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Hi there, so I am currently trying to apply to an MA program in Art History. Currently, I'm looking at NYU, Williams, Bard, UPenn, SAIC, and Columbia. I'm getting a bit nervous since my BA was in Anthropology with a minor in Classical Civilizations. My focus was in Roman and Greek Art so I did take a good amount of art history classes. The problem is I want to switch over to contemporary art with a focus on social movements. Is that going to be hard to achieve? Also would anyone happen to know any professors/programs that center on contemporary art with a focus on social movements? I know that NYU and UPenn seem to have pretty good professors and courses that have such focus, but was just wondering of more. Since first finding this site I keep on hearing a lot about Boston University and Courtauld. 

 

Thanks for the responses!

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Hi @Tatiana135, I think that going for an MA with a BA in Anthropology is not a stretch, even if you are changing time periods.  I also think the time direction you are shifting will work in your favor - contemporary will not require ancient Greek or Latin, so you won't be behind in language study.  I imagine you would speak about how your anthropology perspective will allow you to approach the social movements you expect to study as both an art historian and a social historian.  And that your Classics background, I would guess, has given you a concrete set of tools to closely analyze objects and situate them in historical context.   It's all about how you frame it in your application essays.

Is NYU accepting MA applications this year? I've heard that their PhD app is closed due to COVID.  Contemporary is certainly not my area of specialty, but is Tufts somewhere you have considered?  I would also say -- do you have plans for either an academic or curatorial career path, or plans to get a PhD next?  Many of these programs may have more of a slant towards academia or museum work, which is something to consider as you finalize your list.  Good luck!

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6 hours ago, venusofwillendork said:

Hi @Tatiana135, I think that going for an MA with a BA in Anthropology is not a stretch, even if you are changing time periods.  I also think the time direction you are shifting will work in your favor - contemporary will not require ancient Greek or Latin, so you won't be behind in language study.  I imagine you would speak about how your anthropology perspective will allow you to approach the social movements you expect to study as both an art historian and a social historian.  And that your Classics background, I would guess, has given you a concrete set of tools to closely analyze objects and situate them in historical context.   It's all about how you frame it in your application essays.

Is NYU accepting MA applications this year? I've heard that their PhD app is closed due to COVID.  Contemporary is certainly not my area of specialty, but is Tufts somewhere you have considered?  I would also say -- do you have plans for either an academic or curatorial career path, or plans to get a PhD next?  Many of these programs may have more of a slant towards academia or museum work, which is something to consider as you finalize your list.  Good luck!

Hi @venusofwillendork, thanks so much for responding! I do already have an idea of how I can frame myself as a unique candidate with my background, I was just wondering if that would still work, so thank you for giving me some hope. And I have emailed NYU and asked them if they were accepting MA's this year and they are, it's just PhD's that they are not accepting so I got lucky with that. I can look at Tufts if it does have a strong contemporary program! And I am mainly going for curatorial work. I really rather not stay in academia. I guess when it comes to looking at programs, how do you know which ones would be stronger for curatorial work? Or would you need to contact the program/professors? As for my plan I rather work a little bit after MA, but if it's better to go straight for a PhD then I'll do that.

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Hey @Tatiana135, it sounds like you're precisely on the right track then!  And hooray about NYU -- I didn't realize they were accepting MAs this year.  Great news for you!

I have heard particularly good things about Williams, Columbia, and Tufts for curatorial goals.  I think that's more of a subjective aspect, but when I applied, I looked for a slant in the language of the program's description and in placements of recent alumni. Do they require certain coursework in museum studies towards the degree, or do they also offer a museum studies program where you could take certain classes?  I also asked professors and grad students when I spoke to them.  As someone who wants to go into academia, it wasn't as essential for me, since professors could help me understand how they became professors.  Decent faculty should be able to guide you to a curatorial placement anyway, but as the job market is already so tight, I wanted to know what kind of alt-ac and professional development options they already offered.

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