April 26, 2022

MA in Curatorial and Critical Studies

Goethe University Frankfurt, Städelschule

Courtesy of MUSEUM MMK für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, 2020. Photo: Sonja Palade.


The focus of this Master of Arts Program is the scholarly examination of the complex tasks of curating and art criticism, with an emphasis on their theoretical and practical application. It is the aim of this program to combine an object-related approach with theoretical expertise.

In a globalized art world, and in response to developments within contemporary art, the presentation of art and art historical objects has become a complex challenge, which necessitates the consideration of art historical as well as cultural, social, political and philosophical aspects. Museums and other art institutions have to face the task of rephrasing the notion of the public realm. The repercussions apply not only to institutions directly involved with contemporary art. In fact, the shift is as fundamental as to be of concern to the operations of traditional art historical, ethnological and historical collections.

Program description
The Master’s study program provides prospective curators, exhibition organizers and art critics with a theoretical and practical basis for their future occupation. Already during their master’s program, students have the opportunity to combine academic expertise with curatorial skills and practical knowledge. The Frankfurt program of study features a cooperation of committed university departments, outstanding museums and an internationally renowned academy of fine arts.

Program structure
During the first year, students are in constant contact with the cooperating museums. University seminars provide an opportunity for the participants to extend their expertise. Furthermore, criteria and categories of art criticism as well as academic principles of art theory and aesthetics will be discussed. A course module on the history of the museum and exhibitions complements the program. A two-month-long internship, preferably resulting in the collaboration on an exhibition project, offers insight into the curatorial departments of a museum or exhibition institution. Fundamental to the second year is the development of the master’s thesis, and in-depth work on object-related approaches combined with theoretical inquiry.

Curatorial students’ project
During the second and the third semester, each class creates a curatorial project in cooperation with university lecturers and the museums in Frankfurt. It is the students’ task to develop and realize a project within a given frame.

The master’s thesis consists of the theoretical and methodical substantiation of a curatorial and critical project, yet there is no set format. A scholarly text is obligatory in each case. One part of the master’s thesis may be submitted in a different format, for example an exhibition concept or a documentation of an exhibition. The degree “Master of Arts” (MA) is being jointly awarded by Goethe-University and the Städelschule; respective competencies acquired will be certified by a “Diploma supplement”. The Master of Arts Program Curatorial Studies – Theorie – Geschichte – Kritik creates the opportunity for admission to a subject-specific doctorate.

Teaching staff and lecturers
Staff includes university teachers at Goethe-University and the Städelschule as well as directors and curators of the Städel Museum, Liebieghaus Skulpturensammlung, the Museum MMK für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt, the Historisches Museum Frankfurt, the Weltkulturen Museum and the Portikus. Additional experts will be brought in for individual events and projects. The program is taught in German and English. Proficiency in English is expected.

Number of students
Annual admission of between 12 and 15 students ensures a small and intensive research experience in specially arranged seminars and events.

Application requirements
Bachelor’s or equivalent degree with a minimum of 6 semesters in art history, archaeology, art education, philosophy, ethnology or history. Fine arts graduates may also apply. International Students do need a DSH Certificate.

Applications must be sent in two fold (in one envelope!) by May 31, 2022 (postmark), and include a single-page statement of purpose (SoP), résumé (CV) as well as copies of relevant certificates, to the following address: Curatorial Studies – Theorie – Geschichte – Kritik, Kunstgeschichtliches Institut der Goethe-Universität, Senckenberganlage 31, 60325 Frankfurt

Please also send your application (one PDF file!) via email to the following address: kuratierenundkritik [​at​]

Further information on the program and the application process is available on our website.

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