MA in Art History

Master of Arts degree in Art History

In addition to providing advanced analytical and communication skills broadly applicable to numerous careers, the art history graduate program prepares students with the necessary research skills and experiences to enter the professional fields of teaching, museum work, art gallery management, art consultancy, arts management, and art writing, or to continue their studies at the doctoral level.

Our faculty train graduate students in the following areas: Ancient Mediterranean Art and Archaeology; Asian Art/20th Century Asian Art and Architecture; Contemporary Art; Latin American Art and Architecture; Medieval Art and Architecture; Museum and Curatorial Studies; Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture; 18th and 19th Century Art and Architecture of Europe and the United States; and 20th Century Art. Additional areas of strength across disciplines include gender and sexuality studies, critical theory, colonial and post-colonial studies, critical race theory, materiality, empirical and archival research, reception theory, global art studies, the history of emotions, and Marxist and post-Marxist methodologies.


Our MA in Art History is centered on the following goals for student learning outcomes:

  1. Students develop a broad general knowledge of the history of art, and extensive knowledge in an area of specialization.
  2. Students become versed in historiography and methods of scholarship.
  3. Students demonstrate reading proficiency in a minimum of one foreign language.
  4. Students develop advanced abilities in undertaking, synthesizing, and effectively disseminating independent research.

Master of Arts in Art History (current catalog)

36 units of approved graduate and upper-division units to include:

  • AH 546 Art History Methodologies and Writing (3)
  • AH 547 Historiography of Art History (3)
  • Approved graduate or upper-division Art or Art History Coursework (6)
  • AH 597 Seminar in Art History (6)
  • Approved graduate-level Art History in area of specialization (9)
  • AH 694: Directed Research in Thesis Topic (3)
  • AH 698 Thesis as culminating experience within degree program (6)

Average Duration: Graduate degree program duration is contingent upon the number of units completed per semester, and time taken to complete the thesis. The MA degree usually is completed in 4 to 8 semesters.

Advancement to Candidacy is contingent upon satisfactory completion of an approved qualifying paper, satisfying foreign language proficiency requirements, as well as meeting any additional requirements of a conditional acceptance. 

At least 26 units, or 70% of the 36 required units must be in 500/600 levels, taken at CSULB. At least 18 units or 50% of the required 36 units must be stand-alone graduate coursework. The student’s thesis committee may also approve graduate-level or upper-division courses in other CSULB departments to be used towards the degree. Transfer units are allowed on a case-by-case basis. A thesis paper (60-90 pages) comprising original research in the student's area of specialty must also be approved by the student's committee and accepted by the CSULB Thesis and Dissertation Office.

Additional information, expectations, recommendations and guidelines are included in the "School of Art Graduate Guidelines" given to each student accepted into the MA in Art History.

*Please note that the School of Art is not currently accepting applications for the Museum Studies Certificate. However, Museum Studies courses continue to be available through, and applicable toward, the MA in Art History.