Graduate Study in the History of Art & Architecture

To our Admitted Graduate Students: Please know that our priority during this challenging time is the well-being of our students and ensuring their ability to fulfill their academic program requirements. This applies to our current students as well as you, our incoming graduate students. Due to the growing impact of COVID-19, all prospective and accepted student days, interview days, and individual student visits have been moved to a virtual format. 
We are also aware of the increasing concern around delayed visa appointments for our international students and delayed air travel for both our domestic and international students. Please be assured that we are currently working on alternative enrollment options for admitted students who are unable to make it to campus by the start of classes in September. You will be contacted via email with updates as they become available. Please be in touch if you have any questions or concerns.  


The Department of History of Art & Architecture offers programs of study leading to the Master of Arts (MA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in history of art and architecture.  In addition, we offer a Certificate in Museum Studies, which is usually completed in conjunction with the MA. These programs are designed to prepare students for careers in teaching, museum curatorship, administration, and related fields. The history of art and architecture faculty offers graduate courses in most areas of Western art as well as in Asian, African, Islamic, and pre-Columbian art. Courses are also offered by adjunct and/or visiting faculty members. Some departmental courses are conducted at the Boston University Art Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts, and other area museums. Internships for academic credit (practica) may also be arranged. Cross-registration agreements exist with Boston College, Brandeis University, and Tufts University. All courses taken outside Boston University must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and must be taken for a letter grade.

Graduate study in the Department of History of Art & Architecture at Boston University thus exposes the student not only to the faculty and facilities of the University itself, but also to the curators, artistic treasures and faculty of the many universities, colleges, museums, and historical agencies in Boston and New England. Graduate students may enroll in four types of courses: colloquia, seminars, practica, and directed study. Each graduate colloquium, though a course in its own right, is related to an undergraduate lecture in the related undergraduate courses. Graduate colloquia function as workshops and discussion groups. Students are introduced to the bibliographical and methodological tools of the subject so that they may deal with it on a professional level. Graduate seminars investigate specific topics or problems in depth and from various stand points of view. The practicum is an internship designed to enhance the student’s overall development and to provide direct experience with art historical work in a professional setting. Directed studies may be undertaken as reading courses in areas in which no colloquia or seminars are being offered, or to work on research projects usually (but not necessarily) related to the PhD dissertation.

Applicants for the MA degree choose from one of three tracks: a general track, a track with specialized focus on the history of architecture, and a track with specialized focus on the history of Asian art and architecture. Applicants for the PhD degree choose one of two tracks: a general track (which includes students specializing in Asian and other non-Western art and architecture) and a track with specialized focus on the history of architecture

Graduate Student Handbook

MA Papers



Boston University’s Department of History of Art & Architecture has close ties with the American and New England Studies Program and the Historic Preservation Program, both within the University. The Department has developed internships with area museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Photographic Resource Center, the Gardner Museum, the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Historic New England, the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, and the Institute of Contemporary Art.

Student Organizations

The Graduate Student History of Art & Architecture Association is an organization for graduate history of art & architecture concentrators as well as interested students from other departments. Activities include discussions, guest lectures, and outings.