The MA thesis represents the final step in the fulfillment of your degree at Hunter. It should embody originality of thinking underscored by solid research based on primary and secondary sources. The thesis should demonstrate your ability to gather, evaluate, and present material in a critical and professional manner. It is intended to prepare you for further study on the doctoral level or as an end in itself to equip you with the skills necessary for a professional career in Art History.

Completed theses are approximately 50-75 pages in length and should exhibit a full scholarly textual apparatus: footnotes, bibliography, illustrations, and other relevant documentation.

For a comprehensive guide to the MA Thesis, please see MA Thesis Guidelines


The MA thesis is designed to be written over the course of two consecutive semesters and is formally divided into two classes: Thesis Research (ARTH 79900) and Thesis Writing (ARTH 80000). 

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

Over the course of Thesis Writing, each student works individually with their primary advisor towards the completion of a polished, submission-ready thesis, which involves the deployment of primary and secondary research, the analysis of objects of visual and material culture, the crafting 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.


Each MA student is required to choose an advisor from the full-time Art History faculty to supervise their thesis project. The faculty member should be someone who is a specialist in your chosen area and, ideally, someone who you have already taken a class with during the course of your studies at Hunter. Students are advised to approach their intended advisor no later than the semester before enrolling in Thesis Research (ARTH 79900). While the faculty advisor can be of some assistance in refining an appropriate topic, you should already have several ideas in mind before opening the discussion. 

The faculty advisor formally acts as the first reader of your thesis, providing direction and initial criticism of your research. Students are expected to speak regularly with their advisor over the course of two semesters. Before enrolling in Thesis Writing (ARTH 80000) students are advised to select a second reader for their thesis. The second reader is not a mentor but an external assessor of your final work. They should be chosen in consultation with your first reader and approached in a timely manner. Once the thesis has been finalized by the primary advisor, it will be turned over to the second reader for review. The second reader can make helpful suggestions and corrections to produce a better thesis. 

Your thesis cannot be submitted without the signature of your first and second reader.


  • October 30:  Submit completed thesis to the first reader (thesis advisor). 
  • November 20:  Submit the thesis, approved by the first reader, to the second reader
  • December 14:   Submit completed, edited thesis to the graduate advisor
  • December 21:   Upload the thesis to CUNY Academic Works


Funding for travel and thesis research:

The dean of arts and science offers travel grants to support thesis research up to $500 each.

To apply, please visit the following website: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/artsci/graduate-education/funding-opportunities-for-graduate-students


For further information please email Rob Cowan: rcowa@hunter.cuny.edu 

 Examples of recent MA Theses:


  • Croft, Kyle, “Mobilizing Museums Against AIDS: Visual AIDS and Day Without Art, 1988–1989” (2020). CUNY Academic Works.


The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Observes Day Without Art on December 1, 1989. Photo: David Heald. Courtesy of Gabellini Sheppard Associates


  • Shaikewitz, Joseph S., “Mexican Modernism’s Other: The Contemporáneos, Gender, and National Identity, 1920–1940” (2020). CUNY Academic Works.


Abraham Ángel, Retrato de Cristina Crespo (Portrait of Cristina Crespo), 1924. Oil on cardboard, 1.37 x 1.21 m. Museo Nacional de Arte, INBAL, Mexico City.



  • Shevelkina, Maria M., “The Chôra of Dionisy’s Wall-Painting (1500-1502) at the Nativity of the Mother of God sobor, Ferapontovo Monastery” (2020). CUNY Academic Works.


The Nativity of the Mother of God sober, view of northern wall, western corner.


  • Thackara, Tess, “Beyond Movements: Senga Nengudi’s Art Within and Without Feminism, Postminimalism, and the Black Arts Movement” (2020). CUNY Academic Works.


Senga Nengudi, ACQ IV (detail), fan, nylon pantyhose. © Senga Nengudi. Courtesy of  the artist, Lévy Gorvy, Thomas Erben Gallery, and Sprüth Magers.


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