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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.

Program Application Deadline
The deadline for applications for AY 2024–25 is January 15, 2024.

To be assured full consideration, please apply by this deadline. Review individual program descriptions for details on program and admission requirements.

Earn an M.A. in Art History at Penn State

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

Graduate Handbook

How to Apply to the Department of Art History

Art History Funding Statement

Questions? Contact Director of Graduate Studies

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.

M.A. Students

Students currently enrolled in the M.A. in Art History program.

Current Cohort

MA Student Cohort

Triana Cancel

Degree: MA in Art History
Research Focus:
Academic Adviser: Nancy Locke 

Alexander Coberly

Degree: MA in Art History
Research Focus: Early modern European and Asian visual culture 
Academic Adviser: James Harper  |CV

Alexander is a master’s student interested in artistic encounters between Europe and Asia during the early modern period. While studying at Utah Valley University for his bachelor’s degree, Alexander was involved in several art related projects. Most notable was his participation in Artemisia: An Undergraduate Journal for Art History Research and Criticism and the co-curation of Frank McEntire’s “Spontaneous Memorials” exhibition. Alexander has written and presented on a variety of subjects including Caravaggio, Vaporwave aesthetics, Chaco Canyon, stereography, and Pre-Columbian art. 

Caroline Koch

Caroline Koch

Degree: MA in Art History
Research Focus: Early Modern European art, Ancient Greek art | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn

Caroline is a MA student who specializes in Ancient Greek and Early Modern European art, namely the periods from the Bronze Age to the Hellenistic Period and Impressionism. She has extensive experience in museums, and aims to promote ethical acquisition and education practices across the industry. She studied in Greece in 2019, where she closely analyzed the issues of looting and forgeries. In her studies, she aims to connect the social and political issues of artists’ lives to their work, and highlight the use of art as a medium of communication to the general public, in addition to exclusive audiences. Additionally, she seeks to further her research into Minoan religious art, the role of nature in ceremonies, and how social and class divisions manifested in these practices.

Maialen Martinez

Maialen Martinez

Degree: MA in Art History
Research Focus: Premodern/Modern European Art | CV | Instagram | LinkedIn

Maialen Martinez is a first year Art History MA student from San Sebastian, Spain. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with honors from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2021 with a degree in History and Art History. During her senior year, she completed a thesis Medieval Amulets: Seeking Protection with Wearable Art for which she gained honorary distinctions. Her research focused on jewels and badges dated to the Middle Ages that were worn for protection. Martinez is also interested in European painting and sculpture from premodern times to contemporary art. She is especially interested how artists reflect on history and their predecessors to communicate with the audiences.

During undergraduate level Martinez played a key role in the William Smith soccer defense, reaching the National Championship. She is a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-District, and CoSIDA Academic All-American her senior year. She was also tabbed Scholar Player of the Year 2019 and numerous other soccer related distinctions. Martinez is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa society.

Annalise Palmer

Annalise Palmer

Degree: MA in Art History
Research Focus: Modern and Contemporary art, specifically with movement and performance-based work
Academic Adviser: Sarah Rich | CV | LinkedIn

Annalise is a first year MA student whose background in dance heavily influences her research. She hopes to expand upon her work as undergraduate student and explore the prevalence of choreographic artworks over the past century. In 2020, Annalise graduated from Centre College with a BA in Art History. During that time, she worked as a Research Assistant within Centre’s Art History Department and as an Intern for Manifest Gallery and the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in Cincinnati, Ohio. After graduation, Annalise returned to the CAC as a Cataloging Intern and collaborated with the Robert O’Neal Multicultural Arts Center to catalog the work of local artist and activist, Robert O’Neal. Following this project, she worked as a Teaching and Gallery Assistant with Centre College. Currently, Annalise works as a Teaching Assistant for Penn State.

Ariana Ramirez

Degree: MA in Art History
Research Focus: Pre-Contact West Mexico, Shaft Tomb Funerary Practices 
Academic Adviser: Amara Solari
azr6077@psu.eduInstagram | LinkedIn

Ariana is an MA student who has been researching the complex funerary traditions of pre-contact western Mexico, specifically of the ceramic human effigies. She was awarded an honorary distinction for her undergraduate senior thesis West Mexican Ceramics in post-Revolutionary Mexico: Frida Kahlo’s Recontextualizing of the Shaft Tomb Culture. This research weaved together academic discussions of pre-contact and modern Mexico to understand the influences reflected in Kahlo’s use of pre-contact effigies. Ariana’s interests lie in further researching various elements of the Mexican Shaft Tomb Culture to expand the discussion of pre-contact Mexico.  

Grace Tran

Degree: MA in Art History
Academic Adviser: Chang Tan

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.

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