Students interested in the art history of Islam can pursue study at the master's or doctoral levels from several different institutions. Typically, students in these programs receive broad training in art history and specialize in Islamic art through electives and research. Find out about foreign language requirements, course topics and other program expectations below.
Master of Arts vs. Doctor of Philosophy in Islamic Art History
Master of Arts in Islamic Art History
At the master's level, students can earn a Master of Arts (MA) in Art History and pursue a field of study in Islamic art or the art and architecture of Islam. Some of these programs may be available in full- and part-time formats and can usually be completed in 2 years when taken full-time. These programs may require around 30 credits for completion and typically require a thesis or final master's paper and sufficient knowledge in 1 or 2 foreign languages, depending on the program. Students in these programs may have the opportunity to participate in various research and field projects in the field, visit museums and take coursework in topics like the methods and practices of art history, art and craft traditions, material culture and more. Graduates of these MA programs may pursue study at the doctoral level or take positions as researchers, exhibition managers, curators and other museum or gallery positions.
Doctor of Philosophy in Islamic Art History
Students may also pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Art History with special instruction or a field of study in Islamic art. These degree programs typically take more than 4 years to complete as students work on their dissertation and typically complete comprehensive exams. Doctoral students in these programs are also usually expected to complete teaching responsibilities and have knowledge in 2 foreign languages. Coursework for these degree programs vary greatly based on a student's research interests, major and minor area of study, but some programs may require students to take a range of courses prior to a particular time period and courses after that time period, while other programs may divide courses by region and time periods. Graduates of PhD programs in Islamic art history may work as postsecondary educators, researchers or curators at museums or galleries.
Common Entrance Requirements
Admission to graduate degree programs in Islamic art history is very competitive as most programs offer limited spots in the program and/or provide funding for accepted students. Applicants should have at least a bachelor's degree, and although it does not need to be in art history, most programs expect students to have a background and prior coursework in the field. Most programs also suggest that students have knowledge of at least 1 foreign language before applying. Typically, students applying to these programs will need to take the GRE and include their transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and a writing sample. Some programs may also ask for a resume or CV and may encourage students to talk with faculty members of the program about research interests and/or visit the campus and the department.
Students can earn master's or doctoral degrees in art history and specialize in Islamic art. These degree programs prepare students for similar careers and usually require a final paper, but the programs vary in length and additional requirements.