The Department of Art History offers programs leading to the master of arts and the doctor of philosophy in art history. Our faculty includes specialists in, to name a few: African and African Diaspora art; American art and architecture; American material culture; contemporary art and theory; Chinese art; curatorial studies; early modern European art; Islamic art and architecture; Japanese art; Medieval European and Byzantine art; print culture; photography, film, and video; vernacular architecture; Victorian art and material culture; and visual studies and critical theory. The department encourages the study of the global history of art, and material and visual culture while investigating works in all media from a wide range of periods and a variety of world cultures.
Students enjoy close interaction with their mentors and profit from superb resources for interdisciplinary research. Faculty members have international reputations in their specialties, regularly receive prestigious awards, lecture widely, and serve on major professional boards. Graduates of the department teach at the post-secondary level or pursue careers in museum and curatorial professions, private galleries and auction houses, library or archival work, architecture and historical preservation, and conservation.
The department is housed in the Conrad A. Elvehjem Building with the Chazen Museum of Art, which has a broad historical collection with several areas of particular strength, an active acquisitions program, and facilities to host major traveling exhibitions and exhibition courses. Graduate students use these collections for research and publishing projects. They may also have the opportunity to work on exhibitions in special classes or as project assistants. The building is also home to the Kohler Art Library, which contains an excellent collection of published materials and full range of periodicals. The department possesses a large image collection.
Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.
Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.
|Fall Deadline||December 15|
|Spring Deadline||The program does not admit in the spring.|
|Summer Deadline||The program does not admit in the summer.|
|GRE (Graduate Record Examinations)||Not required.|
|English Proficiency Test||Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).|
|Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT)||n/a|
|Letters of Recommendation Required||3|
While students may pursue a stand-alone M.A., those who wish to pursue a Ph.D. should apply directly to that program. Admission to either program is offered to applicants who have an outstanding undergraduate record of academic achievement. The successful applicant typically presents both a compelling statement of purpose for graduate studies and an advanced research paper. To be competitive in some subfields, applicants should have training in at least one foreign language. Applicants are encouraged to contact prospective faculty advisors for more details. Non-native English speakers must present TOEFL or IELTS scores.
Graduate School Resources
Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.
Financial aid is normally reserved for students in the Ph.D. program. The department awards a small number of fellowships for an academic year or a semester’s support at different stages in the graduate career. The department awards the Margaret Davison Shorger Fellowship for the study of Italian art, the Charles C. Killin Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in East Asian Art, and the Chipstone/James Watrous Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in American Material Culture. Research travel is also supported by the Shirley L and Dr. William Fritz Mueller Art History Graduate Student Fund and the Ray Reider Golden Art History Fund, and the Joan Mirviss Fund for Japanese art. The department awards travel grants for students delivering papers at major conferences and annually appoints five to six graduate students as teaching or project assistants. Individual faculty may also offer one- or two-semester project assistantships in connection with specific research projects. In addition, the department nominates candidates for fellowships administered outside the department and the university.
Minimum Graduate School Requirements
Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.
MODE OF INSTRUCTION
|Face to Face||Evening/Weekend||Online||Hybrid||Accelerated|
Mode of Instruction Definitions
Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students are able to complete a program with minimal disruptions to careers and other commitments.
Evening/Weekend: Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules. Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.
Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.
Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats. Contact the program for more specific information.
Online: These programs are offered 100% online. Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.
|Minimum Credit Requirement||30 credits|
|Minimum Residence Credit Requirement||24 credits|
|Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement||Half of degree coursework (15 credits out of 30 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (https://registrar.wisc.edu/course-guide/).|
|Overall Graduate GPA Requirement||3.00 GPA required.|
|Other Grade Requirements||No other grade requirements. |
|Assessments and Examinations||No formal examination required. There is an M.A. thesis.|
|Language Requirements||Reading competency in one language.|
|ART HIST 701||Practicum in Art History: Bibliography, Historiography, Methods||3|
|M.A. students with a strong background in art history or the equivalent should take a minimum of seven art history courses, at least THREE of which must be seminars|
|At least one course in three of the five following areas:|
|At least one course in three of the four following periods:|
Ancient to Medieval
Early Modern (Circa 1400–Circa 1800)
Modern (Circa 1800–Circa 1945)
|Contemporary (Post 1945)|
|One foreign language.|
Graduate School Policies
The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.
Graduate Work from Other Institutions
With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to the master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
Allowed up to 7 credits numbered 700 or above, and graduate level courses ART HIST 601 Introduction to Museum Studies I , ART HIST 602 Introduction to Museum Studies II, and L I S/ART HIST/HISTORY/JOURN 650 History of Books and Print Culture in Europe and North America .
UW–Madison University Special
With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 15 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.
The status of a student can be one of three options:
- Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
- Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
- Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).
ADVISOR / COMMITTEE
All students are required to conduct a yearly progress report meeting with their advisor, scheduled by December 17 and completed by April 30. Failure to do so will result in a hold being placed on the student's registration.
CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED
The thesis, written in consultation with the major professor, must be completed no later than two semesters after thesis work begins.
Master's degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.
Grievances and Appeals
These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:
- Bias or Hate Reporting
- Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures
- Hostile and Intimidating Behavior Policies and Procedures
- Dean of Students Office (for all students to seek grievance assistance and support)
- Employee Assistance (for personal counseling and workplace consultation around communication and conflict involving graduate assistants and other employees, post-doctoral students, faculty and staff)
- Employee Disability Resource Office (for qualified employees or applicants with disabilities to have equal employment opportunities)
- Graduate School (for informal advice at any level of review and for official appeals of program/departmental or school/college grievance decisions)
- Office of Compliance (for class harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence)
- Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (for conflicts involving students)
- Ombuds Office for Faculty and Staff (for employed graduate students and post-docs, as well as faculty and staff)
- Title IX (for concerns about discrimination)
Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances.
Priority for assistantship funding is given to Ph.D. students.
Graduate School Resources
Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career.
- Mastery of techniques for visual analysis (examining features such as materials, proportion, light, color, form and narrative structure) of single images and for comparative analysis of multiple images and objects.
- Advanced proficiency in interpreting images/objects in ways that take into account the historical contexts in which they were produced and received.
- In-depth knowledge across a range of time and geography to reach an understanding of the ways in which art and its meaning are rooted in culture.
- Advanced ability to locate and enlist research resources in both print and digital form and assess the strengths and weaknesses of various types of resources.
- Advanced knowledge and skills necessary to interpret images/objects in ways that consider a variety of theoretical perspectives.
- Ability to assess and critique complex scholarly arguments and evaluate the strength of the visual and textual evidence presented.
- Advanced skills in effective and impactful communication in both written and oral form in ways that acknowledge diverse audiences in an increasingly global society.
- Skills in public engagement such that our students are able to effectively communicate complex ideas to a lay public in written, oral, and digital form in keeping with the Wisconsin Idea.
Faculty: Professors Anna Andrzejewski, Nicholas D. Cahill, Jill H. Casid, Preeti Chopra, Thomas E. A. Dale, Nancy Rose Marshall, Ann Smart Martin, Quitman E. (Gene) Phillips, Jordan Rosenblum (chair); Associate Professors Yuhang Li, Kirstin Phillips-Court (cross-appointed with French and Italian); Assistant Professors: Jennifer Nelson, Jennifer Pruitt.