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University of Pittsburgh    
2021-2022 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Apr 20, 2024
2021-2022 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

History of Art and Architecture, MA (for admitted PhD students only)

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General requirements

The University of Pittsburgh’s PhD program in History of Art and Architecture (HAA) provides close mentoring from internationally renowned scholars dedicated to maintaining and building on the program’s tradition of excellence and inclusivity.  Students in our graduate program enjoy five years of fully funded support regardless of whether they enter with a BA or an MA degree. Because ours is solely a PhD program, we do not admit applicants seeking a terminal MA degree, nor do we offer advanced degrees in Architectural Practice or Design. Students entering without an MA in the discipline from another approved institution are expected to complete an MA degree in the second year of our program as a stepping-stone in their progress toward the PhD. 

Six credits (two courses) may be transferred from another approved graduate program.


In the case of students who did not earn an MA degree in history of art and architecture at another institution prior to entering our program, the MA is typically granted at the end of the second year of study as a required step toward the PhD. The MA degree requires a total of 30 graduate-level credits including:

  • HAA 2005 (Methods).
  • HAA 2007 (Historiography).
  • a minimum of 3 additional HAA graduate seminars.
  • One graduate-level cognate course outside HAA.
  • HAA 2000 Research and Thesis MA Degree (up to 6 credits).
  • at least one research language certified.
  • an MA paper passed by majority vote of the graduate faculty.

Language Requirement

Competency in languages other than English is necessary for advanced degree work in our program. Admitted students are expected to demonstrate competency in a research language other than English before or shortly after beginning coursework; the language chosen should be appropriate for their area of study. Native and/or heritage speakers of a language other than English fulfill this requirement if their competency sufficiently facilitates research in their chosen field. All other applicants are strongly encouraged to have at least two years/four semesters of college-level instruction in the research language, with a grade of B+ or better, or equivalent knowledge prior to admission. Certification in a second research language relevant to the student’s area of study and professional goals is expected for award of the PhD.

The MA Paper

The MA paper is a 25-to 45-page paper with an original argument based on original research. The paper functions as a demonstration of the student’s ability to carry out research and writing of PhD caliber. Ideally, it will be based on a seminar paper written in the first year, which is then reworked and polished over the following summer and fall. In some cases, with the approval of a faculty advisor, the student may embark on a new paper not already written in a seminar.

It must be submitted by a deadline in January of the student’s fourth semester.

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