Note: Admission to this program is temporarily suspended.

Program goal

The mission of the graduate program in art history is to equip students with requisite knowledge, skills and theoretical foundation to embark on successful careers in academia and/or museums.

The M.A. curriculum concentrations provide students with a general background in the research methods and teachings of art history in preparation for careers in museums, collections care or arts organizations. It also prepares students for the more rigorous research demands of the Ph.D., which is the required degree for academic and curatorial careers.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Students apply critical and analytical concepts, frameworks and methods.
  2. Students contextualize scholarship in relationship to existing art historical/museological knowledge, discourse and/or debate.
  3. Students write effectively for audiences of scholarly and non-specialist readers.
  4. Students speak effectively to scholarly and non-specialist audiences.
  5. Students demonstrate ability to translate art historical scholarship written in a language or languages relevant to their research.
  6. Students conduct scholarly inquiry that makes a scholarly professional contribution.

Note: Admission to this program is temporarily suspended.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.A.Fall onlyJan 15GRE

Special requirement

  • Writing sample

Students with a bachelor’s degree in art history or in a related field (e.g., history, anthropology, literary studies, religious studies or philosophy) are invited to apply to VCU Department of Art History graduate programs. Applicants who have completed at least 18 undergraduate semester credit hours in art history are preferred.

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants to the Master of Arts in Art History must meet the following requirements:

  1. A statement of purpose, 750-1000 words in length, that briefly recounts applicant’s academic background, describes an avenue of inquiry that the applicant expects to explore, notes applicant’s professional goals beyond graduate study and explains why VCU art history is suited to applicant’s interests
  2. A research/writing sample that has a clearly articulated thesis statement, identifies and interprets primary and/or secondary sources in support of a well-argued thesis, and offers a coherent, cohesive narrative
  3. Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which are from faculty members who can assess the applicant’s preparation and promise for graduate work (Some applicants may choose to solicit the third letter from a museum professional who has supervised the applicant’s professional work in a museum setting.)
  4. Official transcripts from schools where applicant completed course work applied toward the baccalaureate degree
  5. An official report of GRE scores

Applications are reviewed by full-time faculty members who assess an applicant’s overall package of materials, with particular attention to the statement of interest and writing sample.

See for specific information regarding the online application process.

Note: Admission to this program is temporarily suspended.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements students must complete 30 credit hours of course work, variously distributed according to the curriculum concentration.

Curriculum requirements

ARTH   621Historical Preservation and Architectural History3
ARTH   622Studies in Architectural History9
ARTH   690Historiography and Methodology of Art History3
ARTH   694Art History and Pedagogy3
ARTH   695Writing Seminar I3
ARTH   771Writing Seminar II3
Select two of the following art history seminars with a period/region focus:6
Seminar in Early Modern Art
Seminar in 19th-century Art
Seminar in 20th-century Art
Seminar in Pre-Columbian Art and Architecture
Seminar in Latin American Art
Seminar in Asian Art
Total Hours30

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30

Graduate program director
Margaret A. Lindauer, Ph.D.
Associate professor and chair
(804) 828-2784

Program website: