Course distribution: 

To graduate, students need to take 30 credits, or 10 classes (including thesis research and writing): 


One course in Research Methods: 

  • Research Methods is an intensive introduction to core issues in the field of Art History, including the evaluation of primary and secondary sources, archival research, and formal analysis. The course is designed to sharpen analytical writing, argumentation, and presentation skills. It is recommended that students take Research Methods in their first or second semester at Hunter, as the class offers preparation for upper-level seminars and the written thesis. The course is one of the most challenging and rewarding in the program and is taught by faculty on a rotational basis.

One course in Theory and Criticism:

  • Theory and Criticism includes courses that explore aesthetics, historiography, and/or methodologies. Students are introduced to a range of traditional approaches, past and current debates, and on-going critical assessments of art history as a discipline and practice. Along with Research Methods, this class provides students with the necessary skills and overview of the field to undertake original Thesis Research in their final year.

One course in three out of the following four distribution areas: 

  • Ancient and Medieval 
  • Renaissance, Baroque, 18th C. 
  • Modern, (19th, 20th, 21st C.), American or Latin American 
  • Non-Western  

Three Graduate Electives: 

  • Any Graduate Art History course at the 600- or 700- level  

Thesis Research (ARTH 79900)

  • In ARTH 79900 the student will, in collaboration with their thesis advisor, define a topic, structure an argument, and begin researching and writing the thesis. In order to receive course credit, the student must submit, by the end of the semester, an outline (including abstract and chapter summaries) and a draft of one chapter.

Thesis Writing (ARTH 80000)

  • In ARTH 80000 students will complete the writing of the MA thesis and submit it to the first and second readers. Over the course of this class, each student works individually with his/her primary advisor towards the completion of polished, submission-ready thesis chapters, which involves the deployment of primary and secondary research, the analysis of objects of visual and material culture, the crafting and polishing of convincing argumentation, and the editing of language at the sentence, paragraph, and thesis-level. The student will only receive credit for ARTH 80000 upon successful completion and submission of the thesis.

With the permission of the Graduate Advisor, students may take up to 6 credits in studio art or in other disciplines related to their academic interests. 

Students have a maximum of four years to complete the degree. Under special circumstances the student may be granted a leave of absence or an extension to complete the work.   

Additional Requirements for Graduation 

Transfer Credits and Credits Taken on Permit

Up to 9 credits in Art History or a related area (minimum grade B) may be transferred from another accredited school, subject to the Graduate Advisor’s written approval. These credits, however, must not have been previously used to obtain another degree.  Students already in the MA program may complete up to 9 credits of coursework at another institution, for example the CUNY Graduate Center, as long as they receive the written approval of the Graduate Advisor prior to taking the courses.

Mid-Program Evaluation

When a student completes 15 credits (five classes), their progress is reviewed by the department. The mid-program review is intended to encourage students to complete the requirements for their degree in a timely fashion, so that they will enter the second half of the program with the necessary academic skills, and to determine whether they are sufficiently prepared to complete the remaining courses and write the MA thesis. By this point the student must complete the language and comprehensive exam and have maintained a B average.

Graduate Advising 

At this time, the primary graduate advisor is Professor Antonella Pelizzari. She holds regular weekly office hours and appointments can be made by emailing. Students should feel free to ask the advisor any questions, but queries, especially about procedure, can often be answered by Laura Frantz ( 

Dates for exams, thesis deadlines, and advising workshops, are listed on the departmental calendar.