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Art History (MA)

What is the degree programme about?

Art history is the science of the form, content and significance of works of art and architecture in their historical development as well as in their socio-cultural contexts. The periods covered range from the Early Middle Ages to the present day. Areas studied in this programme include artists, art theory, analysis methods and reception history.

This four-semester Master's degree programme offers the opportunity for interdisciplinary specialisation in European and nowadays increasingly global art history and cultural exchange processes. Alongside traditional art genres, new media, visual art forms and digital tools for art history research and presentation are also explored.

The degree programme at FAU is distinguished by a specific content profile and individual specialisation options. Thanks to partnerships with key museums and institutions in Erlangen and the region, students have the opportunity to carry out practical work with art history objects. These partner institutions include the Germanische Nationalmuseum, the Neues Museum, the Academy of Fine Arts and the municipal museums in Nuremberg, the art collections of the Veste Coburg, the University Library with its rich stock of manuscripts, drawings and prints as well as the Bavarian Palace Department in Munich. Forms of teaching include lectures series, excursions and summer schools in cooperation with national and international institutions.

What type of Bachelor's degree do I need?

The Master's degree programme Art History is open to applicants with a degree in art history or a related subject that contains elements of art history. These include a degree in teaching, art education, fine art, theatre and media studies, design and architecture. If the previous degree is not in art history, students may need to study certain additional topics to ensure they have the right level of previous knowledge.

Career prospects

Independent of their selected specialisation, graduates have a wide range of career opportunities working with the collections and exhibitions of national, municipal, Church-funded and private museums and galleries or in the art trade. Other prospective careers include working in cultural policy institutions, art education centres, adult education institutions, libraries and archives, press and publishing, media and online services, specialist insurance companies and private consulting, finance, marketing and tourism companies. There is also a broad range of opportunities for freelance work in the fields of education, art and the media.

A doctorate is usually required for academic positions, in particular at universities, research institutions and national museums. The Master's degree can form the starting point for the doctoral thesis.

Degree programme structure

Structure diagram

Core subjects

In the core subjects, students acquire in-depth knowledge of history, art analysis and new media as well as art history sources, theories and methods. Core subjects also address the advanced principles of international art history and history of culture as well as digital humanities. Through national and international field trips, students can explore key works of fine art in their context.

Compulsory electives

The compulsory electives include the practice-based teaching of artistic techniques in the workshops of the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg. Modules on media skills in an art history context as well as career guidance form an additional link between training and practice. Interdisciplinary elective lectures and seminars at FAU allow students to develop an individual academic profile.

Specialisation: Art and cultural studies

This specialisation provides in-depth knowledge of art and cultural studies to advance students' knowledge of material culture. This includes aspects of the history of ideas, mindsets, societies and gender. To enhance and complement their knowledge in the core subjects of art history, students acquire advanced theoretical subject-related and methodical skills in further cultural disciplines, such as literary, theatre and media studies.

Specialisation: Museum studies

This specialisation teaches professional skills related to collecting and exhibiting practices as well as art education. Students gain insights into the routine practices and academic work of at least two renowned institutions, since the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg and the Bavarian Palace Department are both involved in the degree programme with their own specialisation modules. Students are also required to complete a compulsory work placement at another exhibition centre.

Specialisation: Digital visual and media studies

This specialisation enables students to intensify their profile in the fields of digital media and digital, virtual or net art. Students acquire fundamental theoretical and practical skills in computer science with knowledge of object-oriented programming in Java as well as designing and developing small-scale programmes. They are able to analyse digital virtual art forms and to apply technical and computational principles and tools intelligently in order to analyse questions in the area of visual and media studies.

Information on the modules can be found in the Module Handbook.

Admission requirements
  • The final grade in the previous degree should be at least 2.5. Applicants with a degree in a different subject or a final grade lower than 2.51 may be admitted after a selection interview.
  • Applicants must have knowledge of two modern foreign languages (at least at level B1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages); one of these languages can be replaced by proof of Latin proficiency. Proof may be subsequently submitted. Applicants who do not have a German degree or German university entrance qualification (Hochschulreife) must provide proof of German language proficiency at DSH-2 level.
  • For detailed information about admission requirements please see the Degree Programme and Examination Regulations for Art History (MA) and the General Degree Programme and Examination Regulations for the Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes of the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology.
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Degree programme start date and application deadlines

Start date of degree programme: Summer Term, Winter Term

The FAU website provides an overview of the current application deadlines as well as information on the selection process and how to apply.

Location/Map

Please note: Despite careful checks, we cannot rule out errors or omissions. For this reason, all prospective students are advised to seek detailed information from FAU's Student Advice and Career Service (IBZ) before commencing their studies.

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Degree type: Master of Arts (MA)
Type of study: Master
Location: Erlangen
Standard duration of study: 4 Semester
Start date of degree programme: Summer Term, Winter Term
Language: German
Admission: No Admissions Restrictions
Early entrance programme: no
Part-time study: yes
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology

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