preceding the one in which the waiver is to be applied. Students will be notified in writing by the department chair whether or not the waiver has been granted.

 

Language Requirements

Candidates for the MA in art history must also demonstrate a reading knowledge of one approved modern language other than English, normally French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, or Japanese. The language requirement must be satisfied before the student applies to take the Master’s Comprehensive Examination. It may be satisfied in one of three ways:

a. The student may submit evidence of having completed a minimum of six credit hours (two semesters) of college-level language study and achieve a grade of B or higher no later than two years before entering the MA program.

b. The student may complete a minimum of six credit hours (two semesters) of college level language study, achieving a grade of B or better. The language study must be completed by the end of the third semester in the MA program. Credit hours earned for language study may not be counted as part of the thirty hours required for the MA degree in art history. These hours may be taken at CWRU or elsewhere and official transcripts must be provided. Online courses can be used to satisfy this requirement, but the syllabus and final examination must be submitted to the department for approval.

c. The student may take a language examination (offered by the department every November and April. This one-hour examination requires translating a section of an art-historical writing in a foreign language into English; use of a dictionary is allowed. The examination is graded on a pass/fail basis, and grading is based on both the accuracy and length of the translation written by the student. In the event of an unsatisfactory performance, the exam may be taken again or the student may enroll in courses of formal language study as in option b.

 

Comprehensive Exam

After completing thirty hours of course work, students are required to take a MA Comprehensive Examination. This is a two part examination, given over two days, and consists of a slide examination requiring the identification and brief discussion of thirty works of art chosen from all fields of art history, and four essay questions, incorporating materials from at least three of the five areas defined above.

Upon completion of the foreign language requirement, the MA Comprehensive Examination, and the MA qualifying paper, students will be provided in each case with a written evaluation of their performance, with four possible results: a) High Pass, b) Pass, c) Low Pass and d) Fail. A grade of Low Pass (or higher) on both the comprehensive examination and qualifying paper or final internship project is required for the MA degree.

Only those students who achieve an overall evaluation of High Pass or the equivalent (A) on the comprehensive examination AND the qualifying paper or final internship project are eligible to be considered for admission to the PhD Program in Art History or Art History and Museum Studies. In order to apply to one of these programs, second-year MA students at CWRU should submit a statement explaining which field they would like to study and why, and make clear they have discussed this plan with their potential departmental advisor. This faculty member should also submit a letter of support, verifying their willingness to work with the applicant. The statement and letter should be submitted by January 1 to the department’s Director of Graduate Studies. The student will also be required to answer two essay questions on the comprehensive exam in the area of study they plan to pursue for the doctorate.

Action will be taken on such applications (including a decision on financial aid) shortly after completion of the comprehensive exam and qualifying paper or final internship project. If accepted, the applicant may defer starting the doctoral program for one academic year if so desired, but the financial aid offer cannot be guaranteed for the next year.