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The Master of Arts (MA) in Art History at JCU guides students toward professional mastery of the materials and methods of art history with emphasis on first-hand research in the museums, monuments, and archaeological sites of Rome. The degree can be completed in approximately fifteen months of full-time study, and students receive a degree from John Cabot University, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. This Master of Arts in Art History is the first graduate degree program in art history based entirely in Rome offered by a US-accredited university. The program has a dual focus: the visual cultures of Rome and the Mediterranean across time, from antiquity to the present; and the acquisition of technical skills for primary research. It also stimulates critical perspectives on the history of Roman art worldwide.
Complete online application
Personal statement (600 words)
Writing sample (see Academics)
Official transcripts (see Academics)
Copy of undergraduate degree
GRE scores (see Academics)
3 letters of recommendation (see Academics)
Evidence of English language proficiency
Passport scan (photo page)
Italian privacy consent form
15 months; Fall, Spring, Summer, Fall
Application Closes: March 1
Late decision apps accepted until June 1
Mid August – Early December
Academics: Completed Bachelor’s degree, with at least 12 semester credits in art history, with GPA of at least 3.0 or equivalent.
*contact SAI if you don’t meet requirements
Undergraduate GPA:* 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)
Language:* Italian, French or German reading ability strongly recommended.
Taught by JCU’s international faculty, the degree program can be completed in three semesters of full-time study (Fall-Spring-Fall) and an intervening summer. It unfolds in three phases: a structured Foundation Year (Fall-Spring); a Master’s Exam (Summer); and a Thesis Semester (Fall).
Seminars and courses take place at JCU’s campuses in the centrally-located Trastevere district of Rome and in nearby Roman museums, churches, palaces, monuments, archaeological parks, archives, rare book libraries, restoration labs, study collections, artists’ workshops, public installations, and contemporary art galleries. These venues of visual culture and documentation constitute the laboratory of the degree. Some courses involve travel to other parts of Italy—for example, to Naples, Florence, or Assisi.
Philosophy & Method
Inverting conventional practice, John Cabot University’s MA in Art History begins by scrutinizing material objects and built environments in person, rather than through photographs. With this point of departure, it cultivates visual-contextual analysis and skills for primary research while stimulating alternative perspectives on deeply rooted disciplinary habits. What happens, for instance, when we turn away from comparisons chosen to demonstrate clear patterns and chronological sequences and attend instead to the untidy fragments that emerge from a newly excavated archaeological site? How does the experience of a building in continuous use for two thousand years challenge ideas about historical periodization or the ways objects acquire and convey meaning?
Student Profile & Career Opportunities
The degree is designed to serve as a foundation for art-historical careers in museums, galleries, schools, art consultancies, art publishing houses, and related entities; as preparation for Ph.D. (doctoral) level study in the history of art at other institutions; as continuing education for teachers of art history, history, classical studies, and related subjects; or as career enhancement for current and future professionals in areas where primary research skills and expertise in Roman visual culture offer creative advantages and possibilities for specialization. Examples include library and information science, cultural heritage management, historical fiction and script writing, scenography, art conservation, and game design.
Students receive a degree from John Cabot University, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. This Master of Arts in Art History is the first US-accredited graduate degree program in art history based entirely in Rome.
Seminars and courses for the MA are taught by professors of art history from John Cabot University’s Department of Art History and Studio Art. Faculty members teaching for the MA come from diverse national backgrounds and hold PhDs and other advanced degrees in art history and archaeology from leading institutions, including the Courtauld Institute, the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, the Universities of Oxford, Chicago, Munich, Pennsylvania, and Edinburgh, Duke University, Boston University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. All have a long experience of Rome, of Italy, and of art-historical inquiry.
Faculty research specializations span the chronological range from classical antiquity to the present, concentrating on subjects as diverse as Mannerist painting, ancient Roman portraiture, medieval manuscript illumination, Baroque antiquarianism, nineteenth-century American art criticism, and contemporary photography in Europe and in Africa. Research Seminars are periodically enriched by the participation of prominent guest lecturers from other universities, foreign academies, museums, and learned societies.
Please note the following application deadlines for the 2019/2020 academic year:
Additionally, following is further detail regarding the application requirements:
Students follow the four term structure below. For a full description of the program structure see Art History Master’s Degree.
Foundation Year (Fall & Spring semesters)
By the end of the Foundation Year, students must demonstrate reading knowledge of one of the principal languages of European art history: Italian, French, or German.
Thesis Semester (Fall)
|SAI Program Fees*||USD|
Includes tuition, Master’s degree and SAI Select Services, no housing (see What’s Included).
|Optional / Additional Fees:|
|International Mailing Supplement
Students residing outside the U.S. are charged an international mailing supplement to ensure visa paperwork arrives in a timely manner.
*prices are subject to change
JCU participates in the Title IV Federal Direct Loan Programs for graduate students who are US citizens or Permanent Residents of the US. Please contact SAI to learn more about obtaining a student loan for your Master’s degree. Additionally, JCU offers a number of fellowships, grants, and research assistantships to Master’s Degree students. All students will receive details regarding these opportunities as they arise.
|Budget||Low Est.||High Est.|
|Airfare to/from Rome
Visa and Permit to Stay fees.
|Books, Supplies & Course Fees
||$150 / course||$200 / course|
SAI can provide recommendations.
|$800 / month||$1,500 / month|
Combination of cooking at home and eating out.
|$600 / month||$1,000 / month|
|Personal Expenses||$250 / month||$350 / month|
|Transportation within Rome
Public transportation with some taxi rides.
|$100 / month||$250 / month|
Cost varies greatly by student.
|$300 / month||$1,000 / month|
This is an SAI Select Services Program; it includes the important on-site services!
Pre-departure and Re-entry services
Housing is not included in SAI Select Services Programs. However, your SAI Admissions Counselor will be happy to provide you with information and recommendations for local housing agencies, as well as school-provided apartments. Students who do not have prior housing arrangements should begin speaking with their Admissions Counselor as soon as possible.
Passports should be valid for 3 months after planned departure from Italy.
In accordance with Italian law students studying in Italy for 91 days or more are required to obtain a student visa. Those with Italian/EU citizenship are exempted. Non-US nationals should consult their local Consulate for information on student visa requirements.
Students must appear in person at the Italian Consulate to present their student visa application. Our Student Visa Office is available to assist students in getting ready for the appointment; SAI provides student visa consulting for all our students at no cost.
SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.