December 8, 2022

MA in Art History

Purchase College, State University of New York

Courtesy of Purchase College, SUNY.

Courtesy of Purchase College, SUNY.

Visual Arts building, Purchase College. Courtesy of Purchase College, SUNY.

Courtesy of Purchase College, SUNY.

Courtesy of Purchase College, SUNY.

Exhibition gallery, Purchase College. Courtesy of Purchase College, SUNY.

Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY. Courtesy of Purchase College, SUNY.

Prepare to be a curator, critic, art historian, or museum professional on a campus committed to creativity.

Art up close. When you earn an MA in Art History at Purchase College, you study objects right in front of you—from the exhibitions and collections in the internationally acclaimed Neuberger Museum of Art to the work created every day by faculty and graduate peers in the elite School of Art+Design conservatory. From the modern to the cutting edge—it’s all right here on campus.

With New York City just a short commute south, you can easily access all it adds to the global artistic dialogue. And our proximity allows us to attract renowned practitioners in the arts as faculty members and guest lecturers.

Be part of the conversation. The Art History MA Program in Modern and Contemporary Art, Criticism, and Theory focuses on modern and contemporary art as it relates to urgent social and political questions. Our unique program values the making of art, as well as its interpretation and critique in modern and contemporary culture. Whether transitioning into a second career or just starting out, we encourage students with different backgrounds to apply if they show a demonstrable interest or related experience and are willing to fulfill prerequisites in order to complete the program.

The prerequisite is curiosity. Prepare for a wide variety of careers, including: curator, art writer/critic, museum educator, collections manager/registrar, museum designer, academia/PhD programs.

And in our M+ Track (Museum + Curatorial Studies), you can choose a tailored four-course sequence that culminates in an exhibition in the Neuberger Museum of Art. The hands-on, practical training helps develop a nuanced understanding of arts institutions, their histories, functions, and possible futures.

MA students devise individualized routes to earning degrees through an array of electives and a thesis topic appealing to their own interests. Our intriguing course list includes classes such as: The Inclusive Museum; Colors: An Art History; The Fictional Visual Artists; Flash-points, Fiascos, and Freak-outs: Art and Controversy, 1863–Present.

Career paths
Like Margaret Winslow ’08, who is currently the Chief Curator and Curator of Modern Art at the Delaware Art Museum and says, “Studying at Purchase College afforded me the unique opportunity to combine a rigorous art history program with firsthand curatorial practice.”

Thanks to the generosity of the Strypemonde Foundation, we offer competitive, funded teaching, curatorial, and research opportunities rarely found outside PhD programs. Learn more.

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