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. A few extra courses may be taken, but it is then the responsibility of the student to see that these courses are clearly marked "not required" on their registration form.
    • Two of these 6 courses can be taken outside of Art History but at McGill. All courses taken outside of Art History require the approval of the Graduate Program Director, in consultation with the thesis supervisor and the professor teaching the seminar.
    • 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, he or she must submit a thesis proposal for approval by the supervisor. This proposal details the research to be pursued, defines the particular argument to be advanced in the M.A. thesis, and indicates the methodology to be employed. It should be logical and well 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 member of the Department. 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 departmental policy, the thesis will be evaluated by two reviewers: the supervisor, and an examiner chosen in consultation with the supervisor. For procedures on the examination of theses, see: https://www.mcgill.ca/gps/thesis/thesis-guidelines/examination; for submission guidelines, see below.

MA students who have selected the Graduate Option in Gender and Women's Studies are required to take 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 GPS website:


Detailed instructions, including tutorial videos, can be found here: https://www.mcgill.ca/gps/thesis/thesis-guidelines/initial-submission/next-steps-masters

In terms of the timeline, in order to graduate in June, your “final submission” must be no later than April 15, which means that your “initial submission,” ideally, should be 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



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.



Back to top