The UCR Department of the History of Art is a dynamic and rapidly growing program that has developed particular strengths in Early Modern and Modern/Contemporary art history, and, in conjunction with UCR’s California Museum of Photography, in the history of photography. The department offers upper-division and graduate courses in the history of western and non-western art from ancient to contemporary times, emphasizing the interpretation of art in its historical and cultural contexts. The Curriculum is divided into three broad areas of study: Pre-modern, Early-modern, and Modern/Contemporary. Students are expected to take courses in a range of historical periods and cultural traditions outside their area of specialization. Upon entry into the program, incoming students meet with the Graduate Advisor to review their undergraduate preparation and develop a plan for their coursework at UCR.
|Professor Kohl and students examining a manuscript at UCR Special Collections|
The MA is designed to be accomplished within two years of full-time work; students are strongly encouraged to finish by the end of the sixth quarter of study if possible. Students spend their first year in coursework, taking seminars and lecture courses to become acquainted with a broad range of art historical methods and approaches. Graduate students are also encouraged to pursue internships and research opportunities at local museums and art organizations. In their second year, students work closely with their faculty advisor to develop and write an MA Thesis of approximately 60-80 pages in length; the thesis gives students an opportunity to integrate their art historical and theoretical/methodological studies into a sustained independent research project. While students primarily work with faculty in the History of Art, they may also take courses and work with faculty in related disciplines such as American Studies, Anthropology, Comparative Literature, History, and Media and Cultural Studies, depending on the focus of their research.A standard, full-time course of study consists of three to four courses per quarter (12 - 16 units), with the 40 units of required coursework completed in the first three or four quarters (usually, within the first year). The second year of study is spent primarily on thesis research and writing. At least two full quarters before the student intends to file the thesis, she/he will establish a thesis committee comprised of the student's adviser and two additional faculty members, one of whom may be selected from a related field outside the department; this committee will read and comment on the thesis in a preliminary oral discussion to take place one full quarter before the student intends to file.
We strongly encourage you to complete the Preliminary Information Form. The Preliminary Information goes only to the Art History Department and allows us to consider your interests and qualifications before we receive the official Graduate Division application (which usually takes longer to complete).
If you are ready to apply, please complete the official UCR Graduate School Application. This is the application that serves as the official application to the Art History Department's Graduate Program. The UCR Graduate Division provides more information about the official application procedures. To receive full consideration for admission and funding, we must receive your materials by January 5th.
Students must earn at least 24 units of graduate credit (200–level classes), of which the Proseminar in Methodology (251P), offered once a year, is mandatory. Three additional seminars in art history are required, two of which must be outside of the student's field of specialization. Students may also receive up to 12 units of credit for thesis research. In addition, students may take up to 12 units of upper-division undergraduate (100-level) coursework may be applied toward the 40 units of coursework required for the MA. Students may also obtain a limited number of units through internships in museums, galleries, and historical institutions in the area.
Foreign Language Requirement
Students of Western art history must demonstrate a proficiency in one European language relevant to their area of study, including Latin American Art History. One Asian language, relevant to the area of study, is required for students specializing in Asian art history. The relevant language is to be chosen in consultation with the Graduate Adviser and, if possible, with the potential MA thesis adviser. This language requirement is meant to provide the student with a sufficient understanding of a foreign language that the student can perform graduate level research in this language. Since most PhD programs have additional language requirements, students planning to pursue a PhD are strongly urged to consult with their Graduate and Thesis advisers regarding additional foreign language preparation. The language requirement must be satisfied by the end of the third quarter in residence, and preferably earlier.
In order to satisfy their language requirement, students are given two (2) options: complete as a graduate student a University of California foreign language course equivalent to one of the appropriate courses at UC Riverside, or take the Language Placement Exam as a graduate student given at the beginning of each quarter.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Application Process
- What is the application deadline? Although there is no official deadline, applications must be received byJanuary 5th in order to be considered for financial support from the Graduate Division. Also, the admissions committee will make its initial decisions about whom to accept in January. If the application comes in too late for that process, or is not complete by that time, chances of getting accepted and of being offered financial support are significantly more limited.
- How does the on-line application work? The new on-line application for the Graduate Division allows students to upload a majority of the required supplemental data requested below. Students will be able to electronically request letters of recommendations from Professors and the Recommenders can submit the letters directly to the on-line system. Also, students can upload their writing sample and review their application to see what supplemental data has been received by the Art History department. The only data that cannot be uploaded directly are “Official Transcripts.” Official Transcripts should be mailed directly to the Art History Department (See # 4 below for the mailing address).
- What supplemental materials are required?
- GRE scores (verbal and quantitative scores)
- Transcripts from ALL colleges or universities attended
- A writing sample (15–20 pages long) (uploaded files can be no larger than 20MB) preferably on a topic related to your planned area(s) of study. Note: You may provide more than one writing sample to reach the 15-20 page requirement.
- A Statement of Purpose (1–2 pages long) Download as pdf
Your Statement of Purpose should provide a clear and detailed description of your academic interests and career objectives. It should include some description of what you have studied so far, and of any relevant work experiences, such as internships with museums or other art-related organizations. As much as possible, we would like to know what you expect your area(s) of specialization within the field to be to be, and what preparation you have had so far in these areas; if there are particular faculty or resources that attract you to study at UC Riverside, please address those.
- A Personal History Statement. Download as pdf
In an essay, discuss how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how you might contribute to social or cultural diversity within your chosen field; and/or how you might serve educationally underrepresented segments of society with your degree.
- Three Letters of Recommendation
- The application fee ($80 for domestic applicants; $100 for foreign applications)
This fee can ONLY be paid with a credit card. Students who do not have access to credit cards may contact the Graduate Admissions Office for check or money order payment options. 951-827-3313.
- Where should the application materials be sent? The electronic forms need to be submitted online. Any supplemental materials that were not uploaded into the electronic application should all be sent to the same location, namely
The Department of the History of Art
Attn.: Graduate Coordinator
900 University Avenue
233A Arts Building
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521
- Are GRE scores really necessary? Yes. The GRE requirement (which is a university requirement, in addition to being a department requirement) cannot be waived. Thus the GRE scores are a necessary part of the application. There is one exception, namely if the applicant is a foreign student who cannot take the GRE in his or her current country of residence. (Also see #9 below.)
- How important are the GRE scores? The GRE scores are one of several factors in the department’s decision about whom to accept. (Also important are: the letters of recommendation, the writing sample, the statement of purpose, and coursework and grades at previous institutions, in particular grades in Art History classes). In addition, the GRE scores are a crucial factor in the university administration’s criteria for awarding financial support.
- What would be considered an average GRE score? ETS, who administers the GRE tests, has changed their scoring system. With the previous scoring system, the minimum GRE score had been 1100 (verbal and quantitative combined). With the new scoring system, the minimum score is 297 (verbal and quantitative combined). If an applicant’s combined scores fall below the minimum, we suggest that the applicant provide a special explanation, e.g., not a native speaker of English; this can be addressed in a sentence or two within the applicant’s personal statement. Typically, a score below the minimum would raise questions regarding an applicant, whereas higher scores will strengthen their application.
- How much is Tuition at UC Riverside? For tuition information, please click here
- Is there anything in addition to, or instead of, GRE scores that is required for foreign applicants? Yes, foreign students need to take the TOEFL and submit their scores. In addition foreign students must submit a Financial Verification. For more information, please read the Graduate Divisions Visa Procedures.
- Who should I contact if I have more questions? Alesha Jaennette the Graduate Coordinator for the Art History department can answer your questions. She can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 951-827-7878.
The Graduate Division allows only very limited funding to the Art History Department for international students, and the department is generally not able to make attractive financial aid packages. Please note that the Masters program in Art History is a two (2) year program and that students who go beyond the normative time will have to pay for additional tuition and fees on their own behalf. If an international student is accepted into the program they (along with the other domestic students within the program) are required to maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA. If a student’s GPA falls below this minimum, the student risks of losing whatever funding they may have been awarded. Please note that tuition and fees per quarter are substantially higher for international students and do not cover living expenses. Also, remember that you must fill out the Financial Verification form to provide evidence that you have adequate monies in order to be admitted.
Applications are expensive—so think carefully about whether it is worth your effort and expense. See more Graduate Program details in the catalog.
Graduate Student Handbook
For a thorough overview of our Graduate Art History Program, please feel free to review our Graduate Student Handbook.
We would like to invite you to visit our campus and learn more about our Graduate Art History program.
We will be offering department tours on:
Tuesday, November 13th
Wednesday, December 5th
Thursday, January 10th
If you are interested in attending a tour, or simply have questions about the program please email Alesha Jaennette at email@example.com.