M.A. Program


Group of seminar students standing under colorful sculpture

We offer graduate courses in European, American, East Asian, and African art. Students may pursue graduate degrees in European and American Art/Global Modern and Contemporary Art or East Asian Art. Students who are interested in pursuing graduate degrees that emphasize international and/or transnational modern and contemporary art should follow the European and American/Global Modern and Contemporary track. 

The M.A. provides students with a broad and deep knowledge of the visual arts, as well as study of the basic concepts, theories, and methods of the discipline. The M.A. may be pursued as a terminal degree or as preparation for subsequent doctoral studies.

Program Info

The M.A. in History of Art requires 30 hours of graduate credit, at least 21 of which must be taken in art history according to the department's established distribution requirements.

  • Students studying European and American Art/Global Modern and Contemporary Art take ten courses. At least seven must be art history graduate seminars (700 level or above); of the seven, at least two must be numbered 800 level or above. Students must take at least one art history course numbered 500 or above in three of the following four areas:

    • 400-1400: Europe, the Mediterranean, or Near East
    • 1300-1700: Europe, the Mediterranean, or Near East
    • 1700-1900: Europe or America
    • Post-1900: Global Modern and Contemporary Art (Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Middle East)​​​​
  • Students studying East Asian Art should take a balanced distribution of graduate-level (500 level or above) courses in Chinese, Korean and Japanese art history. Of the required ten courses to complete the M.A., at least five must be art history graduate seminars (700 level or above); of the five, at least two must be numbered 800 level or above.

M.A. students must demonstrate proficiency in the reading of a foreign language, normally a major European language, Chinese, Korean, or Japanese during the course of the program.

The final component of the History of Art M.A. is a general written examination in either European and American Art/Global Modern and Contemporary Art or East Asian Art. Combined M.A./Ph.D. students must pass the written exam in order to be considered for formal admission to the Ph.D. program.

For fall semester admission, all application materials must be received by January 5

For spring semester admission, all application materials must be received by October 1

  1. A completed graduate application

  2. Three letters of recommendation (preferably from art history professors). The application system will send your recommenders an email containing the instructions for submitting their letters once you have entered their contact information. 

  3. A chronological list of art history courses completed that includes (1) the number of credit hours, (2) the instructor's name, and (3) the grade received. Applicants typically have completed no fewer than 18 credit hours of art history coursework.

  4. Resumé or curriculum vitae

  5. A statement of personal and educational interests and career objectives. We appreciate this opportunity to learn more about you. Feel free to discuss any personal, educational, economic, cultural, and/or social experiences that have helped shape you as a candidate. Please address how the graduate program/faculty in Art History at KU would help you to achieve your goals. Do not exceed 750 words. 

  6. A writing sample, preferably from an art history course that you feel best represents your research, writing, and critical thinking skills. Your text (not including the bibliography, endnotes, and images) should be between 10-20 pages.

  7. Official transcripts, or copies of official transcripts, from all post-secondary institutions

To be considered for admission, an applicant must hold a bachelor's degree. The Office of Graduate Studies requires applicants, international or domestic, whose native language is not English to demonstrate English proficiency. Please review Graduate Admissions' English proficiency requirements for additional information.

Get Started

Ready to apply? Start the application process or request additional information about the M.A. program.

Graduate Program Contacts