The Master of Arts in Art History and Visual Culture offers a broad education in art history including preparation for a Ph.D. degree program. It also helps to prepare students for a graduate library degree with a specialization in art history as well as a variety of positions including community college professor, researcher, museum curator, art administrator, conservator, and visual resource librarian.
Additional information is available in the Department of Art and Art History Office and on the department website: www.sjsu.edu/art.
Admission to Classified Standing
Depending on their level of preparation, applicants can be admitted in either classified or conditionally classified standing. Admission requires two steps.
In addition to the university admission requirements , applicants must meet requirements for their area:
- Art History and Visual Culture: completion of 30 or more college-level semester units or equivalent in Art History courses with a minimum 3.0 GPA. At least 24 units should have been in upper-division Art History courses. Courses in related academic areas will be assessed in reviewing the qualifications of applicants. Reading knowledge of a foreign language related to the subject of the intended thesis research is strongly recommended.
- Art Education: Completion of 45 or more college-level semester units or equivalent in appropriate Art courses with a minimum 3.0 GPA. At least 12 of these units must have been in Art History of which 6 units were upper-division courses and 3 units were in ART 138 - Elementary Art Methods or their equivalent.
Applicants from countries in which the native language is not English must achieve a minimum English-language proficiency test score as indicated on the Graduate Program Test Requirements webpage at GAPE.
Admission to Conditionally Classified Standing
Applicants who meet minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate Division but do not meet all other (programmatic) requirements (i.e., lacking prerequisites or GPA) may be admitted to conditionally classified standing. They will be advanced to classified standing when the Art History graduate advisor certifies they have satisfied all appropriate requirements.
Requirements for Advancement to Graduate Candidacy
Candidacy denotes that the student is fully qualified to complete the final stages of the MA - Art and is thus eligible to enroll in ARTH 299 - Master’s Thesis or ART 297B - Master’s Project . In order to advance to candidacy, students must meet the university requirements for candidacy. General university requirements for advancement to candidacy for the MA degree are detailed in the Graduate Policies and Procedures section. Candidacy includes the successful completion of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) .
Additional departmental requirements for candidacy include:
- Secure commitment of three faculty members of the university, two of whom must be members of the Art and Art History faculty, to serve as members of the student’s MA - Art project or thesis committee, with one regular Art faculty member agreeing to serve as chair. For candidates in Art History and Visual Culture, the chair of the committee and at least one other committee member must be art historians. This committee must approve the student’s proposed program for the MA - Art degree no later than one month prior to the end of the semester preceding the one in which enrollment in the final project or thesis course(s) is planned.
- Submission of a proposed curriculum program conforming to university and departmental requirements. The proposed program must be approved by the Art graduate committee before the student may be considered for the MA - Art. The proposed program must list a total of 30 semester units, of which at least 15 must be in courses at the 200 level. The proposed program must include the required seminars and ARTH 299 - Master’s Thesis or ART 297B - Master’s Project . Electives to complete the 30 units may be drawn from approved 100 and 200-level courses.
- Passage of the first of two comprehensive exams and the language exam.
Requirements for Graduation
University Graduation Requirements
Students must complete all residency, curriculum, unit, GPA, and culminating experience requirements as outlined in the Graduation Requirements section of the Graduate Policies and Procedures .
MA - Art Graduation Requirements
Requirements in the two areas or tracks are as follows:
- Art Education: Of the 30 units required, 21 must be in Art courses and 9 units may be in related areas of study. The upper-division writing requirement and EDLD 221, ART 260 , and one seminar must be completed before candidacy may be granted.
- Art History and Visual Culture: Of the 30 units required, 21 must be in Art History and Visual Culture courses and 9 units may be in related areas of study. Five seminars (15 units) must be included. The MA - Art student with a concentration in Art History and Visual Culture must demonstrate reading knowledge of a foreign language related to the subject of the intended thesis research. The student must also pass a two-part comprehensive written examination designed to test general competence in Art History and Visual Culture. The second part of the exam is based on the candidate’s thesis proposal once that has been approved by a pre-thesis committee. Attainment of candidacy and eligibility to enroll in ARTH 299 - Master’s Thesis will be contingent upon satisfactory completion of all comprehensive and language examinations.
- The thesis must meet university requirements as stipulated in this catalog and in the SJSU Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Guidelines. It will be written under the guidance of the candidate’s thesis committee chair with the assistance of the thesis committee.
- Thesis Examination: The candidate for the MA - Art degree must successfully pass a final oral examination based on the thesis.
Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement
At SJSU, students must pass the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) .