MA in Art History and Archaeology

Admission Contact Information

Michael Yonan (
365 McReynolds Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-6711

About the Master’s

The MA program in the Department of Art History and Archaeology has two primary goals: to provide graduate students with a strong background in the history of art, from antiquity to the present; and to introduce them to the methods and theories of material and visual analysis, as well as the practices of critical writing and reading. Students who pursue the thesis option have the opportunity to specialize at that stage.

Admission Criteria

Admission to the department on the graduate level is granted yearly to a small number of candidates who hold recognized BA or MA degrees in art history, classical archaeology, classics, or related fields of the humanities and social sciences. In addition to the 3.0 GPA required by the Graduate School, the department requires: a GPA of 3.3 in the major field; minimum GRE score (below) and at least three semesters of a single appropriate foreign language (normally German, French or Italian).

Minimum GRE scores:

When did you take the GRE? Verbal + Quantitative Analytical
Prior to August 1, 2011 1000 4.5
On or After August 1, 2011 300 4.5

Required Application Materials

All application materials must be submitted directly to the Graduate School though its Apply Yourself online application system. Applications will not be considered complete until we receive the following:

  • Official transcripts or mark sheets from each university or college you have attended
  • GRE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation concerning academic qualifications to undertake graduate work
  • A short statement of the applicant’s professional goals and reasons for applying to do graduate work in art history or archaeology
  • A copy of a recent term paper as a sample of the applicant’s scholarship and writing
  • Curriculum vitae

Financial Aid from the Program

Incoming students are considered for funding when they apply to the program. Returning students submit applications for continued funding in the spring semester.

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Graduation Requirements

Course Requirements

The successful completion of the MA requires at least thirty hours of coursework that must include: AR_H_A 8110 Introduction to Graduate Study; AR_H_A 8120 Theories and Methodologies in Art History and Archaeology; four distribution requirements that cover four broad periods of study: Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance, 1500-1850, and 1850-Present; and AR_H_A 8070 Master's Tutorial. If students are invited to pursue the thesis option, they must enroll in AR_H_A 8080 Readings for MA Thesis in Art History and Archaeology and AR_H_A 8090 Master's Thesis Research and Thesis in place of AR_H_A 8070. Courses for an interdisciplinary minor field will be in addition to these minimums.

Language Requirements

All students must demonstrate reading knowledge of one foreign language, usually German or a Romance language. Departmental language exams are offered in the fall semester of each year, although students can request an examination in the spring semester. Language requirements may be satisfied also by achieving a grade of B or better in a course approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. The department expects that the modern language requirement will be met by the end of the third semester for use in advanced coursework as well as thesis research and writing. In addition to the modern language, students in Classical Archaeology also must have reading knowledge of either Greek or Latin. Students who pursue the thesis option must have reading knowledge of two modern languages: German and a Romance language.

Master’s Essay

To complete the degree, students must complete a scholarly essay under the guidance of a faculty advisor. It will most likely be a revision of a research paper from a graduate course taken in the Department of Art History and Archaeology.

Master’s Essay Oral Examination

In consultation with the faculty advisor, students will select two additional members of the department faculty to read the essay. Students will discuss their essays in a meeting chaired by their advisor.

Master’s Thesis Option

Graduate students who intend to pursue doctoral work should complete the thesis option. This decision is made during the student’s second or third semester in residence in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and three faculty members in the student’s area of interest.

Master’s Thesis Committee

The master’s thesis committee consists of at least three people: the student’s thesis advisor, a second member from within the department, and a third member from outside the department. The student should invite the latter two in consultation with his or her thesis advisor.

The committee must approve the thesis topic in the semester before the student plans to defend the thesis; often, this is accomplished during an interview for candidacy.

Master’s Thesis

The master’s thesis enables graduate students to engage in independent and thorough research in a specific area of study. While the thesis need not be an original contribution, neither can it be an uncritical compilation of published facts. A successful thesis will demonstrate the student’s ability to use bibliography in the field; effectively utilize research tools and techniques; synthesize a variety of types of sources; and sustain an argument.

Master’s Thesis Defense

The defense of the master’s thesis is an oral examination, chaired by the student’s advisor, which focuses specifically on the MA thesis. The student should submit a complete draft of the thesis to the advisor at least two months before the intended defense date and a final draft, approved by the advisor, to the entire committee 30 days before the defense. Any changes recommended by the committee during the defense must be made before the finished thesis can be submitted to the Graduate School.

More Information

Further guidelines are included in the department’s graduate programs brochure or on the website.

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