MA Program



Track in History of Art & Architecture

Applicants for the MA track in history of art and architecture must have a background of coursework equivalent to an undergraduate minor in history of art and architecture at Boston University, i.e., a two-semester survey course and three additional courses in history of art and architecture. In addition, two years of college work or the equivalent in a modern foreign language should be completed. Applicants with deficient backgrounds may be required to take additional courses prior to admission to the MA program. The time limit for the completion of the MA requirements under the regulations of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is three years.

Eight courses are required for the general MA track in history of art and architecture. Five of these eight courses must be distributed among the following ten areas of concentration, including at least one Western and one non-Western course, and at least one colloquium and one seminar: ancient, medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and 18th century, American, modern, Asian, African, Islamic, other non-western. Reading knowledge of one modern foreign language is also required. The final requirement for the MA degree is the preparation of a scholarly paper, usually one written for a departmental course that has been revised according to professional standards of presentation. After the advising faculty member and a second reader have approved it, the final paper is to be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.


The learning outcomes for the MA in History of Art and Architecture:

  • Demonstrate awareness of both western and non-western art and architecture
  • Demonstrate ability to write a scholarly essay
  • Acquire facility with the tools and methods of art historical inquiry
  • Be prepared for a career as a museum curator or other visual arts careers or advanced studies in art history


Track in History of Architecture

Applicants for the MA track in the history of architecture must have a background of coursework equivalent to an undergraduate minor in history of art and architecture at Boston University, i.e., five courses in the history of art and architecture, including a general architectural history survey. Those who have not taken the relevant courses must audit AH205. In addition, two years of college work or the equivalent in a modern foreign language should be completed. Applicants with deficient backgrounds may be required to take additional courses prior to admission to the MA program. The time limit for the completion of the MA requirements under the regulations of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is three years.

Eight courses are required for the MA track in history of architecture. Of these, a theory and methods course, AH 892—Approaches to Architectural History, and a documentary course, AM 553—Documenting Historic Buildings and Landscapes, are required. Students take six further courses, of which two may be in art history, city planning, or other related fields. Reading knowledge of one modern foreign language is also required. The final requirement for the MA degree is the preparation of a scholarly paper, usually one written for a departmental course that has been revised according to professional standards of presentation. After the advising faculty member and a second reader have approved it, the final paper is to be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.


The learning outcomes for the MA in Architectural History:

  • Demonstrate awareness of global architectural history
  • Perfect ability to write a scholarly essay
  • Acquire facility with the tools and methods of architectural historical inquiry
  • Be prepared for a career in architectural history research, cultural resource management, public history, historic preservation, or for advanced studies in architectural history


Track in History of Asian Art & Architecture

Applicants for the MA track in the history of Asian art and architecture must have a background of coursework equivalent to an undergraduate minor in history of art and architecture at Boston University, i.e., five courses in the history of art and architecture, including at least one survey-level course and one upper-level course in Asian art and architecture. In addition, two years of college work or the equivalent in modern Chinese or Japanese should be completed. Applicants with deficient backgrounds may be required to take additional courses prior to admission to the MA program. The time limit for the completion of the MA requirements under the regulations of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences is three years.

Eight courses are required for the MA track in the history of Asian art and architecture. Five of these eight courses must be in Asian art and architecture. They must include the basic colloquia courses: AH 726 – Arts of Japan, and AH 727 – Arts of China. Students who have already taken courses comparable to the Arts of China and the Arts of Japan may substitute other courses with the consent of the Director of Graduate Studies. Students take three other courses in Asian art and architecture, including at least one graduate seminar. The final three of the eight courses are electives. Students may take courses in related fields such as Asian history, literature, and religion. Students specializing in Asian art must acquire proficiency in modern Chinese or modern Japanese. In the case that the student is specializing in a field of Asian art that is not Chinese or Japanese, the DGS will determine the language requirement in consultation with the student’s adviser. The final requirement for the MA degree is the preparation of a scholarly paper, usually one written for a departmental course that has been revised according to professional standards of presentation. After the advising faculty member and a second reader have approved it, the final paper is to be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval.


The learning outcomes for the MA in History of Asian Art and Architecture:

  • Demonstrate broad knowledge of the art and architecture of Asia
  • Demonstrate ability to write a scholarly paper on a focused topic that aims for originality of argument and research
  • Acquire facility with tools and methods of art historical inquiry, focusing especially on those pertinent to the arts of Asia
  • Be prepared for a career as a museum curator or other visual arts careers or advanced studies in history of art and architecture


For further information about admissions to the MA program, please contact:

Professor Jonathan Ribner
Director of Graduate Admissions

725 Commonwealth Ave, Rm 210B
Boston, Massachusetts 02215
Telephone: (617) 353-1465
E-mail: jribner@bu.edu