Art History FAQ

How do I learn more about student life at AU?
Visit the campus life webpage for detailed information on student activities, housing, dining, parking, local attractions in DC, and much more.

FAQ for Undergraduate Students

When is the best time to visit AU and tour the Katzen Arts Center?

Although you are welcome to visit campus at any time, there are special campus days for prospective students. Visit the admissions events page for a list of upcoming events. You can also take a virtual tour of our beautiful campus.

How do I get an information packet?

Visit the admissions request information page to obtain an information packet.

What are the basic requirements for the Major in Art History?

Visit the BA in Art History page for further information.

Is it possible to minor in art history?

Yes, students majoring in a diverse array of subjects choose art history as a minor. For example, students majoring in International Service often minor in art history to strengthen their critical thinking skills and support their interest in world cultures. Visit the minor requirements webpage for more detailed information.

FAQ for Graduate Students

How do I get the admissions process started?

Simply visit the graduate admissions website for more information. To obtain an information packet, click on "Request Information" in the right-hand column.

When should I visit campus and meet with faculty?

Each semester there is a Prospective Student Day for campus visits, tours, and meet-and-greets with faculty and the AU administration. Visit the graduate admissions event page for a list of upcoming events. You are also encouraged to reach out to faculty via email to start an informal conversation about  applying to the program – you can find faculty email addresses online. Faculty are available to meet virtually as well.

What are the basic requirements for the graduate program?

Visit the MA requirements page for detailed information.

How long does it take to earn an MA?

The MA in Art History is a two-year program structured to be completed in that time. However, it is also possible to enroll as a part-time student, an option that meets the needs of some students.

Does AU offer a PhD in Art History?

No, the MA is the most advanced degree offered in Art History at AU. However, many of our alums go on to doctoral programs at other very worthy institutions after receiving the AU Master's degree. Our students have gone on PhD programs at the Institute of Fine Arts (NYU), Bryn Mawr, Rutgers, Princeton, Emory,  Washington University (St. Louis), Penn State, and Florida State University, among others.

Are AU alums able to find careers in the museum field?

Yes! Our alums are working in all aspects of the museum field--curatorial, development, public education, registrar, special events, and many other departments. AU alums hold positions at many major museums including the National Gallery of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Walters Art Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum in New York, and others. In fact, our alums form a busy network of professionals who are shaping the museums of tomorrow.

What other careers can I pursue with an MA in Art History?

Our MA in Art History will give you transferrable skills in research, writing, and visual literacy, and, depending on your path through the program, Digital Humanities and website creation. Our alums have pursued career opportunities in commercial art galleries, auction houses, non-profit arts organizations, art conservation labs, local government, and community colleges.

Are there internships available for graduate students?

One of the most exciting things about working on an MA in Art History at American University is the opportunity to apply for opportunities in the renowned institutions of Washington, DC. Internships allow participants to gain experience in varied facets of museum and gallery work, including collections research, exhibition production, public education, and program development projects. Virtually all museums and many galleries in Washington, as well as other cultural institutions such as the Library of Congress and the Archives of American Art, offer internship opportunities. The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center offers internship and job opportunities on campus. As part of the MA program, you may take one internship for credit.

Can graduates students serve as research assistants or teaching assistants?

MA students who receive a merit-based stipend from the university normally serve as either a Research Assistant (RA) or Teaching Assistant (TA).  RAs may help professors conduct research for their upcoming publications, which might include sourcing images, proofreading, or creating a book index. TAs attend the course to which they are assigned, take careful notes for tutoring, present review sessions before exams, counsel individual students on coursework or papers, and assist with in-class discussions. Being a TA is an excellent experience for MA students interested in pursuing a career in college teaching or museum education.

Are there conference opportunities for graduate students?

There are many opportunities for presenting papers at conferences. A few examples are the American University/George Washington University Graduate Symposium in Art History (fall semester), the Mid-Atlantic Symposium in the History of Art sponsored by the National Gallery of Art (every other spring semester), and the College of Arts and Sciences Student Research Conference (spring semester).

Is there a place on campus to study and meet fellow grad students?

The Visual Resources Center (VRC), Art History Suite 142 in the Katzen Arts Center, is a digital imaging lab and workspace where visual resources for the art department are developed and maintained. But the VRC also serves as a space for students to meet. Graduate student mailboxes, computers and scanners, and the Kassalaw Collection graduate study library for Art History can be found within the suite.

Can grad students get involved in student government?

The Graduate Student Council (GSC) at AU encourages students to become involved in issues relating to the university. Two art history graduate students represent the program on the Council. The GSC distributes funds to each program during the academic year. Whether it is through funding for travel to conferences, purchasing books for the Kassalow Collection Graduate Study Library, or obtaining tech equipment for grad student use, the GSC has provided excellent support for our graduate students and the art history program.