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 (
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.

Program Resources

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,  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.

Major Requirements 


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (26 credits out of 51 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.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements No other grade requirements.
Assessments and Examinations Doctoral students must submit a dissertation prospectus.

Doctoral students must pass a written and an oral exam prior to becoming dissertators.
Language Requirements Reading competency in at least two languages (additional language requirements may pertain to some fields).
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements All doctoral students are required to complete a minor.

Required Courses

ART HIST 701 Practicum in Art History: Bibliography, Historiography, Methods3
10 art history classes, four of which may be lecture courses, but students are strongly encouraged to take as many seminars as possible. In special circumstances up to two independent studies (ART HIST 799) - one at the MA and one at the Ph.D. level-may be substituted for lecture courses
At least one course in two of the following five following areas:
Africa/Middle East
The Americas
At least one course in two of the following four following periods:
Ancient to Medieval
Early Modern (Circa 1400–Circa 1800)
Modern (Circa 1800–Circa 1945)
Contemporary (Post 1945)
Two foreign languages. If you satisfied language requirements at the M.A. level within the past 5 years these languages count toward your two required languages.

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.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 21 credits of graduate work from other institutions. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to the doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

Allowed up to 7 credits numbered 700 or above, and graduate level courses ART HIST 601 Introduction to Museum Studies IART HIST 602 Introduction to Museum Studies II, and ART HIST/​HISTORY/​JOURN/​L I S  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 600 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


A semester GPA below 3.0 will result in the student being placed on academic probation. If a semester GPA of 3.0 is not attained during the subsequent semester of full time enrollment (or 12 credits of enrollment if enrolled part-time) the student may be dismissed from the program or allowed to continue for one additional semester based on advisor appeal to the Graduate School.


All students are required to conduct a yearly progress report meeting with their thesis committee after passing the Preliminary Examination.


12 credits

Time Constraints

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may be required to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten 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:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.


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. 

  1. Shows professional-level mastery of the skills acquired at earlier stages (visual analysis, contextual interpretation, research methods, evaluation of arguments, application of varied theoretical perspectives).
  2. Articulates research problems, potentials, and limits with respect to theory, knowledge, or practice within the field of art history (including visual culture and material culture).
  3. Formulates ideas, concepts, designs, and/or techniques beyond the current boundaries of knowledge within the field of art history/visual culture/material culture.
  4. Conducts research and produces scholarship that makes a substantive contribution to the field and to interdisciplinary enquiry.
  5. Demonstrates breadth within their learning experiences.
  6. Shows advanced skills in effective and impactful communication in both written and oral form in ways that acknowledge diverse audiences in an increasingly global society.
  7. Fosters ethical and professional conduct.
  8. Prepares to be an educator who uses the latest pedagogies such that one can compellingly and thoroughly teach, motivate, and shape the next generation of global citizens in the arts and sciences with a focus on the visual.
  9. Foster skills in public engagement such that our students are able to effectively communicate complex ideas about art, visual culture and material culture to a lay public in written, oral, and digital form in keeping with the Wisconsin Idea.
  10. Is able to prompt and participate in interdisciplinary dialogue with scholars and the public about the power of images and objects both historically and in the present‚ to persuade, critique, and even coerce.

Faculty: Professors Anna Andrzejewski, Nicholas D. Cahill, Jill H. Casid, Preeti Chopra, Thomas E. A. Dale,  Guillermina De Ferrari, Nancy Rose Marshall, Ann Smart Martin, Jordan Rosenblum (chair); Associate Professors Yuhang Li, Kirstin Phillips-Court (cross-appointed with French and Italian), Jennifer Pruitt; Assistant Professors: Jennifer Nelson, Daniel Spaulding.