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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

M.A. in Art History

Florence, Italy skyline

Why should I get a degree in art history?

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 the 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 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 research, written, and oral communication skills, as well as informed criticism.

Art history students interested in careers in museums also have the option to pursue a master’s degree 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 art historical research at a professional level.
  • Students will develop the professional-level writing skills required for cultural and art historical professions.
  • Students will compose and support complex arguments and ideas about art and visual culture 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 on art historical methodology and the art and culture of various world traditions. In addition to completing this coursework, students produce a capstone research paper, an original work of research submitted as a written paper and presented in a public lecture. Students are encouraged to undertake positions at Syracuse University’s Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Archives, the Syracuse University Art Museum and other galleries on campus. Our graduates have moved on to careers in museums, galleries and the art market, education, cultural heritage and cultural management.

For more information, please visit the M.A. Art History, Main Campus page, or contact Professor Sascha Scott (sscott04@syr.edu), Director of Graduate Studies.

M.A. Art History, Florence Program 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 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. Art History, Florence Program in Italian Renaissance Art or contact Professor Sally Cornelison (sjcornel@syr.edu), Director of the Florence Graduate Program in Italian Renaissance Art.

Art History & Museum Studies

Graduate students in the main campus art history M.A. program can also pursue an M.A. in the Museum Studies Program (College of Visual and Performing Arts). Combining these programs of study provides students with a foundation in visual culture, art history methodologies, and the theory and practice of museum studies. It also gives students more flexibility on the job market by preparing them students for a wide range of professions in museums, galleries, and related professions.

For more information about the M.A. Program in Art History, Main Campus, contact Professor Sascha Scott (sscott04@syr.edu), Director of Graduate Studies.

For more information about M.A. Program in Museum Studies, contact Professor Andrew Saluti (ajsaluti@syr.edu), Program Coordinator.