Graduate Bulletin

Fall 2019

Art History and Criticism

The Graduate Programs in Art History & Criticism at Stony Brook University focus on modern and contemporary art and visual culture.  We aim to produce scholars, critics, curators and practitioners who can address global artistic production through contemporary issues and paradigms.  Media aesthetics, art and technology, public art and social practice, politics of the avant-garde, photography, film and critical curatorial studies are currently areas of departmental research.   We offer a dynamic, interdisciplinary curriculum along with individual mentoring from faculty whose work has won national and international recognition. Students benefit from engagement with the department's studio programs and with faculty and students from other programs including Philosophy, History, Music, Computer Science and Engineering, and are able to pursue Graduate Certificates in Media, Art, Culture and Technology; Art and Philosophy; Creative Writing and Literature; Women’s and Gender Studies, and Writing and Rhetoric, among others

As a small and selective program in a large, public institution we are able to offer graduate study with low tuition costs, teaching experience with a highly diverse undergraduate population, and the full resources of major research university.  Opportunities for curatorial theory and practice are available in conjunction with regular exhibitions at the University’s Staller Center Paul Zuccaire Gallery, the Lawrence Alloway Gallery, and the art gallery at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics. Our proximity to New York City offers extensive opportunities for research, collaboration, and professional networking at world-class museums and galleries. Our students have been successful in securing tenure-track academic positions at universities around the world and at earning internships, fellowships, curatorial positions, and teaching roles at major New York institutions, such as the Whitney Museum, Creative Time, The Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Degree Programs

B.A./M.A. in Art History and Criticism

The B.A./M.A. in Art History and Criticism allows top undergraduate students to apply for admission to the program in the spring semester of their third year.  Admission is limited to students who, by the end of the junior year, have fulfilled no less than 90 credits of coursework, have a 3.0 GPA or higher in all college courses, and a GPA of no less than 3.7 in the ARH major. Letters of recommendation from faculty and a writing sample are required. Accepted students are advised to take a minimum of two graduate courses each semester during their senior year (including electives in humanities and social sciences), completing 12 of the required 36 graduate credits.  They complete all other requirements (the remaining 24 credits, comprehensive exam, thesis, teaching practicum) during their fifth year.

M.A. in Art History and Criticism

The M.A. in Art History and Criticism is a two year 36-credit flexible degree program with a strong emphasis on modern and contemporary art and visual and material culture. In their second year, students must pass a comprehensive exam, and work with a faculty advisor on a written thesis or project that serves as a capstone requirement for the degree.   Part-time study is allowed in this degree program. The M.A. in Art History and Criticism is appropriate preparation for Ph.D. degrees in art history or other fields. Students also move on directly to careers in gallery and museum work, education, publishing, non-profit foundations and business.

Ph.D. in Art History and Criticism

Stony Brook’s Ph.D. program in art history and criticism is designed to encourage students to apply what they have learned at the Master’s level towards more intense and individual research on the doctoral level. The emphasis of the program is on integrating historical and theoretical study into a curriculum focused on an interdisciplinary approach to modern and contemporary art and visual culture. Ph.D. students are also eligible to take courses at other schools in the New York Inter-University Doctoral Consortium including Columbia, NYU, CUNY and Princeton.  The Ph.D. program culminates in the oral defense of a substantial written dissertation on an original topic. Students are not accepted into the Ph.D. program on a part-time basis. This degree is considered essential for those intending to engage in advanced academic research, teaching, and publishing in the field of art history and criticism, and may provide a significant advantage to those entering the professional art world of museums and galleries.

Advanced Graduate Certificate (AGC) in Art and Philosophy (ArtPHIL) For information about this advanced certificate program, please go to

Advanced Graduate Certificate (AGC) in Media, Art, Culture, and Technology

The Advanced Graduate Certificate Program in Media, Art, Culture, and Technology (MACT) offers graduate students an interdisciplinary grounding in the historical and theoretical study of media, art, culture, and technology. The MACT graduate certificate is designed to complement a graduate student’s primary degree by supporting research that traverses traditional academic methods and objects of inquiry in the humanities. Combining faculty with diverse expertise in media, art, culture, and technology, MACT supports work at the dynamic intersections of these evolving fields. Students enrolled in MACT are encouraged to join the MACT email list and to consult the MACT website for ongoing support and information as they move toward completion of the certificate.

Other certificate programs of interest include Creative Writing and Literature, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Writing and Rhetoric.