A.B./M.A. in History of Art

Guidelines for the A.B./M.A. in History of Art

The A.B./M.A. program in History of Art offers the opportunity for Bryn Mawr undergraduates to complete an M.A. in four or five years. Most students complete the program on a five-year schedule. An M.A. in History of Art can be a beneficial professional credential when pursuing jobs in museums, galleries, and other arts and cultural organizations. It also provides useful preparation for students interested in pursuing doctoral degrees in History of Art.

Students who would like to apply for the A.B./M.A. program should first contact the current Department chair to discuss their interests. It is also important to begin conversations with a potential M.A. advisor, who will direct the M.A. thesis in the spring semester of the fifth year and will serve as the primary advisor for the M.A. program. Admission to the A.B./M.A. program in History of Art is contingent on the availability of an appropriate thesis advisor. Students typically begin conversations about participation in the A.B./M.A. program during their junior year, but applications during the senior year will also be considered. 

Ordinarily, applicants to the A.B./M.A. program in the History of Art will be undergraduate majors in History of Art. It is possible, however, for non-History of Art undergraduates to complete the M.A., although this usually requires six courses in History of Art during the fifth year. 

Once preliminary approval to proceed with the application is secured from the Department chair and a potential M.A. advisor, the student should complete the A.B./M.A. Workplan. The student will then apply to the Undergraduate Dean’s office and the Graduate Dean’s office. A description of the full application process can be found here.

The following differences between the undergraduate and graduate programs in History of Art should be noted:

  • courses at Haverford College cannot be counted toward requirements for the M.A. degree.
  • only regular faculty in the Department of History of Art can serve as primary advisors for M.A. theses; affiliated and emeritae/i faculty are not able to serves as A.B./M.A. primary advisors. A complete list of regular and affiliated faculty can be viewed here.
  • the Department of History of Art has a robust cross-registration program with the Department of History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, and students in the A.B./M.A. program are strongly encouraged to take advantage of course offerings at Penn as they devise their A.B./M.A. plan.
  • A.B./M.A. students must pass one language exam in their fifth year. The exam is usually taken in French or German, but other languages can be accepted with the approval of the Department. 
  • the College does not offer financial support for A.B./M.A. students. Students planning to incur debt to complete the A.B./M.A. program should discuss their funding plan with the Department chair before committing to the program. 

In addition, it should be noted that:

  • faculty members are usually not able to advise MA theses in years when they are on leave.
  • A.B./M.A. students may include in their fifth-year course program the annual GSem (a co-taught interdisciplinary course offered exclusively to students in the Graduate Group in Archaeology, Classics, and the History of Art).
  • in their fifth-year, A.B./M.A. students are expected to attend regularly the Colloquium for Visual Culture, which meets Wednesdays from 12.30-2 p.m. throughout the year.

For more information about Bryn Mawr’s A.B./M.A. program, please see "Frequently Asked Questions."


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