Requirements for the graduate major in art history include eight courses (32 credits), proficiency in one foreign language, and an 8-credit thesis. A minimum 3.0 (B) cumulative GPA must be earned at Purchase College.

Required Courses:

  • ARH 5101/Proseminar: Method and Theory in Art History
  • ARH 5325/Master’s Colloquium I
  • ARH 5326/Master’s Colloquium II
  • ARH 5—/One course dealing with art before 1950
  • Four elective courses in art history
  • ARH 5990/Master’s Thesis I: 4 credits
  • ARH 5991/Master’s Thesis II: 4 credits

  Museum + Curatorial Studies (M+) Option

The Museum + Curatorial (M+) track engages students in object-based research and the study of critical histories of museums and museum practices with an underlying commitment to cultivating more inclusive and accessible institutions and notions of exhibition-making. Building on the required courses for the MA degree in art history, required courses for M+ students include, in the first year, Museology (fall semester) and Critical Curatorial Studies (spring semester). In the second year, students’ coursework will be augmented by workshops, on- and off-campus internships, and the development of an exhibition series based in the Neuberger Museum.

MA Academic Requirements

A total of 40 credits are required for the MA degree: 32 course credits (eight courses), and the eight-credit Master’s Thesis. Any deficiencies and language courses must be completed in addition to these credits, and a language exam must be passed prior to graduation.

Sample Two-Year Schedule

First Year: 24 Credits

Second Year: 20 Credits

Sample Three-Year Schedule

First Year: 8-24 credits (Note: at least one course per semester is required during the first two years)

Second Year: 8-20 credits (Note: at least one course per semester is required during the first two years)

MA/MFA Academic Requirements

In most cases, obtaining both an MA in Art History (through the School of Humanities) and an MFA in visual arts (through the School of Art & Design) at Purchase College requires three years of in-residence study with a total course load of 98 credits. For successful progress through the program, a 3.0 (B) GPA must be maintained.

First Year: 32 credits

Second Year: 34 credits

Third Year: 32 credits


Students must take VIS 5760/Graduate Critical Topics two times.

Effective: 2020-21 

Students in the MA/MFA program now take VIS 5760/Critical Topics two times along with two electives rather than Critical Topics I - IV.