Top Schools with Art History Graduate Programs

Read on to learn about the top schools with art history graduate programs. Examine university rankings, school locations and degree possibilities, so you can compare your study options and find the right school for you.

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School Information

There are many highly regarded art history departments throughout the country that offer master's and doctoral degree programs in the subject. A few schools also provide graduate-level certificate programs in art history concentrations. Two top-ranking schools, Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania, have programs that cover a variety of different art periods and styles, such as modern, Italian, Medieval or Baroque.

Best Graduate Schools for Art History Programs

1. Columbia University in New York, NY

In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Columbia University #7 among all schools with graduate history programs. In Columbia's 2-year master's degree program, students may concentrate in a variety of art history fields other than modern art, which has its own program. Fields include architectural, Italian and Asian.

Like the master's program, the doctoral program offers a wide range of art history concentrations, from Medieval to photography. After the first year of the Ph.D. program, students work as teaching assistants to gain experience in teaching general undergraduate coursework and core art history courses. Entrance into Columbia's Ph.D. program is highly competitive, and the school only accepts 15 new students per year.

2. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is ranked eighth among all national universities, according to U.S. News and World Report's 2014 list of top national universities. Located in Philadelphia, PA, the school offers a master's degree and a Ph.D. in art history.

Requirements for Penn's M.A. program include proficiency in both French and German and completion of a thesis in a specific art history topic. Fields of study include Egyptian, Baroque, Asian and American art history. Doctoral candidates in Penn's Ph.D. program can choose concentrations in a number of fields, including 19th Century, North Renaissance, Islamic and Byzantine. For the second portion of the program, students are expected to serve as undergraduate teachers.

Good Art History Graduate Schools

School Name Distinction Location
Columbia University Columbia ranked #4 among all national universities, according to U.S. News & World Report in 2014. New York, NY
Cornell University Forty-three Nobel laureates are affiliated with the university, either as alumni or faculty members. Ithaca, NY
Harvard University Harvard's Fine Arts Library includes rare illustrated books, Medieval manuscripts and more. Cambridge, MA
New York University NYU is a member of the Association of American Universities, along with only 60 other schools in the nation. New York, NY
University of California - Berkeley UCB tied for first-place ranking on U.S. News & World Report's 2013 list of schools with the best graduate history programs. Berkeley, CA
University of California - Los Angeles Students have access to hte several hundred museums in the Los Angeles area. Los Angeles, CA
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Along with Columbia, U-Mich tied for seventh-place ranking on U.S. News & World Report's 2013 list of schools with the best graduate programs in the nation. Ann Arbor, MI
University of Pennsylvania In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked UPenn #10 on its list of best value schools. Philadelphia, PA
University of Virginia The art history department offers a study abroad course in Florence and Rome. Charlottesville, VA
Yale University In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Yale #3 among all national universities. New Haven, CT
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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at New York University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Temple University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
        • Ceramics
        • Metal and Jewelry Art
        • Painting
        • Printmaking
        • Sculpture
        • Weaving and Textile Arts
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgia State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art History
        • Drawing
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • Areas of study you may find at Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Virginia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Virginia include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stony Brook University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Alabama (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Alabama include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
        • Art
        • Art History
      • Musical Arts

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