Pratt sculpture garden

Mission Statement

The mission of graduate studies in the History of Art and Design Department is to provide students with the skills and knowledge to pursue careers as art and design historians and professionals in museums, galleries, and libraries, or to pursue graduate work at the doctorate level. Through comprehensive study of global art and design within historical and cultural contexts and intensive research and scholarship in specialized areas, students develop a critical understanding of the field as well as research and analytical skills. Graduates demonstrate excellence in independent and critical thinking and understanding of the historic roles and responsibilities of art and design. Internships at museums, libraries, non-profit art organizations, and galleries provide opportunities for students to work in professional areas of their interests and prepare for future careers.

The Program's Structure

The History of Art and Design Department develops courses, organizes excursions, and establishes internships to take advantage of our extensive working relationship with the city's museums, galleries, and cultural organizations.

Dual M.A./M.S.L.I.S. or M.A./M.F.A.

Dual master's degrees with Fine Arts or Library Science are available resulting in a M.A./M.F.A. or M.S.L.I.S./M.A. degree. For these programs 30 (instead of 36) credits of art and design history are required.

Museum Studies Certificate

The 15-credit Advanced Certificate in Museum Studies provides learning opportunities for students who wish to acquire the essential knowledge and skills needed to engage with the museum world as professionals. The curriculum features experiential learning and field research through the two-semester museum practicum/internship giving students hands-on experience in current museum practice while working in NYC’s leading cultural institutions. Taught by an expert faculty, coursework brings focus to exhibitions, curation and conservation. Students obtain positions as a result of their internships and the knowledge and skill sets they acquire in the program.

Materials Focus

Art's historical concern with materials and techniques exists naturally in connection with the programs in the practice of art. This is an emphasis in all our courses, but takes specific form in our required Chemistry of Materials, Techniques, and Conservation course taught in collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum, which has one of the oldest and best-equipped conservation laboratories in the country. In addition, issues related to conservation problems in Venetian art history are explored with the help of local experts on site in our Venice program.

Learning Outcomes

  • Graduates command of a body of knowledge that describes the forms and creation of valued and acknowledged works of art.
  • Graduates have a historical understanding of subjects tied to changes in social, political, and economic contexts through time.
  • Graduates demonstrate an understanding of the discipline’s tools and methods and are able to apply these to a specialized body of information.
  • Graduates are able to read and translate texts in French, or German, or another research language.
  • Graduates achieve the ability to research and write an in-depth thesis on a topic of their choice.

Degree Requirements

Applicants must demonstrate skills of observation and description, analysis and criticism, the potential to successfully complete the course work, and to design and present a graduate thesis of merit. Undergraduate study in art and/or design history is encouraged, and at least an introduction in those fields should be included in the completed undergraduate curriculum. The online application must contain a personal statement describing the selection of Pratt and motivation for the degree, a writing sample demonstrating analytic and communication skills, and recently earned scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE code 2669). Applicants whose first language is not English must submit results of the TOEFL exam. Competence in a research language other than English must be demonstrated prior to submission of the thesis. For more specific information, please see: Graduate Departmental Requirements.

See History of Art and Design, MA Curriculum Overview and Yearly Plan of Study