MA in Art History

Our MA curriculum prioritizes traditional research methods, while also focusing on new media skills and hands-on learning via internships, curating coursework, and museum studies.

Catalog Year: 2024-2025

Banner Code: LA-MA-AH

Art History MA students combine traditional research with the application of new media, while accessing the opportunities offered through the cultural resources of the Washington, D.C. area. The program emphasizes new media skills, museum studies, and pre-professional internship training. Students study a broad range of art-historical periods, theory, and research methods. Faculty specialize in periods from ancient to contemporary, and in areas covering Europe, North and South America, Asia, and the Middle East. Graduates are well-prepared for art museum and gallery professional work, where a master's degree is now routinely required, or for further study in doctoral programs.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Core Courses

ARTH 600 Methods and Research in Art History 3
ARTH 601 Colloquium in Art History 3
ARTH 599 Special Topics in Art History 3
or ARTH 699 Topics in Art History
Total Credits 9

Applied Preprofessional Learning

Three credits in one of the following: 1 3
Internship in Art History
The Museum
Other coursework approved by the program director
Total Credits 3

Students who enter the MA program through the accelerated MA option, and received credit for ARTH 494 The Museum (Mason Core) as an undergraduate, are expected to fulfill this requirement with an internship or alternate course rather than ARTH 594 The Museum.

Technology and New Media

HIST 696 Clio Wired: An Introduction to History and New Media 3
or HIST 697 Data Analysis for History
or HIST 680 Introduction to Digital Humanities
Total Credits 3


Select four to five electives 1 12-15
Total Credits 12-15

Students who choose to write a thesis complete 12 elective credits; others complete 15.


Students may choose electives in AVT, ANTH, or CULT with prior written permission of the graduate director. 

Research Language Proficiency

Students must demonstrate reading ability in one relevant research language that must be approved by the graduate director. To meet this requirement, students must either achieve a satisfactory score on a proficiency exam or present coursework equivalent to a grade of B or better in an intermediate-level foreign language course (202 or higher at George Mason).

Written Comprehensive Exam

Students who do not pass may retake the exam once, following the original process.  The second exam must be taken within 12 months of the first exam.

Optional Thesis

Students who choose to write a thesis should be aware of the policies governing theses as stated in AP.6.9.3 Master's Thesis policies. They must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and once enrolled in ARTH 799 Master's Thesis, maintain continuous enrollment.

Three credits of 3
Master's Thesis
Total Credits 3