Application deadline: January 3

For admission information, please go here.

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 489A M.A. Qualifying Paper 3
ARTH 489B M.A. Qualifying Paper revisions 1
A reading knowledge of one foreign language (normally French, German, or Italian)
Total Units 31

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. MA students in Art History will register for ARTH 489A (Qualifying Paper, 3 credits) in the fall of their second year. They will then register for ARTH 489B in the spring of that second year (Qualifying Paper revisions, 1 credit), in order to continue revising and refining their QP. Further information regarding the Qualifying Paper is available below. Three credits registered as ARTH 489A and one credit registered as ARTH 489B are required.

Upon completion of the foreign language requirement and the MA qualifying paper, students will be provided in each case with an overall grade evaluating 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 the qualifying paper or final internship project is required for the MA degree.

Master of Arts in Art History – Qualifying Paper (QP):

Typically, students work on their QPs during the third semester in the program; many start advanced research on the paper over the preceding summer. The recommended length is 25-35 pages, not counting footnotes/endnotes and bibliography, and students should aim for a paper that could be adapted for conference presentations and that is, ideally, publishable as an article when revised. In order to be submitted for publication, it must make a contribution to the field. Publication must be recommended by a member of the faculty.

Recommended Schedule for the Qualifying Paper:

Week 1: Submit annotated bibliography and 1-2 page thesis draft; student contacts second reader to request participation

Weeks 2-6: Outlining, drafting; recommend regular weekly or twice-monthly meetings with the advisor, and one meeting with the second reader to discuss the paper and review the schedule and deadlines

Week 7: First draft due to the first reader only

Week 8: First draft comments returned to the student

Week 10: Second draft due to the first and second readers

Week 11: Second draft comments returned to the student by the first and second readers; meeting with second reader

Week TBD: Oral Presentation of QPs to department and guests (late November or early December)

Week 14: Final draft due to both readers (only copy edits or correction of significant errors from the student takes place at this point)

Week 16: Reader reports and grades returned to student, with any required copy edits or corrections; reader comments should evaluate the paper and make recommendations for future revisions should the readers advise that the paper is suitable for publication

Week 17: Final, clean copy due to the department, with a cover sheet signed by the student and two signed reader reports

In the spring of the second year, the students should register for ART 489B (Qualifying Paper revisions, 1 credit), in order to continue revising and refining their QP.

Readers: typically, both readers are members of the faculty, in which case students may approach them directly. In some cases, it may be possible to involve a CMA or Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA) curator. Students should not approach curators directly but must first discuss the matter with their advisor and the DGS; after such discussion, the faculty advisor may approach the curator and inquire about their interest in and availability for the project. The first reader holds the primary responsibility for shepherding the project to conclusion; the second reader provides critical feedback on as many drafts of the paper as s/he deems necessary.

Examples of past QPs are available on file with the department’s administrator; papers may be consulted but may not be circulated outside the department.

Documents: Templates for the cover sheet and reader reports are available on the departmental website under “Forms and Documents”

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. For all courses taken outside of CWRU or online, the syllabus and final examination must be submitted to the department for advance 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.

Academic Standing / Graduation

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.

Master of Arts – Internal Application to Doctoral Program:

Any second-year MA student at CWRU who wishes to continue on in our doctoral program should submit a regular application including three letters of recommendation but not the college transcript, which the department will provide. Internal applicants to the PhD program do not file their application through the standard system; all materials should be sent to the department’s administrator. The normal application fee will be paid by the department instead of the student. Their statement should explain which field they would like to study and why, and make it clear that they have discussed this plan with their potential departmental advisor. One letter of recommendation should come from their potential advisor. 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. Successful completion of the MA degree in the department is not a guarantee for admission to the PhD program.