Art History M.A.

Master of Art Degree in Art History (MA) Procedures & Requirements

Successful completion of the Master’s degree in Art History requires that the student fulfill several requirements in sequence, as determined by the student’s admission to one of two tracks within the MA program: the MA with thesis or the non-thesis MA. Below the student will find general information related to the program, as well as detailed information about specific requirements and the order in which they must be completed.


I. General Information


The MA program in Art History has two tracks: the thesis track and the non-thesis track. The thesis track is best suited for students who are interested in and capable of doctoral studies in art history. The non-thesis track is designed to accommodate those students who intend to pursue careers and professions that require a broad base of art historical knowledge but not the specialized, research-oriented skills required by the Ph.D. in Art History.

Prospective students declare their intention to pursue a thesis or non-thesis track at the time of application. On acceptance into the MA program, the student’s program of study will be determined by this designation, which may change should the student or faculty find the student better suited to an alternative track.  In the event of this, please contact the Graduate Office.

During the second semester in residence, each student must outline a program of study for meeting degree requirements in the thesis or non-thesis track. This program should be developed in consultation with the Major Professor and Advisory Committee (thesis-track) or the Area Chair (non-thesis track) and recorded on a Program of Study for Masters of Arts and Sciences form. This form, available online here and from the Graduate Coordinator will track your progress and credit hours. Once it is signed by the Major Professor or

Area Chair, it must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator who will then forward it to the Dean for approval.

If after this point an alteration to the Program of Study is necessary due to a change in course work, the Graduate Coordinator's Office must be notified so the paperwork any changes can be submitted to the Dean for further approval.

Note: The language requirement (see below) must be met prior to submitting this form.

B. Curriculum:

MA students in both tracks are expected to enroll in 2 graduate seminars (8000- level courses) in their first two semesters. In rare cases, an exception might be approved by the advisor or area chair, should a 6000-level course be deemed indispensible to the student’s program of study.

C. Funding

is reviewed and awarded annually based on student performance. MA students are not eligible for departmental funding beyond the second year of the program.


II.  Thesis Track: Program of Study

A. Major Professor

During the first semester of study, the Chair of the Art History area will serve as a temporary advisor for all incoming students pursuing the thesis track. In the course of the first semester, and not later than the beginning of the second, each student is expected to approach a member of the faculty with whom he or she would like to work towards the completion of the Thesis and Master’s Degree. The Major Professor must be a member of the  Art History faculty at UGA as well as a member of the University's graduate faculty.

The willingness of the faculty member to serve as the student’s major professor is recorded on the Change of Major Professor form, which is available from the Graduate Coordinator or online here. From this point forward, it is the responsibility of the student to arrange periodic conferences with the Major Professor to report his or her progress.

With approval from the art history area, a student may change his or her Major Professor a second time, providing he/she secures the appropriate signatures on the Change of Graduate Advisor/Major Professor Form (see above).

B.Advisory Committee

At the end of the second semester of study, following the submission of the Thesis Abstract  (see  below),  each  student  will  be  assigned  an  Advisory  Committee

comprised of three faculty members , all of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The appropriate form, the Advisory Committee for Master of Arts and Master of Science Candidates, found here, will then be forwarded from the Graduate Coordinator’s office to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval. This process is initiated by the student, who presents the form to his/her Major Professor to be completed.

In most  cases, the  Advisory Committee  will be  composed entirely  of art  history faculty. Faculty from other liberal arts disciplines may serve on committees as appropriate, but two-thirds of the committee must be made up of members of the art history faculty.

C. General Requirements

24 hours in graduate art history courses, 12 hours of which must be taken at the 8000 level. (i.e., graduate seminars).

3 hours of ARHI 8040, the graduate-level seminar on Historiography and Methodology, to be offered every other year, i.e., only once during the student’s time in residence.

3 hours of graduate-level art history or an approved elective outside the art history area that is central to the student's program of study.

30 hours of classroom work (SUBTOTAL)

6 hours of research/thesis (a student may register for additional hours depending upon the time devoted to the research and thesis): ARHI 7000 and ARHI 7300.

36 hours TOTAL

Note: In total, from entrance to defense of the MA thesis, the MA program is expected take no more than 2 years, with a graduation date in May of the second year. Although the graduate school allows students to submit their MA thesis within six years of their initial enrollment, continued advising from the Major Professor or the Advisory Committee should not be presumed for the duration of this period

Note: A student must be registered during any period in which he/she receives guidance from his / her advisory committee, uses university facilities or completes his/her work.

D.  Additional General Requirements Methodology Requirement

All M.A. students in art history are required to complete ARHI 8040 before graduation. Since the course is offered every other year, students must take the course at the first available opportunity.

Foreign Language Requirement

Before beginning the second year of course work, each student must demonstrate a reading knowledge of an approved foreign language (in most cases Italian, French, Spanish or German). The language requirement can be demonstrated by earning a grade of “B” or better in a University of Georgia foreign language reading course or by passing a reading knowledge examination prepared by the Departments of Romance Languages or Germanic and Slavic Languages. A third alternative is to complete four semester of foreign language study (the equivalent of UGA’s 1001, 1002, 2001, and 2002); in these four courses a student must achieve a minimum of

3.0 GPA. This requirement may also be satisfied by successful completion of the equivalent course work before graduate school, as demonstrated by the student’s transcripts.

Note: Some students who enter the M.A. program with a weak background in art history may be required to make up their deficiency by taking prerequisite undergraduate course work beyond the standard requirements.


III: Thesis Track: Specific Requirements


A. Abstract/Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination is required at the end of the second semester in the

M.A.program.ThisexaminationtakestheformofaThesisAbstractthatdescribes toAbstract,whichmustincludeanoutline,annotatedbibliography,andillustrations, mustbesubmittedtotheMajorProfessoratleasttwoweekstothesubmissiondeadline(seewhenbebytheareaasa

Before the Thesis Abstract is submitted to the area, it must first be read and approved by the Major Professor. This abstract must include:

• A 3-4 page written narrative that describes the topic or problem and its significance within the field. This précis should also briefly layout the student method and research plans.

• A 1-2 page outline that indicates in general terms the order in which the issues are to be considered.

• A 2-4 page annotated bibliography of the key sources.

Up to 5 key images.

The abstract must be submitted to the Art History Area by the first Friday in April, as both a hard copy and compressed PDF format. The faculty will determine whether the proposal has been approved, needs to be revised shortly after the submission deadline. Any required revisions must be completed before the last scheduled day of final exams. If the revised abstract is not approved, the student will be dismissed from the program and will not be allowed to take classes in the following semester.

Timetable for Part-Time Students:

In general, the M.A. program in art history is structured for full-time enrollment; i.e. three classes per semester of graduate work. On the very rare occasions that part- time students are accepted into the program (typically because they have full-time jobs at the University of Georgia), the students are required to take no less than two classes per semester of graduate work. In practice, this means that the Thesis Abstract must be submitted by the end of the third semester in the program. Revisions must be submitted by the middle of the fourth semester.


1.General Information

The M.A. thesis is the key document demonstrating a student’s competence and eligibility to receive a Master’s degree from the School of Art. Written under the direction of the Major Professor, the thesis is intended to demonstrate the ability of the student to make independent use of the most sophisticated sources of information available, including materials written foreign languages, especially in the language in which he/she has acquired a reading knowledge. In addition, it must also demonstrate the ability of the student to assemble relevant information in a clear and compelling manner and that shows, in addition, an ability to establish a strong art historical argument, written in clear expository prose. The length of the thesis should not exceed 25 pages, excluding notes and images.

Note: Following the first year of course work and the approval of the Thesis Abstract, full-time students enrolled in the thesis track are expected to research, write, and defend their Master’s Theses in one year. Part-time students, who are enrolled for five semesters in order to complete their coursework, will have an additional two semesters to complete the thesis.

Note: Students must be registered for at least 3 hours of thesis under the course number ARHI 7300 during the semester that the thesis is approved and they graduate

2. Specific Requirements / Timetable Thesis Preparation / Internal Evaluation

Students are responsible for initiating the writing process and for meeting all deadlines established by the Major Professor, the Art History area, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Arranged in chronological order, these are the deadlines to which the student must adhere:

The first complete draft of the Thesis must be submitted to the Major Professor no later than the beginning of the final (this is to say 4th) semester in residence. Shortly thereafter (and no later than the end of the first month of the semester in which the student intends to graduate) the student must meet with the entire Advisory Committee. At this meeting, the student will present progress made to date and will develop, in conjunction with the Advisory Committee, a timetable for the completion of the research and/or writing. At this initial meeting, or at a subsequent meeting, the committee will specify when they next expect to be apprised of the student’s progress and what form that demonstration of progress should take. If the committee decides that portions of the thesis should be presented to them for subsequent review, such a demonstration will not be submitted to the committee without prior approval by the Major Professor.

Before the completed thesis is submitted to the committee, the Major Professor must read and provisionally approve the final draft. If the Major Professor calls for changes, these must be done and resubmitted to the Major Professor for his/her provisional approval.  Please  note  that  the  final  draft  must  be  prepared  in accordance with a published manual of style (see A Student Guide to Preparation and Processing Theses), available in the Graduate School and must include footnotes, illustrations, and bibliography.

No less than four weeks before the scheduled Thesis Defense (see below) and no less than six weeks before the anticipated date of graduation, the student must submit three copies of the approved draft to the Advisory Committee. Comments may be presented to the student before the Thesis Defense or else at the defense itself. If the Advisory Committee determines that changes must be made before the Thesis Defense, then a revised schedule will be determined at that juncture. With regard to changes called for at the defense, the committee may require a review of the corrected thesis or they may relinquish that task, leaving the approval of the corrections to the Major Professor.

An Application for Graduation available online can be found in ATHENA and must be filed with the Graduate School no later than the Friday of the first full week of classes of the semester you plan to complete your thesis and graduate.

3.Defense and Final Examination

A final examination on both the program of study and the thesis is required of all Master of Arts candidates. In this final, oral examination, the student will defend his/her thesis. The Advisory Committee will administer this final examination, with the Major Professor serving as chair. The format of the review will be determined at the discretion of the thesis advisor in consultation with the student.  They will also decide whether or not to open the review to other members of the faculty and students.

The M.A. Final Oral Examination Request form is available on-line or in the office of the Graduate Coordinator MA Final Exam Request Form After confirming the schedule with the entire Advisory Committee, students should submit this form no later than two weeks before the intended date of the final, oral examination.

Although it is theoretically possible to defend a thesis in the last week before the Graduate School requires the final submission of the thesis (i.e. a week before the end of classes), this is strongly discouraged. Students who wait until this last possible moment should not assume that the thesis will be read, defended, and corrected by the due date required by the Graduate School.

No less than two weeks before the graduation ceremony, the Graduate School must receive the Approval Form for Master’s Thesis, Defense, and Final Examination.

Note: This is a two-year program and students should never presume a summer defense or graduation. A summer defense of the MA thesis can only be arranged with individual faculty members, who are under no obligation to serve on summer committees.

Note: Successful defense of the M.A. thesis is only one of the requirements essential for the awarding of an M.A. in art history from UGA. Before the defense of the thesis, the student must have completed all course, language, and residency requirements as stated in the Graduate Bulletin.

4. Submission to the Graduate School / Final Approval

An Application for Graduation must be filed online with the Graduate School no later than Friday of the first full week of classes of your final semester (see Graduate School website for deadlines).

To ensure a smooth graduation, several things must take place in a timely fashion:

1.  No later than four weeks prior to graduation (see Graduate School website for deadlines here), a complete formatted copy of the dissertation must be electronically submitted to the Graduate School for a format check.

2. Approximately two weeks prior to the graduation ceremony (see Graduate School website for each semester’s deadlines ), the Graduate School must receive the Approval Form for Master’s Thesis, Defense, and Final Examination and an

electronic submission of the corrected dissertation. This official electronic copy of the dissertation will then be submitted by the Graduate School to the main library for archiving.

Two hard, bound copies of the dissertation must be submitted as follows: one copy to the Graduate Coordinator and one copy to the Major Professor. A copy of the order form (obtained at the Tate Student Center) for the bound copies must be on file in the LDSOA Graduate Office before any final paperwork will be submitted to the Graduate School.

All remaining course requirements (including incompletes) for the degree must be completed and reported to the Graduate School no later than one week prior to graduation. A student must enroll for a minimum of three hours of credit the semester in which graduation requirements are completed.

Note: Students should regularly check the Graduate School Website for deadline and procedural information related to the Masters Thesis.

IV.   Non-Thesis Track: Program of Study

A. General Requirements: Non-Thesis Track

27 hours in graduate art history courses, 15 hours of which must be taken at the 8000 level. (i.e., graduate seminars).

3 hours of ARHI 8040, the graduate-level seminar on Historiography and Methodology, to be offered every other year, i.e., only once during the student’s time in residence.

3 hours of art history or an approved elective outside the art history area that is central to the student's program of study.

3 hours in required ARHI 8050 Professional Portfolio and Practices

36 hours of classroom work

V.    Non-Thesis Track: Specific Requirements

In lieu of a thesis, students pursuing the non-thesis track must take and pass ARHI 8050 Professional Portfolio and Practices. This course will prepare the student for various employment opportunities by requiring the creation, presentation, and revision of a professional portfolio. This course will serve as the culmination of the student’s graduate studies, and is meant to facilitate the student’s transition from an academic environment to the professional world.

This course will be graded on a Pass/Fail basis and may be repeated should the student fail on the first attempt. Should the student fail the course twice, he or she will not be allowed to obtain the M.A. in Art History. The class will be taught as needed in the spring semester so as to ensure that students pursuing the non-thesis track are able to graduate within a two-year timeframe.


VI.  Additional Important Information

Students in the Art History M.A. program at the University of Georgia have requirements and responsibilities that originate from the University, from the Graduate School, from the Lamar Dodd School of Art, and from the Art History Area. Please note that changes are occasionally made to the degree requirements and scheduling, which may significantly impact your program of study. Any such changes will automatically become part of your required program of study.

It is the student's responsibility to study the Graduate Bulletin, the School of Art brochure, and the School’s website ( and to meet all requirements for his/her degree, including the Art School requirements listed below, and to observe all appropriate deadlines as his/her graduate program progresses.

Deadline dates and other pertinent information are posted regularly on the Graduate School website ( Please review frequently. Also, each graduate student is assigned a mailbox where all mail and notices will be placed for your convenience. Check your mailbox often for important announcements. Each student is required to have a UGA MYID email address. The Graduate Coordinator and the area chair for Art History should be provided with this address immediately. Students are expected to check it daily for pertinent information from the Graduate Program, the School, and the Area.

All graduate students are required to be active members and participants in the Association of Graduate Art Students (AGAS). All graduate students are required to attend all AGAS lectures and are strongly encouraged to attend all other relevant lectures offered by the Lamar Dodd School of Art. The officers of AGAS should be prepared to represent the graduate students when called upon to do so by the School.

Keep the Graduate Coordinator’s Office updated on changes of address, phone number, and email each semester.