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Hi everyone! I'm a Visual Arts/Visual Studies major at Duke, and I'm considering going slightly off track for grad school to pursue a Masters in Art History.

My interest areas are Asian Art, Film, and Photography. My senior thesis will either be on Japanese photography or Korean cinema. My GPA is 3.85 (not sure if this is relevant).

Williams College
Tufts University
Boston University
Syracuse University
Tulane University
Notre Dame University
Case Western Reserve University
University of Delaware
University of California - Riverside
University of Wisconsin - Madison
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Columbia University (no funding, but can commute)
New York University (no funding, but can commute)
Hunter College (ambiguous funding, but can commute)
Stony Brook University (in state tuition + can commute)

My main concern would be the "value gained" from these schools. I'm applying only to schools that have funding, but I still want to make sure that they are reputable MA programs and have strong placements. And because I haven't decided whether I want to continue onto the PhD or not (I suppose no one really knows for sure until you get there), I don't want to shell out tuition and application fees for something that won't be a worthwhile investment.

Are there any schools that you guys recommend? Are there any I should add or remove from this list? Thanks so much!

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Williams and Tufts seem to be popular programs both in terms of funding and placements (doctoral and/or curatorial). Ergo, there will be much gained from those programs. IMO Delaware, Boston, UMass-Amherst, and Wisconsin-Madison are fairly well-respected programs, but for your area--I think--Boston would be a good choice, as they have both Chinese and Japanese specialists along with an Islamicist. NYU and Columbia are good programs, if you want to shell out the money to attend them. There's also the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, which offers a terminal M.A. program, though, I'm not sure they have a faculty member specializing in East Asia.

Might I add the University of British Columbia as a possible destination. The school offers a terminal M.A. and there happen to be numerous scholars studying Asia not only in the Department of Art History, but also in Asian Studies, History, and Anthropology. Ignacio Adriasola, the Japanese specialist, is--incidentally--a Duke alumnus as well. Millie Creighton in Anthropology might also be a potential committee member. Although, the department at UBC is in flux, as the Chinese art historian was denied tenure and other senior faculty approach retirement. As for funding, M.A. students are generally awarded some form of funding in Canada either as entering fellowships or teaching assistantships. 

I hope this helps. 

Edited by equestrian19
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Thanks so much equestrian! I've looked into their program and it sounds very interesting. And even without funding, their tuition for international students is much cheaper than American schools, haha. I've added a couple of schools to the list:

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
University of Texas - Austin
University of British Columbia

This list is obviously by no means final (I'd most likely take a gap year or two between undergrad and grad school anyways). Which is why I'd really appreciate your guys' help on narrowing down this list of schools.

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I think a gap year or two is a good idea; that's what I did.

Wisconsin is a great program with some great faculty members. (They really have almost all bases covered, chronologically and geographically speaking.) However, the university is kind of going through it apropos to its budget. (If you're not familiar, Google it.) And I'm not sure if they fund their MA students anymore; I'd check with the students. And I think that Boston only funds its doctoral students. Notre Dame, from what I've heard, may freeze their MA program, and I don't think anyone there works in your area.

I've heard nothing but good things about UMass. They have an East Asian specialist, Christine Ho, but I think that she specializes in Chinese art. But it is a fully-funded program, and you'd have the opportunity to take classes at any of the other colleges part of the Five Colleges Consortium. I'd reach out to them anyway. And equestrian19 listed some more good programs to consider.

Good luck!

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Wisconsin (along with Minnesota, I bleievE) have really outstanding Asian studies programs. Don't just look at the art history department, but look at other related disciplines that you might want to take coursework in as well.  So many historians!

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I'd suggest taking Notre Dame off your list. They haven't been accepting applications for at least 2 application cycles.  While they have a modern/contemporary person, she is untenured, and I haven't heard of anyone from that department getting tenure in the last decade or so. Furthermore, they don't have anyone or any departmental interest in Asian (East Asian or South Asian) art. Who knows what will happen to their Art History MA...

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On 6/29/2016 at 2:08 PM, Janrod said:

Hi everyone! I'm a Visual Arts/Visual Studies major at Duke, and I'm considering going slightly off track for grad school to pursue a Masters in Art History.

My interest areas are Asian Art, Film, and Photography. My senior thesis will either be on Japanese photography or Korean cinema. My GPA is 3.85 (not sure if this is relevant).

Williams College
Tufts University
Boston University
Syracuse University
Tulane University
Notre Dame University
Case Western Reserve University
University of Delaware
University of California - Riverside
University of Wisconsin - Madison
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Columbia University (no funding, but can commute)
New York University (no funding, but can commute)
Hunter College (ambiguous funding, but can commute)
Stony Brook University (in state tuition + can commute)

My main concern would be the "value gained" from these schools. I'm applying only to schools that have funding, but I still want to make sure that they are reputable MA programs and have strong placements. And because I haven't decided whether I want to continue onto the PhD or not (I suppose no one really knows for sure until you get there), I don't want to shell out tuition and application fees for something that won't be a worthwhile investment.

Are there any schools that you guys recommend? Are there any I should add or remove from this list? Thanks so much!

I would suggest that in addition to funding, you should also give weight to whether the program only offers the MA or also has the PhD. I think that you will get the most "value" from a MA-only program. The funding will likely be better, the opportunities to interact with faculty and build up substantial relationships will be greater, and you will likely also have the possibility of being a TA, to get a little teaching experience in, or be substantively involved as an intern in a campus or nearby museum. There's no consensus on this, but I, and others, believe the IFA and Columbia MA programs in particular to be cash cows that fund the PhD students, but with lesser results for the MAs themselves. If I am advising several PhD students who are applying for prestigious fellowships, networking, finishing the diss., and ready to go out into the big bad world, I'm going to be spending more time with them, not worrying so much about my MA cohort. At an MA-only program, you are the functional equivalent of a PhD student. If you choose not to continue into a PhD program, I think the terminal MA also looks better, easier to get around the "why didn't you continue" question. 

On this list, without knowing exactly which faculty you could study with, I'd be interested in Williams, UC-Riverside, UMass Amherst, Hunter, and maybe Tufts and UT-Austin. Some might also argue for Chicago's MAPH, but I'm not convinced about it. I'd take Wisconsin off the list, not only because it has a PhD program, but also because the governor has basically defunded it and threatened to do away with tenure, people are jumping ship. I do know that Williams seems to be boosting their offerings in non-Western across the board lately, with a couple of new hires, and the Clark and the Williams museum have some good Japanese and Asian collections, while being at UC-Riverside would put you in striking distance of some of the largest Korean and Japanese populations in the US, with great museum collections to match. 

Good luck!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you everyone for the amazing input! Does anyone happen to have any information about the masters program at UC Davis? Apparently they offer stipends and tuition remissions, and seem to have a decent Asian art faculty there.

Edited by Janrod
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