MA in History of Art & Architecture

Course Requirements

Eight courses are required. Five of these eight courses must be distributed among the following 10 areas of concentration, including at least one Western and one non-Western course, and including at least one colloquium and one graduate seminar: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Eighteenth-Century, American, Modern, Asian, African, Islamic, and other non-Western. Of the three other courses, two may be in areas other than art history with the permission of the director of graduate studies.

Specialized track options are available for students who wish to focus on Asian art and architecture or the history of architecture.

Graduate students in History of Art & Architecture are eligible to enter the department’s Certificate Program in Museum Studies. In order to qualify for the certificate, students must complete four courses. Three of the following are required: CAS AH 501 or CAS AH 502, CAS AH 520, and CAS AH 521. The fourth course is an elective to be chosen with the specific approval of the director of museum studies. Possibilities include CAS AH 501, CAS AH 502, CAS AH 524, CAS AH 576, GRS AH 803/AH 804 (when the rotating topic is a conservation seminar), or a number of other classes, including courses from other departments and the Metropolitan College’s graduate program in arts administration. These courses may be taken either as a part of, or in addition to, the courses required for the MA degree.

Language Requirements

Reading knowledge of one modern foreign language is required for the master’s program in history of art & architecture. Language proficiency can be demonstrated either through the language examination offered by this department, or by the successful completion of the reading courses sponsored by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. The department- or GRS-sponsored examination must be taken before the end of the second semester of residence and passed before taking the Comprehensive Examination. The language will be determined by the faculty advisor and approved by the director of graduate studies. French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, or Japanese are the recommended languages. All students specializing in Asian art must acquire proficiency in modern Chinese or modern Japanese. Language proficiency in Asian languages can be demonstrated either through the language examination offered by this department or successful completion of third-year modern Chinese or modern Japanese in the Modern Languages & Comparative Literature Department. In the case where the student is specializing in a field of Asian art that is not Chinese or Japanese, the director of graduate studies will determine the language requirement in consultation with the student’s advisor.

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination may not be taken until the student has satisfied all Incompletes. (Exception to this rule can be made only with prior approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.) The exam consists of five 1-hour essays in at least four of the following nine fields:

  1. Ancient
  2. Medieval
  3. Renaissance
  4. Baroque & 18th-Century
  5. American
  6. Modern
  7. Asian
  8. African
  9. Islamic

Master’s Paper

The candidate must submit a scholarly paper, usually one written for a history of art and architecture course that has been revised according to professional standards of presentation.


All courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted.

  • CAS AH 501, 502 Practicum in Museum Studies
  • CAS AH 504  Topics in Religion and the Visual Arts
  • CAS AH 520 The Museum and Historical Agency
  • CAS AH 521 Curatorship: Exhibition Development
  • CAS AH 524 The Object and the Museum: Acquisitions, Collections Care, and Educational Policies at the Museum of Fine Arts
  • CAS AH 527 Topics in Art & Society
  • CAS AH 528 Studies in Mesoamerican Art and Architecture
  • CAS AH 529 Seminar: 20th Century Chinese Art
  • CAS AH 530 Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy: History, Theory, and Practice
  • CAS AH 531 Modern Asian Art in a Global Context
  • CAS AH 532 Japanese Print Culture
  • CAS AH 533 Seminar: Greek Art and Architecture
  • CAS AH 534 Seminar: Roman Art
  • CAS AH 540 Europe and the Islamic World: Medieval and Early-Modern Cultural Exchange
  • CAS AH 547 Gothic Art
  • CAS AH/AR 555 Ancient American Writing Systems
  • CAS AH 557 High Renaissance and Mannerist Art in Italy
  • CAS AH 563 Alliance of Art and Power in the Baroque
  • CAS AH 570 Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century American Architecture
  • CAS AH 571 African American Art
  • CAS AH 572 Gilded Age America: Visual Culture from 1865–1900
  • CAS AH/AR 576 Collections: Ancient and Historical in Modern Context
  • CAS AH 580 Architectural Technology and Materials
  • CAS AH 582 Historic Houses
  • CAS AH 583 English Country Houses and America’s Cottages
  • CAS AH 584 Greater Boston: Architecture and Planning
  • CAS AH 585 Seminar: 20th Century Architecture & Urbanism
  • CAS AH 586 Early Modern America: Visual Culture, 1900–1930
  • CAS AH 592 Twentieth-Century Painting and Sculpture
  • CAS AH 593 Atonality and Abstraction
  • CAS AH 595/EN 594 English Country House
  • CAS AH 596    Seminar: Contemporary Art
  • CAS AH 597 The Baroque
  • CAS AH/EN 598 Sister Arts
  • GRS AH 699 Teaching College Art History I
  • GRS AH 716 African Diaspora Arts in the Americas
  • GRS AH 725 Colloquium in the Arts of Asia
  • GRS AH 726 Colloquium in Japanese Art
  • GRS AH 727 Colloquium in Chinese Art
  • GRS AH 731 Colloquium in Archaic Greek Art
  • GRS AH 733 Colloquium in Greek Art and Architecture
  • GRS AH 734 Colloquium in Roman Art and Architecture
  • GRS AH 742 Colloquium in Medieval Art and Religion
  • GRS AH 745 Colloquium in Early Medieval and Romanesque Art
  • GRS AH 747 Colloquium in Gothic Art
  • GRS AH 750 Colloquium in Early Renaissance
  • GRS AH 751 Colloquium in High Renaissance Art
  • GRS AH 753 Colloquium in Renaissance Architecture and Theory
  • GRS AH 757 Colloquium in Renaissance Art
  • GRS AH 758 Colloquium in Michelangelo
  • GRS AH 759 Colloquium in Northern Renaissance Painting
  • GRS AH 761 Colloquium in Southern Baroque Art
  • GRS AH 762 Colloquium in Venice and its Arts
  • GRS AH 765 Colloquium in Baroque Art in Northern Europe
  • GRS AH 766 Colloquium in Eighteenth-Century Art
  • GRS AH 767 Material Culture
  • GRS AH 777 Colloquium in American Furniture and Allied Arts, 1630–1830
  • GRS AH 779 Colloquium in American Art and Culture in the Nineteenth Century
  • GRS AH 782 Colloquium in Nineteenth-Century Architecture in Europe and America
  • GRS AH 783 Colloquium in American Architecture
  • GRS AH 784 Colloquium in American Art
  • GRS AH 785 Colloquium in American Painting Until 1900
  • GRS AH 786 Colloquium in Twentieth-Century American Painting
  • GRS AH 790 Colloquium in Nineteenth-Century Painting and Sculpture
  • GRS AH 791 Colloquium in Twentieth-Century Painting and Sculpture
  • GRS AH 792 Colloquium in Contemporary Painting and Sculpture
  • GRS AH 795 Colloquium in the History and Criticism of Photography
  • GRS AH 798 Colloquium in Twentieth-Century Architecture


  • GRS AH 802 Seminar: The Theory and Method of Art—Historical Writing
  • GRS AH 812 Seminar: Portraiture
  • GRS AH 820 Seminar: Asian Art
  • GRS AH 822 Seminar: African Art
  • GRS AH 830 Seminar: Ancient Art
  • GRS AH 833 Seminar: Greek Art and Architecture
  • GRS AH 834 Seminar: Roman Art and Architecture
  • GRS AH 837 Seminar: Greek and Roman Art
  • GRS AH 844 Seminar: Medieval Art and Architecture
  • GRS AH 846 Seminar: Romanesque and Gothic Art
  • GRS AH 851 Seminar: Fifteenth-Century Italian Painting and Sculpture
  • GRS AH 853 Seminar: Renaissance Art and Architecture
  • GRS AH 854 Seminar: Sixteenth-Century Italian Painting
  • GRS AH 863 Seminar: Baroque Art and Architecture
  • GRS AH 864 Seminar: Southern Baroque Art and Architecture
  • GRS AH 867 Material Culture
  • GRS AH 884 Seminar: Nineteenth-Century Architecture
  • GRS AH 886 Seminar: American Painting
  • GRS AH 887 Seminar: American Art
  • GRS AH 888 Seminar: Twentieth-Century American Painting
  • GRS AH 889 Seminar: Nineteenth-Century Art
  • GRS AH 891 Seminar: Photography
  • GRS AH 892 Approaches to Architectural History
  • GRS AH 893 Seminar: Twentieth-Century Architecture
  • GRS AH 895 Seminar: Twentieth-Century Art
  • GRS AH 901, 902 Directed Studies

Additional Courses

See courses listed in the American & New England Studies ProgramDepartment of Archaeology, and Department of Classical Studies sections.