M.A. in Art History

For students entering the Master's Program in Art History, three semesters of full-time study in residence at McGill University is the requirement for the degree. "Residence" means that the student is enrolled on a full-time basis during this period (the semester is not connected with housing or accommodations).

This designated period of residence represents the minimum time requirements in order to obtain the degree. There is no guarantee that the work for the degree can be completed in this time. Students may register for additional semesters to complete the Program, and most students take 4 semesters (see Time Limitations).

Total credits required to complete the program = 45:

  • ARTH 600 Advanced Pro-Seminar (3 credits) taken the first semester of Year 1.
  • Six graduate-level (3-credit) courses (18 credits total).
    • The candidate is required to pass, with a mark of 65% (B-) or better, all courses that have been designated by the Department as forming a part of her/his program. Two of the six required courses may be taken outside of the program and must be approved by your advisor and the Graduate Program Director. Students are encouraged to consider taking one of their courses in the graduate programs in Art History at other universities in Montreal.
    • Normally only 3 credits at the 500 level are permitted.
    • With the approval of the GPD and supervisor, a student may take 3 credits of Directed Reading (ARTH 630) as part of their MA coursework.
  • 24 credits of thesis research coursework are used to write the M.A. thesis.
    • Before embarking on the M.A. thesis, the student must define the topic with the supervisor; as well, they must submit a thesis proposal for approval by the supervisor. This proposal details the research to be pursued; it defines the argument to be advanced in the M.A. thesis, and indicates the methodology to be employed. The proposal should be logically organized, and should include a preliminary bibliography of primary and secondary material.
    • The MA thesis shall be the result of an extended research project, pursued under supervision of a Department member in Art History. It should be approximately the length of a journal article, around 40-50 pages (not including illustrations and bibliography). The thesis should contain a substantive discussion and display mastery of the particular area of research and relevant scholarship; please consult your supervisor on expectations and format for the thesis.
    • By university policy, the thesis will be evaluated by two reviewers: the supervisor, and an examiner chosen in consultation with the supervisor. Find out more about procedures on thesis examination; for submission guidelines, see below.

MA students who have selected the Graduate Option in Gender and Women's Studies are required to take two courses (6 credits within the total credits that are required for the MA degree); WMST 601 (3 credits) is a required course and the complementary course can be either WMST 602 or another 3 credit course related to gender and women's studies. All course selection must first be approved by the supervisor/Graduate Program Director. 

MA Thesis Submission

Please use the myThesis portal for the initial submission, examination, and final submission of your thesis. You may access myThesis through the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) website. 

GPS provides detailed instructions, including tutorial videos and next steps. 

Timeline: in order to graduate in June, your “final submission” must be no later than April 15. Consequently, your “initial submission should ideally be made at the end of the fall term or early in the winter term. Alternatively, if you work on your thesis through the winter term and only make an initial submission to GPS after the April 15th date, your graduation will be set for October (and you will incur extra fees). 

If you are using images in your thesis, keep in mind issues of copyright. Useful guidelines can be found here: 

Typical MA Timeline

Year in Program Milestones Details
Year 1 Complete the Pro-Seminar and 5 complementary seminars.


  • Meet with your supervisor to discuss your courses and timeline

  • Register for ARTH 600 Advanced Pro-Seminar (3 credits)

  • Register for 2 complementary seminars (6 credits)


  • Register for 3 complementary seminars (9 credits)

  • Begin working on a thesis research proposal


  • Finalize the proposal, do in-depth research, begin writing a first draft of your thesis
Year 2 Complete all coursework and submit thesis.


  • Register for ARTH 698 Thesis Research 1 (12 credits)

  • Register for the final seminar (3 credits)*

  • Work on thesis, which can be submitted to GPS between December 15 and April 15 for a June graduation. Note the April 15th deadline is for the “final submission,” meaning that it has already passed examination


  • Register for ARTH 699 Thesis Research 2 (12 credits)

  • Complete thesis, with the “final submission” to GPS before April 15 for a June graduation

* Please note that MA2 students may register for courses in their final term. However, they must make an arrangement with the professor teaching the course to hand in their final coursework two weeks prior to the April 15th final thesis submission deadline. 


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