The Director of Graduate Studies advises all new graduate students. The DGS will sign all forms, which require an adviser's signature and aid students in course selection.
As soon as students have defined the subject of the first of two Plan B papers (no later than the filing of the Degree Program Form), an academic adviser in the appropriate field is selected from the graduate faculty. After the Degree Program has been filed with the Graduate School, the student begins to work with his/her chosen adviser.
The academic adviser will usually serve as the supervisor of one Plan B project and as the Chair of the MA Examining Committee.
The MA program is designed as a two year, full-time graduate program.
There is a seven-year time limit on the completion of the MA degree. The seven-year count begins with the earliest course work on the degree program, including transfer work. For further details, see the Graduate School Catalog and contact the Director of Graduate Studies.
Foreign Language Requirements
MA students are required to attain a reading knowledge of one language appropriate to the student's program. The final choice and number of languages is to be determined in consultation with the primary advisor. The language requirements can be satisfied in the following two ways:
- Students successfully complete a course such as “Reading French in the Arts and Sciences” or “Reading Italian for Graduate Students” and the department offering the course certifies that the student has completed the requirement. To do this, the Language Department Certification Form (PDF) must be submitted to the graduate school from the language department in which the course was taken.
- The Department of Art History certifies that the language requirement has been met by one of the following: the successful completion of appropriate Continuing Education and Extension courses; the successful completion of the “Second Language Requirement” of the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota (equivalent of four semesters of course work); successful completion of language exam administered by the department (when available); or the successful completion of language courses at another institution. To do this, the Graduate Department Certification Form (PDF) must be submitted to the graduate school from the Art History Department.
In either case, the student is allowed three attempts to pass the exam in any one language.
All entering MA students shall fulfill a language requirement on their arrival at the University of Minnesota. Should they fail to do so, they should equip themselves to satisfy the first language requirement by the end of the first year of residence. Students may not begin the second year in residence unless they have fulfilled this requirement. The student will not be allowed to take any courses other than relevant language courses until the requirement is fulfilled. Those who fail to complete the language requirements on time are not eligible for financial support.
A student who has passed a required foreign language exam at another institution must nonetheless take and pass the relevant University of Minnesota departmental foreign language exam. Exceptions will be granted only when the exam taken at another institution (1) has been passed within the last two years and (2) can be demonstrated to have been equivalent in nature to that of the University of Minnesota departmental foreign language examination.
Departmental Foreign Language Examination
In the event that a student cannot satisfy the language requirement by the above means, it may be possible under certain circumstances for him/her to take a language examination administered by the department. The departmental language exam tests basic competence in a research language. Students should find out from the Graduate Studies Committee the availability of a particular language exam, and when available, such exams are administered on an ad hoc basis. Students should expect to translate a 700-750 word passage within three hours. The use of a non-electronic dictionary is allowed. The translation should be accurate and idiomatic, that is, in Standard English. If a literal translation does not read as English, it cannot be considered correct. If the translation does not make sense, it cannot be considered correct. The student should not leave gaps in the translation.
Exam results will be sent out by mail within three weeks of the exam date.
|Pass||B and higher|
|Fail||C and below|
|A||Clear, with few errors. Grammatical structures are properly deconstructed and translated into English.|
|B||Comprehensible, some errors.|
|C||Substantial and significant errors.|
|A||Competent, accurate translation. Elegant English.|
|B||Comprehensible translation using English constructions.|
|C||Literal translation, attempts at using English constructions.|
|D||Literal translation without attempts to use English constructions.|
Overall Research Competence
|A||Solid competence. Although the student occasionally uses the dictionary, he/she is sufficiently skilled in the vocabulary and grammar of the research language to read a text easily and understand all or nearly all of it.|
|B||Competent. Despite some gaps in vocabulary (specifically specialized jargon), the student is sufficiently proficient in the basic vocabulary and grammar to derive the pertinent meaning of a text.|
|C||Some knowledge of research language, but student relies heavily on dictionary to understand even basic vocabulary. He/she fails to deconstruct grammatical structures to the extent that intelligibility of text is frequently undermined.|
|D||Low competence. Errors in vocabulary and grammar are so significant that the student does not appear to grasp the general meaning of the text.|
Degree Program Forms
Upon completion of 15 graduate credits, but no later than the end of the second semester of residence, each student must file a Degree Program form with the Graduate School. The best time to file the Degree Program is mid-spring semester of the first year, after the course offerings for the next academic year have been published.
Degree Program forms can be obtained online. Two forms are necessary: 1) Degree Program Transmittal and Degree Program Committee Form and 2) Degree Program Course Work. Degree Program Forms are completed with the guidance of the DGS, in consultation with the student's proposed adviser.
Academic Adviser/Examining Committee: Students should contact proposed advisers and committee members to obtain their commitment to participate on the Examining Committee. Two faculty members must be from Art History Graduate Faculty and the third from the outside minor or related field. Normally, the student's academic adviser serves as the Chair of the Examining Committee.
Course work: The degree Program Course Work form lists all course work that will be counted toward the 36 credit degree requirement. Note: A minimum of 21 credits must be in Art History. It reflects completed course work with grades and proposed course work for the remaining terms of registration. (For transfer course work from other institutions, consult the Instructions for the Degree Program form and the Graduate School Bulletin).
Any change in the Degree Program form must be requested on a Graduate School Petition form, except for substitutions on the examining committee. Substitutions must be approved by the DGS, in consultation with the academic adviser. The DGS then reports the change to the Graduate School.
Plan B Paper Format Specifications
The Department of Art History maintains a digital archive of all Plan B papers, accessible on the Art History website. Completed Plan B papers must be saved as PDF files and formatted according to the following specifications:
- A Plan B project must be properly documented using either footnotes or endnotes and must include a bibliography. If the project supervisor offers no specifications, A Manual of Style (The University of Chicago Press) should be consulted.
- The ordering of the parts of the papers will be: (a) title page, (b) list of illustrations, if included, (c) body, (d) endnotes, unless footnotes are used, (e) bibliography, (f) illustrations, with captions.
- Illustrations should be high resolution digital images.
- Acceptable type is any easily readable size font, 10 or 12 point.
- Margin requirements are 1 inch on all sides.
- The text must be double-spaced; longer quotations, footnotes or endnotes, bibliography and list of illustrations may be single spaced with double spacing between items.
- The title page must be signed by both Art History readers as proof of acceptance, scanned, and included in the PDF file that you submit to the Department.
For the digital archive, please go to: https://arthist.umn.edu/grad/planBpapers.php
MA Examination Procedures
The academic adviser arranges for the exam and administers it. The DGS, in consultation with the Graduate Studies Committee, must approve the format of the exam and the exam questions. The exam is three hours in length, with an additional hour for editing, revising and printing the exam.
Students are discouraged from taking the MA exams during the summer. Faculty are on nine-month appointments and many are out-of-town when classes are not in session.
The student applies to take the exam after:
- Completion of language requirements
- Graduate School approval of any petition amending the Degree Program Form
- Completion of at least 27 credits of course work listed on the Degree Program Form
- Filing of both Plan B projects with the DGS
The student notifies the Chair of the Examining Committee (the academic adviser) to apply to take the exam. The student provides the Chair with a Report of Committee on Examination for Master's Degree obtained from 316 Johnston Hall.
The Chair of the Examining Committee then arranges for an exam time and a room. The Chair contacts the other Committee members and additional relevant faculty in order to solicit questions for the exam.
Upon completion of the exam, the student sends copies of the exam to the committee members electronically. A hardcopy of the exam goes to the Graduate Studies Secretary. Committee members signify the successful completion of the exam by signing the “Report of Committee…” form. This form is part of the Graduation Packet, which students must request from the Graduate School. Once all faculty signatures have been collected, a copy of the “Report of Committee…” form is made for the Graduate Studies Secretary and the form is returned to the Graduate School.
MA Course Requirements
Credits and Distribution
The Art History Graduate Program follows the Plan B format, that is, a Master's program requiring two major research papers. A description of this format is contained in the Graduate School Catalog. Students must complete a minimum 36 credits (about 12 courses). A minimum of 21 credits must be in Art History.
Department of Art History Course Work
- At least 2 courses must be seminars at the 8xxx level (in addition to ArtH 8001, and excluding ArtH 8975, Museum Studies).
- Seminars must be taken from at least 2 different faculty members.
- All students are required to take ArtH 8001 Art History: Theory and Methods
- No more than 2 courses may be directed readings.
- Courses must be taken in at least three of the following areas: Ancient Mediterranean, Ancient Western Asia, Medieval, Early Modern, Latin American, North American, Modern, Film/Photography, Contemporary, East Asian, South Asian, or Islamic.
Primary Concentration: within these areas, 3 courses must be taken in one area. This becomes the student's primary concentration and the subject area for the primary Plan B paper.
Secondary Concentration: 2 courses must be taken in a second area. This becomes the subject area for the second Plan B paper.
- Students concentrating in Western art or art of the Global North must take one course in Eastern art or art of the Global South. Students concentrating in Eastern art or art of the Global South must take one course in Western art or art of the Global North.
* There are some courses that are specifically designed to challenge or cross these categorical divisions (e.g., ARTH 5113 “Art, Law and Ethics,” ARTH 5301 “Atlantic World,” ARTH5466 “Contemporary Art,” and ARH5494 “East/West, West/East). The categories fulfilled by these courses will be determined on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and the advisor.
MINORS AND SUPPORTING PROGRAMS
- 2-4 courses must be taken outside the Art History Department
- At least 2 of these courses must be non-art historical in content
Students must complete a minor or supporting program. According to Graduate School rules, at least 6 credits are required in a single field to constitute a graduate minor; however, the department of the minor field determines credit requirements and procedures for the minor. The DGS of the minor field signs the Degree Program Form. A supporting program is comprised of a set of courses, equivalent to 6 credits, which represent a coherent area of work that is outside the primary focus of the student’s master’s program.
Plan B Papers
Two Plan B papers demonstrating the student's mastery of the essential skills of scholarship are required for the MA degree in Art History. One paper is written on a subject in the area of the student's primary concentration. This paper is supervised by the student's academic adviser. The second paper is written on a subject in the area of the student's secondary concentration and is supervised by someone other than the academic adviser. Term papers or seminar reports may serve as the basis for the Plan B papers, or the topic may be the result of independent study. The student and the project supervisor should decide upon a suitable length for an adequate treatment of the chosen topic.
The projects will be evaluated and approved by two Art History Graduate faculty, one of whom is the project supervisor. Both are required to sign the title page of the paper. Upon completion of the Plan B papers, they should be submitted to the Graduate Studies Secretary.
See Plan B Paper Format Specifications for additional details.
For more information, refer to the Graduate School Bulletin.