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M.A. in Art History

John Cabot University
15 months
Full time
Master's degree
Scholarships available
On campus

Program description

M.A. in Art History

John Cabot University’s Master of Arts (MA) in Art History guides students toward professional mastery of the materials and methods of art history with emphasis on first-hand research in the museums, monuments, and archaeological sites of Rome. The degree can be completed in approximately fifteen months of full-time study.

The program has a dual focus: the visual cultures of Rome and the Mediterranean across time, from antiquity to the present; and the acquisition of technical skills for primary research. It also stimulates critical perspectives on the impact of Roman art worldwide.

Admission requirements

Applications are welcome from holders of a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent from an accredited university who have completed at least twelve semester credit hours or the equivalent in the history of art with a grade-point average of at least 3.0 (B) or the equivalent.

Seminars and courses are conducted in English and thus require proficiency in the English language, both spoken and written. Reading knowledge of Italian, French, or German at the time of entry into the program is strongly recommended.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website.

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Program content

Foundation Year

During the Foundation Year, students complete 24 credit hours of graduate-level coursework:

  • Six courses (18 credit hours) in the history of art and architecture, including at least three research seminars and one course on each of four periods: ancient; late antique/medieval; early modern; and modern-contemporary.
  • Two methodological foundations courses (six credit hours): Practicum in Art-Historical Research and Problem-Solving; and Case Studies in Art-Historical Practice.

The Foundation Year also includes cultural events and language components. In the former, students review external lectures, conferences, and exhibitions; in the latter, they demonstrate reading knowledge of Italian, French, or German, as required for advanced art-historical research.

The Summer Term

A Master’s exam, administered in June, tests the basic image-repertoire, chronology, and methodologies of art history, with emphasis on Rome and related cultures. The remainder of the summer can be devoted to coursework, thesis research, research-related travel, internships, supplementary language training, or other professional or educational activities. Students may choose to take fewer courses during the Fall or Spring and complete coursework during the Summer sessions.

The Thesis Semester

The degree culminates in the completion of a Master’s thesis (six credit hours), typically based on a research project initiated during the Foundation Year in the context of a graduate research seminar or topics course.

The Thesis Colloquium (three credit hours) accompanies and structures the thesis-writing experience. Colloquium participants present and discuss their research in progress; invite prominent guest professors to speak and critique their work; and prepare and deliver public presentations of their theses. During or prior to the final semester, MA candidates also complete an art historical apprenticeship (three credit hours). The apprenticeship may take the form of a teaching or research assistantship at John Cabot University or of an internship at a museum, research institute, historic library, school, gallery, or foundation.

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the university website for more information.

Tuition fees

  • U.S. citizens and permanent residents & Canadian citizens: $21,000 US per year
  • Citizens of countries other than the U.S. or Canada: €19,000 per year


The degree is designed to serve as:

  • preparation for PhD (doctoral) level study in the history of art at other institutions;
  • continuing education for teachers of art history, history, classical studies, and related subjects.

Career opportunities

The degree is designed to serve as:

  • The degree is designed to serve as a foundation for art-historical careers in museums, galleries, schools, art consultancies, art publishing houses, and related entities.
  • career enhancement for current and future professionals in areas where primary research skills and expertise in Roman visual culture offer creative advantages and possibilities for specialization. Examples include library and information science, cultural heritage management, historical fiction and script writing, scenography, art conservation, and game design.

About this institute

John Cabot University

At John Cabot University, Rome is your campus. JCU combines the best qualities of an American liberal arts college with the history and cultural heritage of the Eternal City. With its world-class faculty and students hailing from over 80 countries,...

Read more about this school

Why study at John Cabot University

Located in the heart of the Eternal City, John Cabot University is a unique place. It combines the best qualities of American liberal arts education, with the history and rich cultural heritage of Rome, a city that is at the same time one of the cradles of western civilization and a vibrant center of international life.


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