Studying art history at the graduate level allows you to earn either a master's degree or a doctorate. This type of program isn't as common as others in the Chicago area, but you can still find a few locations for a graduate program.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
Schools in the Chicago Area Offering Graduate Art History Programs in Chicago
University of Chicago
The main graduate program for art history at the University of Chicago results in a Ph.D. After fulfilling your core research requirements and forming a committee, you will submit and defend a dissertation. Earning your doctorate should take about seven years, but the university is open to students needing more or less time to finish. There is an opportunity to earn a second Ph.D. at the university, either through a standing joint program with the theater and performance studies department or through a customized program designed by you and approved by the Humanities Division. If you aren't interested in earning a doctorate, the school also offers a Master of Arts in Humanities. Art History is one of the focus areas you can pursue in the master's degree.
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
At SAIC, you can find a two-year Master of Arts in Modern and Contemporary Art History program. You'll have access to many libraries and research facilities while you earn the 36 credits required for this degree. Faculty members specialize in such areas as architectural history and new media. The program is designed to be finished in two years, but you are allowed up to four to finish all of your coursework. A specialized track in design history is also available to all students admitted into the master's program. Course topics might include biopolitics, disability and design, and the use of space in architecture.
Northwestern University is located in Evanston, about 15 miles north of Chicago. There, you can pursue a Ph.D. in Art History. The full-time program takes five years to complete, and it includes full financial aid with additional funding for research and travel. You can also participate in a seminar overseas and receive mentoring as well as job market assistance. Some of the doctoral-level specializations in art history at Northwestern include Asian, Early Modern, and Medieval art.
University of Illinois, Chicago
UI's Chicago campus has several options for art history students seeking a graduate degree. Two traditional master's degrees are available: a Master of Arts in Art History and a Master of Arts in Museum and Exhibition Studies. You'll learn theory and historical analysis in the art history master's degree program, while the museum and exhibition studies program places a greater focus on the social and political contexts of art institutions. UI Chicago also has a Ph.D. in Art History program, where you can earn the credentials you need to teach art history at the college level.
Admissions Requirements for Art History Graduate Programs in Chicago
Admission to a graduate program in art history requires a bachelor's degree. Some programs require you to submit a portfolio of your previous writings in art history, such as your previous final papers or something you have submitted to a journal. Transcripts can usually be sent electronically or by mail directly from one university or college to another. You can also include a resume as an optional addition to your completed application. Letters of recommendation should be written by instructors who have seen your potential as a graduate student.
Graduate art history programs in Chicago allow you to pursue your passion through specializations in a particular time period or region and result in a master's or doctoral degree.