Skip to main content


Department of History of Art        

4+1 Combined B.A./M.A. Program

This program will allow outstanding students of the History of Art and Architecture to complete a BA and MA in five years. The MA is a valuable qualification for museum and gallery work, heritage management and preservation, or professional school. Furthermore, it is excellent preparation for students who wish to explore the possibility of pursuing a PhD in history of art, architecture, and visual culture. 


The program is designed for current major and minors in History of Art, with History of Art and cumulative GPAs of 3.50 or better. Students in other programs with significant coursework in History of Art may be eligible; please consult the Director of Graduate Studies. As a “4+1” Master’s program, it is currently open only to Vanderbilt undergraduates. Vanderbilt has a Master’s program designed especially for part-time adult students in Middle Tennessee. For more information, please consult the Master of Liberal Arts & Science webpage.


The 4+1 program is available to current Vanderbilt undergraduate students majoring or minoring in History of Art, as well as students in related fields who have completed significant coursework in History of Art. Accepted students receive registration priority in their senior year in order to complete their BA and begin MA requirements. The MA requires 30 credit hours of graduate-level coursework and a Qualifying Paper. Typically, a 4+1 student will work closely with the undergraduate advisor to ensure that all BA requirements will be fulfilled, and then register for 3 to 6 credit hours of graduate coursework in the senior year, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. Most 4+1 students engage in research, internships, or travel in the summer between their 4th and 5th years. The average load per semester as a graduate student in the fifth year is 9-12 credit hours. 


Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis between September 1 and January 15. The application process should be initiated in the junior year or by the end of the first semester of the senior year at the very latest.

Prospective applicants shall consult with Associate Dean Martin Rapisarda, who oversees post-baccalaureate programs, as well as the undergraduate advisor, and the Director of Graduate Studies in History of Art. 

1. Each applicant must submit the “Petition to Apply to the Combined BA//MA (4+1) Degree Program,” approved by her/his undergraduate advisor. Upon departmental and administrative approval, the student will be provisionally accepted into the combined degree program pending completion of all undergraduate requirements. []

2. Applicants must also formally apply to the Graduate School by the annual deadline of 15 January of their senior year, in order to achieve graduate student status by the beginning of the fifth year of study.

The application should include:

      • Undergraduate transcript(s)

      • Statement of purpose (1-2 pages)

      • Resume or curriculum vitae

      • Writing sample (12-20 pages)

      • Two recommendations, sent separately by the letter-writers (at least one from HART faculty).


• No GRE scores are required.



A minimum of 30 didactic (letter-graded) credit hours is required for the master's degree. This includes enrollment in at least 24 credit hours of coursework, 3 credit hours in method, theory, historiography, and professional practice [HART 6990: Special Topics], and 3 credit hours preparing a Qualifying Paper [HART 6999].

Of the 24 credit hours of formal coursework, 15 must be taken in History of Art. Courses in other departments shall be counted with approval of the DGS, for example, in African American & Diaspora Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Asian Studies, Classical and Mediterranean Studies, English, History, Medicine, Health & Society, Religious Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, et cetera.

With the approval of the DGS, up to 3 courses in the MA program may be undergraduate courses at the 2000-level and above, with added work for graduate credit.



The department has funds to support partial scholarships to outstanding students on a competitive basis.

Students who are receiving scholarship or other forms of financial aid as a Vanderbilt undergraduate are advised that such aid applies, in most cases, only toward the completion of the Bachelor’s degree or the first four years of their studies (which may include taking some graduate courses during their senior year). Students pursuing the 4+1 typically seek support for their fifth year of study through student loans and external funding. Information about external funding opportunities is available through the Vanderbilt University Office of Honors Scholarships and Financial Aid.

For further information on 4+1 Programs in the College of Arts & Science, see

Questions about the MA program in History of Art? Contact your HART advisor or Professor Betsey A. Robinson, Director of Graduate Studies,