Applications for Graduate Study

Applications for the M.A. degree in Art History are reviewed continually during the calendar year. However, students must have their applications completed by November 15 for admission for the spring semester and by June 15 for the fall term. To be considered for graduate assistantships (GTAs) and fellowships during the following academic year, and for maximum choice in coursework for the first semester, fall candidates need to have their application submitted by February 1. 

How to Apply for the M.A. in Art History:

  • To Office of Admissions
    • Application ($35 online, $45 paper)
    • Transcripts
  • To Department of Art & Art History, Attention: Graduate Advisor in Art History
    • Writing Sample
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement, addressing: 1) Reason(s) for pursuing admittance into graduate-level study, 2) Reason(s) for choosing UMKC’s Department of Art & Art History as educational institution, 3) Ultimate professional ambitions, and 4) Why you should be selected for the M.A. program.

Art History Classification of Entering Students

Admission to the graduate program in art history requires a B.A. or equivalent degree and sufficient undergraduate study in art history to provide a sound foundation for advanced study. Ideally, this foundation would include a solid grounding in the history of Western art, some study of non-Western art, and sufficient advanced-level work to indicate that a student can succeed in the specialized or topical courses and seminars associated with graduate study. Admission review is done by the graduate advisor in Art History.

The applicant should have, in addition to a good general education in the humanities, 18 to 24 credit hours in art history with a grade-point average of 3.0 or better. Students with fewer hours and/or a restricted exposure to other humanities and fine arts courses, or having inconsistent grades, are eligible for admission to the graduate program on the basis of recent evidence indicating the potential for success, such as performance in 400-level courses, or through papers and exams for courses elsewhere. If there are some deficiencies in preparation that can be met readily by one or two undergraduate survey courses, a student will be admitted to graduate study. However, the survey courses must be taken for undergraduate credit before the student is allowed to take the qualifying examination that is required for advancement to degree candidacy.

Applicants lacking the minimum preparation deemed necessary for admission to graduate-level study in art history may make up their deficiency through enrollment in selected undergraduate courses offered by the department. These will be determined after consultation with a faculty advisor and in all cases must include 400-level work. Progress will be reviewed at the end of each term, and if warranted, reclassification to graduate status will occur prior to the start of the next semester.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of specialized areas of art history.
  • Cultivate independent and original thinking.
  • Employ comprehensive communication through written, oral, and technological methods.
  • Express aesthetic appreciation of art and architecture.
  • Explain works of art and architecture as complex cultural products.
  • Students graduating with an M.A. in Art History will be prepared for entry into a Ph.D. program or the job market.

Requirements for Graduation

Option I:  Non-thesis Option

(33 hours of approved coursework), including:

  • ART-HIST 5501: Scope & Methods of Art History (3 hours)
  • At least 30 hours of coursework, of which at least six courses (18 hours) must be graduate seminars 

Option II:  Thesis Option

(30 hours of approved coursework), including:

  • ART-HIST 5501: Scope & Methods of Art History (3 hours)
  • At least 21 hours of additional coursework, of which four courses (12 hours) must be graduate seminars
  • 6 hours of thesis research (ART-HIST 5599 Research and Thesis)
  • Students must obtain permission to pursue the thesis option.  Permission to do so depends on the quality of the student’s thesis proposal submitted to the Department, the student’s writing skills, and the ability of the Department to supervise the student in the subject area of the proposed thesis topic. An oral defense of the thesis is required.  Those students who anticipate further graduate work toward the doctorate are strongly advised to elect the thesis option.

Non-Course Requirements:

  • No more than 12 hours of coursework taken at the 400-level
  • A minimum G. P. A. of 3.0
  • As soon as possible, but no later than after 18 hours are completed, the student will select Option I or II.  For students admitted to the Thesis Option, the student will select a thesis committee with the consultation of the Graduate Advisor.
  • In either the 30-hour thesis option or the 33-hour non-thesis option, no more than 6 hours of readings, independent study, or directed studies credit (other than thesis hours) may be counted toward the requirements for the M.A.  Exceptions may be made for credits granted for professional internships approved by the Department.

Special Requirements

Requirements for Retention

A student must maintain a graduate grade-point average of 3.0. In extenuating circumstances, a student may petition the Department of Art and Art History to be continued as a graduate student for one term (or 6 hours) if the graduate GPA falls below 3.0. The deficiency must be remedied during the approved probationary period if the student is to be continued.

Reading Knowledge in Foreign Language

M.A. students must acquire a reading knowledge of one foreign language considered essential to advanced study in art history before beginning the M.A. thesis. Students are encouraged to acquire this skill as early as possible in their graduate studies, so they may use it in graduate seminars and research papers. This requirement is most often fulfilled by three semesters at the college level, with a grade of B or better in the third semester. Students who believe they have acquired a sufficient reading knowledge, but have not completed three semesters of language training at the college level, may petition the graduate advisor to take a reading exam in that language. Normally, however, three semesters of college-level study are necessary to achieve sufficient mastery.


The final requirement for the M.A. degree in Art History is the M.A. thesis, which is normally begun two semesters before a student completes the degree. The thesis is an approved project that demonstrates capacity for independent work of a suitably high level of proficiency, one utilizing the primary sources available on the topic in English and in the foreign language that meets the program requirement, as well as the major relevant secondary sources. This project, selected in conjunction with the thesis advisor most often develops from a seminar paper, and its presentation must conform to the requirements of the School of Graduate Studies.

Summary of Forms

  1. Master’s Degree Program of Study – filled out by the student and the graduate advisor/principal advisor in the department.
  2. Recommendation for Appointment of Advisor or Supervisor/Examination Committee form – filled out by the student and the graduate advisor in the department.
  3. Report of Results of Examination for Master’s Degree Students Form – filled out by the chair of the thesis committee and mailed to the Office of Graduate Records.
  4. Intent to Graduate – filled out by the student at the Records Office in the Administrative Center (no faculty signature required)
  5. Thesis Review/Examination – filled out by the chair of the thesis committee and mailed to the Office of Graduate Records.