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  1. From what I understand--and you should ask the schools themselves, because I can't quote numbers--it's exceedingly rare to get into Columbia from the MA program, and somewhat less rare, but still rare, at IFA (until recently, everyone at IFA was admitted to the MA program and then had to apply to the PhD program, but things have changed, and now people are admitted directly into the MA/PhD program). If you want to be a professor or curator, you'll need a PhD. And for getting into a PhD program, internships and networking are far less important than the quality of work you do, so go to a place that will allow you to write a killer writing sample and cultive relationships with professors who will write you stellar recommendation letters. As I said, you really should talk to current students to gauge the situation at these schools. But my impression, based on only indirect knowledge, is that you'd get far more attention from faculty at BU or Tufts.
  2. What are your career goals? Do you want to get a PhD eventually? For an MA, it doesn't matter all that much where you get your MA, as long as you do well (where you get your PhD is a different story). Both the IFA or Columbia MA programs have reputations as cash cows for the PhD students; and from what I've heard from students there, I wouldn't count on getting too much attention from profs at either place. If BU or Tufts is giving you funding, then it's a no-brainer, unless you're independently wealthy; you should never go into debt for grad work in a PhD. I also think you would get more attention at the Boston schools, but it depends on the prof. Have you spoken to potential advisors? Whose work do you most admire? Who do you click with? The most important thing at the point is finding a good mentor. Talk to people--professors and current students.
  3. If you want to be a curator these days, you have to get a PhD. While in the program, you should intern, or continue to work as a curatorial assistant, and try to get fellowships in museums. You might get a curatorial job while you're ABD (though you'd probably have to finish before you were promoted to Associate Curator), but your chances of moving up are vanishingly small without getting a PhD. I would encourage you to talk to your supervisors at your museum for advice.
  4. This is very difficult to answer without more information, but bottomline: don't go anywhere without funding.
  5. It depends on the artist, and the art historian, and the period in question. I wouldn't say either of you is exactly right, but one could safely say that, as a rule, art historians and artists have different priorities in looking and studying.
  6. Just remember: getting in is the easy part. It only gets worse.
  7. What makes you assume that this would be an issue? Assuming your grades and recs are good--especially if can get one from at least one art hist prof--your background should not be an issue for any program, in Europe or the USA. Emphasize your museum experience in your statement, as well as how your experience with history informs how your study of art. The leap from history to art history is not very big, and many programs actually prefer a background in a neighboring discipline. Don't close off options already!
  8. Actually, now that I think about it, there are plenty of baroque specialists at top programs: Nicola Suthor at Yale, Felipe Pereda at Harvard, Todd Olson at Berkeley, Diane Bodart at Columbia, among others...
  9. Not even most people from Harvard or Columbia find work at a "top school," so aim as high as you can. Most PhD programs are funded, at least for five years; do not go to a non-funded program. Unfortunately, there aren't too many people who specialize in Baroque art at top programs, but they some people out there. Keep in mind you could also work with Renaissance specialists. As you decide, think about these questions: Whose work do you admire? Whose methodological perspective and theoretical concerns align with yours? Are you interested in Northern or Southern Europe? Check out the faculty pages at various programs. See whose work speaks to you. Read a lot, and be ready to articulate a coherent research program in your personal statement. Do you have any languages? If not, begin asap, in whatever area you're most interested. Most importantly, talk to your current professors. They'll be able to guide you.
  10. No one cares where you do your language training. They care that you have it. Provided that the community college program is as rigorous as the program at the more prestigious school, go with that. Summer is the perfect time to brush up your language skills, and, pace betsy303, you can learn quite a bit during that time. The better your language skills are, the better your chances are getting in somewhere.
  11. I was admitted many moons ago (i.e 6-9 years ago). I didn't have an MA, but I did have an excellent GPA from an elite SLAC. My math and writing scores were not remarkable but my verbal scores were in the 99th percentile. What matters, beyond excellent grades and a pedigree, is having a coherent research agenda and clear understanding of the stakes in your proposed area of study. Some people need an MA to get to that point; others don't.
  12. Of course it's possible! And you would be doing yourself a huge disservice not to apply. You are, it's true, at a disadvantage, but if your writing sample and personal statement are top notch, you stand a decent chance. You can't know until you apply, and neither do your professors. I would also encourage you to apply for terminal masters programs (funded ones)--that would give you a better platform for apply to top tier phd programs later on.
  13. I dare say the answer is not as straight forward as the previous posters make it out to be. Iconology is not really irreconcilable with a semiotic approach. Semiology is a massive discipline and in many respects encompasses iconology, as they are both concerned with the meaning, natural and constructed, of visual form. To answer this question, you'd need to say what understanding of semiotics you were working from.
  14. The thing about the IFA MA program is that it's huge. Students tend to not get the attention they would otherwise, especially since there are also PhD students present. Better to go to a smaller program where there are only MA students. Also, anecdotally, having been around for a number of years, I've never met anyone at a top school (expect for the IFA, obviously), who did an MA at the IFA. So, I would definitely inquire about their placement. Yes, there are some very good scholars at UNC. And it is a good program; but it is a step down from Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Yale, Berkeley, Chicago, Hopkins, Stanford, IFA, Northwestern, Penn, CUNY, and a few more. As I've been saying repeatedly on this forum, good is not good enough, given the job market. You have to go to the best of the best because you will be competing for even not so great jobs with the best of the best. Some people from UNC have gone on to good, if not great, jobs, but, sadly, it seems not the majority. What makes you think you'll beat the odds? It's people's natural instinct to say they will--but you really have to think about this. A strong belief that you will somehow beat the odds and get a job is not enough. In any case, as I said, art history, no matter how well you do (unless you become a museum director) will never pay enough to make going into debt worthwhile. Debt might seem like not such a big deal now, when you're young. But how about when you're in your 40s trying to buy a home, start a life, save money for retirement? If UNC will pay your way, then wonderful: f you work your butt off and publish and win major fellowships and do significant work, then you will get a job. But otherwise, if you can't get that guarantee then don't do it.
  15. Please, for God's sake, do not go into debt to pursue a PhD in art history. That debt will follow you for a long time, even for a two-year masters. (It would be totally insane to go anywhere but a fully funded PhD program, unless your parents are footing the bill; and even then, it's not good for a variety of reasons). The IFA program in art history is cash cow for their PhD program. I don't know much about UNC's MA program, but it is middling. I think you need to think long and hard about your future. Maybe try to strengthen your application and try again next year. Because, to be perfectly honest--and I don't say this to be bitchy; this is entirely in your own interest--neither option is very good.