Academic Catalog

Art History (M.A.)

Degree Overview, Policies, Procedures and Requirements

Admission to this program is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School. The applicant must have an undergraduate or equivalent degree in art history, a minimum ‘B’ average in undergraduate art history, and three semester of college-level work in one approved foreign language, appropriate to scholarly study in this field, with a ‘B’ (3.0) average or better.

Admission Requirements

An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements, plus these departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the Art History graduate program:

  1. An undergraduate or equivalent degree in art history, and a minimum ‘B’ average in undergraduate art history. Applicants who do not have an undergraduate degree in art history may be asked to take one or two survey courses in the field and/or upper level courses.
  2. Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant's academic or professional activities and potential, preferably from previous art history instructors. For individuals who have been out of school for the last 10 years, letters from other professionals who are in a position to assess the applicant's potential for graduate work may be substituted.
  3. Three semesters at college level (or equivalent) in an approved language with a ‘B’ average or better. Applicants may be admitted without having completed this requirement but must complete the requirement as soon as possible.
  4. Personal statement (1-2 pages), explaining the applicant’s interest in and exposure to art history and the career goals the applicant wishes to pursue.
  5. A sample research paper (preferably on a topic in art history)

No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted as program credits required for the degree. Applicants whose overall grade point average is between 2.25 and 3.0 may take the Graduate Record Examination to be considered for admission.

Application Procedure

Applicants must complete the online Application for Graduate Admission form (www.gradadmissions.wayne.edu), including the graduate application fee and an official transcript from each college or university attended, as well as the personal statement and sample research paper. Applicants must arrange for the three letters of recommendation to be submitted online.

Applicants wishing to be admitted for study beginning in the fall semester should submit their application and materials by February 1; for admission to study beginning in the winter semester, the application procedure must be completed by October 1.

All potential applicants are encouraged to visit the campus to discuss the program and their career goals with the Graduate Advisor in Art History. Candidates are also advised to consult the Graduate School website (www.gradschool.wayne.edu) for information about university funding opportunities. The GRE must be taken in order to apply for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship or to apply for a university Graduate-Professional Scholarship.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and Funding Opportunities

While GRE scores are not required for admission to the program, students wishing to apply at any point in the course of their studies for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship offered by the department or for the Graduate-Professional Scholarship offered by the University must have their GRE scores reported to the appropriate representative at that time. 

The Art History program offers a one-year Graduate Teaching Assistantship. The GTA may be renewed for second year. The program also offers the Alice L. and Albert W. Steinbach Endowed Scholarship Fund for Art History Graduate Students. This fund may vary but generally offers approximately $1,500 to two students for travel/research or for tuition assistance. In addition, approximately five graduate students are hired as Graders for the 1000-level Survey courses each semester. The pay varies but is approximately $1,300 per semester.

M.A. Comprehensive Exam

The M.A. Comprehensive Exam is designed to test the skills and knowledge acquired during the student’s coursework, to better prepare the student to write the M.A. paper (essay or thesis), and to better prepare the student for work in the field as a museum or arts professional or in a Ph.D. program. The M.A. exam will consist of two essays. Students will write one essay in their selected major field and a shorter essay in a secondary field. Secondary field questions will be more general than questions in the major field. Students will develop, with their essay/thesis advisor in their primary area and a faculty member in the secondary area, three questions in each area, primary and secondary, and will choose one of two from each area on the day of the exam.

The exam should be taken after 24 credits toward the M.A. degree have been completed (and language requirements have been completed) and must be successfully completed before writing the M.A. paper.

Questions will be written by the faculty specifically for each individual and the student will discuss with the faculty members in their primary and secondary areas possible essay areas and receive guidance on how to study and prepare. This may include a reasonable list of readings from coursework as well as additional articles or texts. This preparation also should provide a foundation for the student’s M.A. paper in their primary area.

Primary area: In consultation with the faculty member in the primary area, three questions are prepared for this portion of the examination. These questions guide the preparation for the examination over the summer, which, for most students, is the best time to prepare for the exam. One week prior to the examination, the primary area faculty member submits a list of two questions to the Graduate Advisor who approves the questions and administers the exam. The examinee writes an essay in response to one of the two questions posed. The student has 90 minutes to answer the question of choice.

Secondary area: In consultation with the faculty member in the secondary area, three questions are prepared for this portion of the examination. These questions will be more general than those in the primary area. One week prior to the examination, the primary area faculty member submits a list of two questions to the Graduate Advisor who approves the questions and administers the exam.

For both the primary and secondary areas, the examinee writes an essay in response to one of the two questions posed. The student has 45 minutes to answer the question of choice. The examinees may take a fifteen-minute break between the two exam sections. Examinees will have fifteen minutes at the end to review the exam. The total exam time is 2 1/4 hours. The break and review period bring the total time to 2 ¾ hours.

Grading: The faculty member in the primary area will grade that portion of the exam; the faculty member in the secondary area will grade that portion of the exam. The Graduate Advisor in consultation with the primary area and secondary area instructors will determine whether the examinee has passed or failed the exam. Where the Graduate Advisor is also the primary or secondary area advisor, the Area Coordinator or another faculty member may serve as a consultant on the exam.

Program Requirements

M.A. candidates may choose either of two plans to complete the degree requirements: Plan A (Thesis) or Plan B (Essay). All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts governing graduate scholarship and degrees; see the sections beginning under Academic Regulations and Academic Regulations for the College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts, respectively.

Plan A (Thesis) Requirements

Plan A requires thirty-two credits in coursework, including at least six credits at the 7000-level and eight credits in thesis.  The thesis is expected to be a more in-depth and original contribution to art historical studies. This option must be approved by the student’s essay/thesis advisor, and a special form must be submitted to the Graduate Office. Students may concentrate in one of the following areas, but must take at least one course in four of the five core areas, for a total of four core courses (12 credits): African Arts, Classical, Medieval, Renaissance-Baroque, and Modern-Contemporary; two courses must be taken at the 7000-level (6 credits). Students must fulfill the language requirement and pass the M.A. Comprehensive Exam before completing their Thesis.

Complete 12 credit hours in 4 of 5 core areas: African, Classical, Medieval, Renaissance-Baroque, and Modern-Contemporary12
Classical
Hellenistic Art
Ancient Rome
Classical Greek Art
Roman Painting and Sculpture
The Ancient City of Athens
Renaissance/Baroque
Art and Architecture in the High Middle Ages
Early Renaissance in Italy
High Renaissance and Mannerism in Italy
Art of Renaissance Venice
Modern
Trends in Nineteenth Century Art
Modernism: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Twentieth Century Art
Art 1900-1945
Topics in Twentieth-Century Art
Museum Practicum
African
Performance Art of the Americas
Gender and Race in Visual Culture
Special Topics/Seminars
Special Topics
Directed Study
Seminar
Select 2 courses from:6
Seminar in Greek and Roman Art
Seminar in Renaissance Art
Seminar in Modern Art
Complete 2 elective courses6
8 credit hours of Plan A Thesis:8
Master's Thesis Research and Direction
Total Credits32

Plan B (Essay) Requirements

Plan B requires thirty-three credits in course work, including at least six credits at the 7000-level, three credits in essay, and  six credits in elective or cognate areas (e.g. classics, English, history, film, anthropology) or Directed Study. Students may concentrate in one of the following areas, but must take at least one course in four of the five core areas, for a total of four core courses (12 credits): Classical, Medieval, Renaissance-Baroque, Modern Contemporary, and African Arts; two courses must be at the 7000-level (6 credits). The M.A. Essay counts for 3 credits. Students must fulfill the language requirement and pass the M.A. Comprehensive Exam before completing their Essay. Up to six graduate credits (two courses) in Art History may be transferred from a graduate program at another institution. 

Complete 12 credit hours in 4 of 5 core areas: African, Classical, Medieval, Renaissance-Baroque, and Modern-Contemporary12
Classical
Hellenistic Art
Ancient Rome
Classical Greek Art
Roman Painting and Sculpture
The Ancient City of Athens
Renassaince/Baroque
Art and Architecture in the High Middle Ages
Early Renaissance in Italy
High Renaissance and Mannerism in Italy
Art of Renaissance Venice
Modern
Trends in Nineteenth Century Art
Modernism: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Twentieth Century Art
Art 1900-1945
Topics in Twentieth-Century Art
Museum Practicum
African
Performance Art of the Americas
Gender and Race in Visual Culture
Special Topics/Seminars
Special Topics
Seminar
Select 2 courses from:6
Seminar in Greek and Roman Art
Seminar in Renaissance Art
Seminar in Modern Art
Complete 2 electives courses6
Complete 2 elective or cognate (related) courses6
3 credit hours of Plan B Essay:3
Master's Essay Direction
Total Credits33

Candidacy

All graduate students begin their work as Master’s Applicants. After twelve credits have been completed, a Plan of Work must be signed by the faculty advisor and submitted to the Department Graduate Officer. If the student has maintained a 3.0 grade point average and the Plan is accepted, his/her/their status is changed to Master’s Candidate.

Language Requirement

Students must submit a statement of reading proficiency in one foreign language for approval by the faculty as appropriate to scholarly study. Students who have not completed this requirement upon admittance to the program must fulfill the language requirement as quickly as possible, and must do so by the end of coursework and before registering for the M.A. Essay or Thesis credits. Students may demonstrate reading proficiency in the selected foreign language by one of the following two methods: 

  1. Completion of three terms of university-level coursework in an approved language with a ‘B’ average or better, as recorded on submitted transcripts. These courses do not count toward the degree credit requirement.
  2. Passing the Reading portion of a Language Proficiency Exam administered in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, with a grade of 70% or higher.

Students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Art History should be aware that admission to such programs often requires reading ability equivalent to four terms of coursework in at least one of the languages of German or French, and are encouraged to pursue these languages.

Progress toward the M.A.

In order to progress to candidate status in the graduate program, a student must file a Plan of Work by the time they accumulate 12 credits in the program and have attained a minimum GPA of 3.00. Students achieve candidacy when they file a Plan of Work that is approved by the art history Graduate Advisor and the college/school Graduate Office. 

A candidacy hold is automatically generated for students who have not attained candidacy by the time they accumulate 12 credits. Students will not be able to register until they file a Plan of Work.

Students should therefore meet with the Graduate Advisor in their first semester to complete a Plan of Work, insuring that they will meet program requirements. The Plan of Work will be adjusted to reflect any changes in the final semester. All courses applied to the M.A. degree need a grade of not less than B. Earning a grade of B- or less in any course may be cause for probation, which would require raising the average to B in the immediately following term. A subsequent grade of B- or less could, at the discretion of the art history faculty, be grounds for dismissal from the program. Each student will be assessed during a first year review by the art history faculty.

Additionally, a part-time student must complete a minimum of one course in each academic term until completion of course work. A student may request a leave of absence from the program should circumstances make continued progress towards the degree impossible. Requests must be made in writing to the Graduate Advisor. No more than two consecutive semesters of leave will be granted at any one time.

It should be noted that the art history Graduate Advisor works with all art history graduate students and may be separate from the essay/thesis advisor. Once a student has achieved candidate status and has determined a primary area of study, he or she may petition for an essay/thesis advisor.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within six years of initial enrollment (including approved leaves of absence). It is expected that a full-time student will normally complete all of the requirements for the degree within three years, but that part-time students will require more time.

Essay or Thesis Detailed Requirements and Standards 

The program defines an Essay as a research study that synthesizes the literature, while a Thesis is research with an original contribution. The exact nature of the Essay or Thesis is to be arrived at in consultation with the individual essay/thesis advisor. The topic may develop out of a research or seminar paper, but the candidate embarking on the Essay or Thesis should have had at least one course with the instructor supervising the final paper.

The length and structure of the Essay or Thesis will depend on the type of material involved and be arrived at in consultation with the essay/thesis advisor. It should generally be approximately fifty pages for the Thesis but may be less for the Essay (but not less than thirty pages). While a rigorous approach to research and writing is expected for both the Essay and Thesis, a shorter length for the Essay reflects the fact that the Essay is 3 credits while the Thesis is 8 credits. This project, whether Essay or Thesis, is the culminating work of the MA candidate and should demonstrate mastery of the methodology of the field. Both the Essay and Thesis must include the normal scholarly apparatus of footnotes, list of works cited, list of illustrations, and illustrations. The basic formal requirements are outlined below:

Prerequisites

All course requirements, as well as language requirements and the MA Comprehensive Exam, must be completed before the Essay or Thesis proposal is submitted. It may be advantageous, of course, to begin research on a possible topic well before the final course requirements are met, particularly in cases where seminar papers seem to be promising topics. Students should feel free to consult with individual faculty members about such possibilities at an early stage and be sure to allow ample time to do the necessary bibliographical research before defining a topic. While any student may choose the Essay option, the Thesis option must be approved by the student’s essay/thesis advisor, and a special form must be submitted to the Graduate Office. 

Proposal and Second Reader 

The student must select a Thesis (if approved) or Essay topic in consultation with a faculty member who will be the major advisor and reader of the paper. After general agreement concerning the scope and organization of the paper has been reached, the student will write a formal proposal or thesis statement of three to five pages, which should include: 

  1. a clear statement of the topic and its significance; 

  2. a claim or argument about the topic; 

  3. a working outline; 

  4. the bibliography used to write the proposal. 

It is important to discuss a first draft of the proposal with the essay/thesis advisor. The student will then consult with his or her essay/thesis advisor before asking another faculty member to serve as a Second Reader for the Essay or Thesis.

In addition, the student should compile a preliminary working bibliography (i.e., an extensive list of all the sources the student has been able to find that may be relevant to the topic - including sources that must be requested through Interlibrary Loan, or require travel in order to use, and foreign language sources).

Research and Writing

After the proposal has been accepted, the student should meet with the essay/thesis advisor to work out a practical schedule of work for completing the Essay or Thesis. This should include enough 2 time for draft revisions and for the Second Reader to read and comment on the revised draft. 

Once the topic has been determined, the first step in research is the development of a working bibliography through a wide-ranging search for all sources that are likely to contain relevant material. It is most important at this stage to consult a wide range of indexing sources, library catalogues and electronic databases. In addition to the working bibliography, a careful record of the works of art that may be discussed in the Essay or Thesis must be kept; it should include not only the physical data and locations of the works, but also notes on sources of good reproductions.

Writing is a highly individual process, and it is not the intention of these instructions to set up rigid guidelines for either style or content. Questions of format should be worked out with the essay/thesis advisor. Some general guidelines may be helpful, however. It is recommended that the student follow as nearly as possible the model of a reputable scholarly journal such as Art Bulletin. For footnotes and bibliography, the forms in any approved style manual are recommended (such as The Chicago Style Manual).

Essays must be revised and completed by the end of the semester in which the student is registered to graduate. The Essay will be submitted to the department. The Thesis must be submitted to both the department and the Graduate School to meet a University deadline. This is usually three weeks before the end of the semester in which the student is registered to graduate. It is the student's responsibility to keep track of these deadlines, which can be found at www.gradschool.wayne.edu. Students must also keep the essay/thesis advisor informed on the progress of the Essay or Thesis, arrange for consultations, and turn in sections or chapters of the draft well in advance of the date on which they wish to discuss them.

Format and Technical Requirements

The Graduate Office establishes the guidelines for the format and technical requirements of the M.A. Thesis only. Students should consult the Graduate School website and Graduate School Handbook at www.gradschool.wayne.edu for the appropriate guidelines. 

Although minor details of format may vary, the completed final draft of the Thesis submitted to the faculty advisor and second reader must contain the following:

  1. title page;

  2. table of contents (without page numbers);

  3. list of illustrations;

  4. text;

  5. footnotes;

  6. appendices (if needed);

  7. list of works cited;

  8. illustrations;

  9. autobiographical statement (in the case of a Thesis).

Illustration pages must be numbered consecutively and display a figure or plate number and page number. The captions must also include the image source.

Example:

Paul Cezanne, Mt. Ste. Victoire from Bibemus Quarry
ca. 1898, oil on canvas, 25 1/2" x 32".
Baltimore Museum of Art. (Photo: Museum).

MA Essays are not submitted to the Graduate Office and therefore are not held to the same strict formatting specifications; however, MA Essays should also follow the same general format.

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