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MA from an art school vs university?


ArtSheep

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Hello all, 

My application to Columbia was rejected today. I am wait-listed by the Courtauld and have received offer from SAIC of a dual master program. I hope to teach at university when I finish my study, ideally after I study a PhD as well. However, unlike other universities, the SAIC does not offer PhD programs, and it seems to me that it is not easy to apply to other universities' PhD program if I graduate from an art school. Besides, I have been searching for reviews of art history programs at art schools to no avail. What are the pros and cons of studying an MA at an art school, not university? How does it affect my prospect if I'd like to teach at universities?

 

Many thanks!

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Hello Josephine B, 

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I would like to concentrate on Modern/Contemporary and I have been focusing on this field since my undergraduate studies. 

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I know several people at the SAIC's art history program at this very minute, and the one consistent complaint that I hear over and over again is that they almost never actually look at art, it's almost all theory all the time. Also, apparently they don't get grades? This boggles my state-school trained mind, but those are things that I would keep in mind.

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Thanks Borden,

 

I am actually an international student from Asia, so I am not so sure about problem with not getting grades (eventhough we do have a grading system here). Does that affect applications to future studies (phd)/ graduate jobs?

 

If you can expand your comment on that, it would be very much appreciated.

 

And have you heard anything from your friends about the attention that they receive from the art history professors there? (I am actually a little fan of James Elkins, so it would be great to know about the teacher-student relationship there!)  

 

Thank you :)

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Thanks Borden,

 

I am actually an international student from Asia, so I am not so sure about problem with not getting grades (eventhough we do have a grading system here). Does that affect applications to future studies (phd)/ graduate jobs?

 

If you can expand your comment on that, it would be very much appreciated.

 

And have you heard anything from your friends about the attention that they receive from the art history professors there? (I am actually a little fan of James Elkins, so it would be great to know about the teacher-student relationship there!)  

 

Thank you :)

 

From what I understand is it's hard to translate an entire system of pass/fails into a GPA, and that can potentially cause difficulties if applying to another school later. As for the amount of attention they get from professors, I'm not sure. The biggest complaints I hear are about "We never look at art ever" and "The undergrads take up too much time in seminar."

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From what I understand is it's hard to translate an entire system of pass/fails into a GPA, and that can potentially cause difficulties if applying to another school later. As for the amount of attention they get from professors, I'm not sure. The biggest complaints I hear are about "We never look at art ever" and "The undergrads take up too much time in seminar."

 

I can understand it must be difficult (or not even possible) to translate the entire system. But I guess for Ma going on to Phd, much more other factors count than grades in comparison to Ba to grad school? (However, I am not entirely sure about the American situation.)

 

I will say "We never look at art ever" feels more of a subjective experience as the AIC is just right by the classrooms.

 

As a surprise to me is that the seminars of the courses are shared with the undergrads?

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I know when I applied to PhD programs this round, I had to put my MA GPA on every single application, so your mileage may vary on that. I have been corrected: Art History gets grades, none of the other MA/MFA programs get standard grades.

 

Yeah, the AIC is right here, but if your class isn't structured to involve a direct discussion of objects, and you want to work on object-based history, that seems like a huge disadvantage. What I keep getting told (and I'm asking as I type this) is that it is HEAVILY theory and not as much HISTORY. They do say they get a fair amount of attention from the professors. There are mixed-level classes, but that happened at my more traditional MA program as well. Also apparently James Elkins "knows everything about everything but I think he's in Visual/Critical Studies."

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Thanks Borden for the very helpful comment! Your help is very much appreciated :)

For me, (also looking at what I have written in the past), I will say I am very fond of the philosophical/ theoretical aspect in studying this subject. I will also say it is to me the biggest attraction in studying the modern/ contemporary. And since the aura of the art objects themselves are pretty much lost in the contemporary, I am not surprised that some classes aren't structured to involve a direct discussion of objects (which is still important but not the foremost important in mod/cont I will say). 
 

By "more traditional MA program," do you refer to a MA in Art History (in general art history, not only in modern/cont) or a MA from an university? Any of your friends feel like that it is likely to be held against them if they apply for a PhD programme with a "less traditional MA"? 

 

Thanks again and good luck to your applications to PhD programs!

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