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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

M.A. in Art History

Florence, Italy skyline

M.A. Degree Options

Our graduate programs prepare students for careers in academia and higher education, museums and galleries, arts leadership and other arts-related professions. We offer two programs leading to an M.A. degree in art history. The first is a general course of study on the main campus that provides a comprehensive overview of art history while allowing students to pursue specialized research interests.

The second is a graduate program dedicated to the history of Italian Renaissance art, which requires one semester on the main campus followed by two semesters of coursework in Florence, Italy. Both programs emphasize the development of written and oral communication skills and informed criticism. Students are encouraged to undertake positions at the Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Archives, and the SUArt galleries on campus.

Art history students interested in careers in museums, arts administration and art libraries have the option to concurrently pursue a master’s degrees in museum studies (College of Visual and Performing Arts).

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to apply the fundamental methodologies of the discipline of art history in their academic work.
  • Students will be able to conduct professional-quality art historical research.
  • Students will develop professional-level writing skills to become competitive in art history-oriented professions.
  • Students will compose and support complex arguments and ideas about art in oral discussion and visual presentations.
  • Students will demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language.

M.A. Art History - Main Campus

The M.A. degree in art history provides students with opportunities to expand their expertise in art and visual culture by taking advanced courses about art historical methodology and the art and culture of various world traditions. In addition to taking this coursework, students also produce an M.A.Symposium Paper, an original work of research submitted as a written paper and presented in a public lecture. Our students have moved on to careers in museums, galleries and the art market, education, cultural heritage and cultural management.

For more information, contact Professor Wayne Franits (

M.A. in Italian Renaissance Art

While in residence in Florence, art history graduate students encounter Renaissance art and architecture first hand via their coursework, field study opportunities and interactions with art conservators and local museum directors and staff. They also pursue individual research projects on site and in some of the finest libraries in the world for the study of Italian Renaissance art history, including those at the Kunsthistorisches Institut, the Uffizi Gallery, Harvard University’s Villa I Tatti and at the Biblioteca Nazionale. Graduates of this unique program have gone on to earn doctoral degrees at prestigious American and European universities, as well as to successful careers in academia, museums, the tourism industry, marketing and architecture, among other professions.

For more information, please visit M.A. in Italian Renaissance Art, or contact Professor Sally Cornelison (, Director of the Florence Graduate Program in Renaissance Art.

Art History & Museum Studies

Graduate students in the main campus art history M.A. program can concurrently pursue a M.A. in the museum studies program (College of Visual and Performing Arts). Pursing both degrees allows students to combine advanced courses in art historical methodology and art history with a strong foundation in the theory and practice of museum studies. Combining these programs of study prepares students for a wide range of professions in museums, galleries and related professions.

A separate application for each of these programs must be completed. Students follow the general curricula for each M.A. program and earn two separate degrees, one in art history and one in museum studies. Program requirements are partially satisfied with the sharing of two courses for credit in each program. For more information about the Art History M.A. Program, contact Professor Wayne Franits (