M.A. in Art History

Art History

The department offers a master of arts degree in art history which addresses most areas of Western art. This program consists of two years of intensive study directed towards preparing students for either continued graduate study in art history and/or professional employment. With a very active and dedicated faculty, Notre Dame is especially suited for those students desiring close attention and supervision from scholars in the field.

Master's level research is well supported by the resources of the Hesburgh Library with more than two million titles and journals. The departmental art image library holds more than 200,000 slides and 20,000 digital images. Significant branch libraries include the Architecture Department's library (60,000 titles), the Medieval Institute (60,000 titles), and the Department of Special Collections (27,000 titles). These resources are supplemented by those available in Chicago, which include the Ryerson Library of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago, and the Newberry Renaissance Library.

Also available to graduate students are the unique holdings of the Snite Museum of Art. The Snite Museum, whose permanent collection includes more than twenty thousand objects, is particularly strong in the areas of master drawings, French nineteenth-century oil sketches, the history of photography, and Pre-Columbian art.

Students are encouraged to volunteer at the Snite Museum as a means of gaining practical experience in a variety of museum departments. The Medieval Institute holds a complete microfilm set of the Renaissance and Baroque manuscripts and photographs of the drawings (approximately 8,500) in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. Students from the department have assisted in the continuing online cataloguing of these holdings.

The master of arts degree (M.A.) prepares the student for more advanced graduate work by providing him or her with the opportunity to solidify general and specialized art historical knowledge and to hone research skills. The degree may also serve as a foundation for employment or further study in fields such as museology, visual image management, and art dealing and investment. Students have been accepted at prestigious graduate programs such as Cornell University and the Universities of California, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan (Ann Arbor), and Texas (Austin), and have accepted positions in art museums, historical art museums and societies, and art foundations.

If you are applying to both MA and Ph.D. programs in Art History, be sure to look into the Medieval Institute Ph.D. program at Notre Dame.  This interdisciplinary program allows for a focus on Medieval Art History in the context of Medieval Studies.


Admission to the MA program in art history is based upon GRE scores, evaluation of undergraduate transcripts, a writing sample, and letters of recommendation.

Financial Support

Students accepted into the MA program typically receive financial aid in the form of a full-tuition waiver. A limited number of paid internships at the Snite Museum of Art are available for second-year students. Students in good standing normally receive financial support for two years.


- Active visiting artist and scholars program
- The Snite Museum of Art located on campus
- 90 minutes east of Chicago

To Apply

Application must be done online.
(The Art History program is currently not accepting applications for Fall 2018.)

Further Information

Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Art, Art History and Design
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5673

Phone: 574.631.7602

Email: art.1@nd.edu

Application Deadline: February 1

Checklist for graduate art history applicants

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