Skip To Main Content
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Select where to search:


M.A. in Art History

Acquire the skills. Lead the art world. Become an expert.
Whether or not you majored in Art History as an undergraduate, discover the value of a professional degree in Art History to advance your career in museums, galleries, education, publishing, academia, criticism, or other arts-related disciplines.

Investigate. Research. Contribute to the Discourse.

The Master of Arts in art history provides you with a broad command of the history of art and the methodological tools particular to art history. It also allows you to develop an area of specialization that will prepare you for future doctoral study or curatorial work. It is in the spirit of this twofold mission, the development of general art historical knowledge coupled with a more focused course of study, that you are asked to satisfy the following departmental requirements.

Is an M.A. in Art History right for you?

The M.A. degree in Art History transforms a passion for the arts and cultural history into a career path. Through the completion of a master’s paper or thesis, foreign language proficiency, and coursework, you will develop skills that prepare you for careers in the field or to pursue a Ph.D.

The department offers lecture/discussion courses and graduate seminars on a broad range of topics, from ancient to contemporary art and architecture in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, Oceania. Courses are also offered in museum studies, historiography, iconology, criticism, connoisseurship, and methods of research.

Art History study abroad program visiting the Pantheon in Rome, Italy.

Level Up

Professional Development

Our department is regularly invited to select graduate students to participate in major graduate student symposia, including the Middle Atlantic Symposium in the History of Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Graduate Symposium on the History of Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Penn State art history graduate students often present papers at scholarly conferences/symposia across the United States and abroad (for which the department provides partial financial support).

Financial Support

George Dewey and Mary J. Krumrine Endowment
This endowment helps support publication projects of art history faculty and graduate students.

Graduate Assistantships
There are about nineteen graduate assistantships filled by graduate students in the Department of Art History each year.

University Fellowships and Awards
Qualified incoming graduate students may also be nominated by the department for University Fellowships, Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards, Graham Fellowships, and other awards. The department also has funds to help support graduate students in their research and travel related to their theses. The department awards dissertation fellowships and travel/research grants totaling over $60,000 to graduate students each academic year.

Summer Opportunities

Summer Abroad program in Todi, Italy

The Department of Art History is a co-sponsor of Penn State’s Summer Abroad program in Todi, Italy, in which graduate students may choose to participate.

Annie Gooding Sykes Internship

This internship is a twelve-week internship offered during the summer. Interns work with museum staff on a variety of curatorial projects, with a particular focus on American works on paper. Students who have completed the ARTH 409 “Museum Studies” course are preferred. One internship with a stipend is offered each summer.

Silver Trout Curatorial Graduate Internship Program

This internship program is a twelve-week internship offered during the summer. Interns work with the museum staff on curatorial projects and initiatives. Graduate students in art history or art education are eligible for the Silver Trout Curatorial Graduate Internship Program. Students who have completed the ARTH 409 “Museum Studies” course are preferred. Two internships with a stipend are offered each summer.

Guides + Resources

Art History graduate seminar on color.

Alumni Spotlight

Penn State Art History alumna Kimberly Henrikson

Alumni Spotlight

Kimberly Henrikson

B.A. in Art History

Kimberly Henrikson is executive director at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking (Norwalk, CT) and president of the Print Club of New York. She is newsletter editor for the International Print Club Societies organization, and held a senior position at Artstor, where she managed training and support services for digital image licensing in higher ed and museum communities around the world.

Collage of art prints in galleries and museums.

News from A&A

Arts and Architecture names college, academic unit marshals

We are proud to announce our student marshals for spring 2021. Crystal Dahm, who will receive dual degrees in Theatre and French/Francophone Studies, is the college marshal.

Crystal Dahm, of Boalsburg, Pa., has been named spring 2021 student marshal for the College of Arts and Architecture. She will receive a B.F.A. in Theatre and B.S. in French


Read More

Scholarship established to promote diversity in art education and honor late alumna

Combined with donations in her memory, more than $60,000 has been endowed to create the Melanie Buffington Memorial Scholarship to support art education.
Read More

Studio for Sustainability & Social Action virtual event takes place April 22-24

The Studio for Sustainability and Social Action in the Penn State School of Visual Arts will hold a virtual symposium and exhibition, April 22-24.
Read More