Dilemma: George Washington U. vs. U. of Iowa - Art History - The GradCafe Forums
Jump to content

Dilemma: George Washington U. vs. U. of Iowa


Recommended Posts

Hello all, 

I am new to the forum and I was wondering if I could get some advice on school choices as the April 15th decision deadline approaches.  


I got into both the University of Iowa and George Washington University's programs with basically full rides to both.  


The University of Iowa offered me 4 years of funding, plus TA stipend and health (that is 2 years for an MA, and then 2 more years if I am accepted to the PhD program).  


George Washington University offered me the same amount of aid for two years, a TA position and tuition remission, etc...  


I am interested in going into museum work or teaching.  My interests are 18th and 19th century european art and architecture.  I have a specific interest in art from the WWII era.


I thought GWU would be a great school to be at for entering into the Museum field, but I am wondering how it compares to the University of Iowa's Art History program in quality and whether I am better off just going for the PhD right away at the U of I.  Also, it seems most of the faculty at GWU are Americanists and the professors at Iowa seem to be more diverse, well-known, etc...    


Opinions?  Suggestions?  I need to give the schools my decision really soon!


Thank you! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got my MA at GWU in Art History. I wrote my thesis on American Art. It was suggested to me before I went that the faculty there are somewhat disinterested in the students and I would agree with this statement. The Americanist when I was there, Bjelajac, is a nice man, but his focus within the field is on Freemasonry and you will hear about that ad nauseum in his classes. To the point that you will get frustrated and want to throw his hugely overpriced (he assigns his own books and structures class in such a way that you have to buy them) books at him because you are so sick of hearing about it. He gave one of my classmates crap for not using his book as a reference in a paper on an unrelated topic. Several other professors there have done the same. The woman who taught 19th century Europe, Robinson, also nice, lectured from notes that were so old they were yellow. She may have retired since then/be planning on it soon, but don't expect recent theory or publications to be included. They advertised themselves as closely connected to the museums in the area, but I only knew a couple of people who worked there, one of whom was in museum studies not art history. Their MA is structured so that you have to take one seminar in each area. Jacks, the Renaissance professor, is notoriously difficult, pissy, etc. If you are an older student who isn't bothered by teachers who sometimes deliberately try to make you feel/look stupid, then you'd be fine. He didn't bother me much, I thought he was pretty childish, but the majority of the students there do not like him and with good reason. Everyone loves Barbara von Barghahn, she teaches Baroque Art, and she is lovely. I don't know who is teaching in the area that you want to work on, as there have been some retirements/new hires since I went there. If you are interested in teaching, I would recommend a PhD program. If I had a do-over I would have gone straight to a PhD program from undergrad and saved some money. The area is fantastic though, I absolutely loved it, and all the museums are free which is awesome. I don't know much about Iowa, other than they used to kick ass for African Art. I don't even know if that is still true. But Dorothy Johnson is there, and she is amazing. I would go there (or just about anywhere) just to work with her. If I were given a choice between the two, I would choose Iowa no question. I'm not a fan of small towns, and I would still go with Iowa for quality of faculty, resources, etc. (Does GW cover insurance? Because when I was there they didn't and it was hugely expensive.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Second: Dorothy Johnson is an incredible scholar, especially if you are interested in Academic art. I'm not familiar with GWU to give comment, but I will say that DC is ridiculous expensive to live in

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.