About Art History

Art History is the analysis of visual data in a historical context. Art historians investigate works of art seeking to understand how they were made, why, by whom, and for whom. They also seek to read and interpret visual artifacts as records of a culture’s imagination and its larger societal concerns. Questions that art history asks touch on cultural, technological, and economic concerns. Because of this, the Art History program at George Mason University is interdisciplinary in nature.

The Art History faculty work closely with faculty from history within the Department of History and Art History, and in a broad range of programs throughout the University. The art history degree prepares students for graduate study and professional work in the arts through classwork, individual honors projects, and internships. We are committed to providing our students with a solid liberal arts education, with up-to-date applications of visual and information technology, and with access to all the exciting opportunities that the Washington, DC, area offers. 



Frequently Asked Questions 


Application Process

  1. Can I start the MA program in any semester? Spring and Fall only.
  2. What is the deadline for applying to the program? The application deadline for complete applications for Fall is April 15. The application deadline for complete applications for Spring is November 1.
  3. What should I include in my goals statement? Your background in history and your ultimate career goals. You may include academic objectives, professional interests, research interests, and any substantial accomplishments that are not mentioned on the application form.

Program Requirements

  1. Do I have to have a BA in art history to apply to the program? No.
  2. Can I work either part-time or full time while in the program? Yes. Our courses are scheduled in the evenings: 4:30 – 7:10 p.m., Monday – Thursday.
  3. If I did not major in art history as an undergraduate, or even if I did but it as a long time ago, are there any courses for a non-art history major to take at the graduate level that would prepare me for the program? Students who did not major in art history as an undergraduate or whose art history degree was more than ten years ago may be required to take undergraduate level art history courses beyond the courses required for the masters program. These courses may also be taken as a non-degree student before applying to the program.
  4. Is a PhD required for teaching at the community college level? No.
  5. How many years will it take to complete my degree? Most students complete the program as full-time students in less than two years. Part-time students generally take longer, and the maximum time limit is six years.

Appointments and campus visits

  1. Can I make an appointment with the Art History Graduate Director before being admitted to the program? Yes, you may make an appointment by emailing Dr. Robert DeCaroli (rdecarol@gmu.edu).
  2. What is the process for coming from out of state for a visit to the Fairfax GMU campus? Campus tours can be arranged at http://admissions.gmu.edu/common/visitMason.asp.
  3. Where do I park on the GMU campus? All visitors must park in the Mason Pond Parking Deck.