The MA Program 

On a campus that is itself an expression of 20th and 21st-century art, the Art History MA program, Modern and Contemporary Art, Criticism, and Theory, provides a unique academic experience, which values the making of art, as well as its interpretation and critique in modern and contemporary culture.

The two-year curriculum explores the critical background of 20th and 21st-century art and visual culture. And through MA colloquia, we introduce students to the world of some of the most prominent critics, artists, and historians working today. Immersed in a rigorous exploration of art history, its methodologies, and challenges, students prepare to engage in contemporary debates as scholars, critics, and museum professionals.

The Purchase Difference: Location and Access

Students in the Art History MA program study art history, theory, and criticism with a focus on modern and contemporary art. There are particularly encouraged to immerse themselves in the rich study, work, and research opportunities found in New York City just 30 miles south, the surrounding region, and right on campus.

Our program features courses centered on object-based inquiry that incorporate the collection and exhibitions of the internationally acclaimed Neuberger Museum of Art located right on campus, as well as works created by faculty and graduate peers in Purchase College’s elite conservatory programs where artmaking is an everyday practice.

The Prerequisite is Curiosity

Whether transitioning into a second career or just starting out, our students come from a wide range of backgrounds. A typical student entering the Art History MA program does have a background in the field, but we encourage students with different backgrounds to apply if they show a demonstrable interest or related experience and are willing to fulfill prerequisites in order to complete the program.

Because we are a small and selective cohort, we also encourage (but do not require) students to arrange an on-campus or remote interview as part of the application process.

Additional Track

For those interested in further specialization, the MA in Modern and Contemporary Art, Criticism  and Theory offers an additional track within the degree: the dual MA/MFA option.