Applying to the Graduate Program: Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to apply to the graduate program and receive funding as an international student? Yes.

Is it possible to pursue a PhD in Art History at Tulane? The Newcomb Art Department's art history graduate program only offers an MA in general art history. A PhD is possible in Latin American Studies / Art History via our joint program with the Stone Center. An Interdisciplinary PhD involving art history and other disciplines is possible for those who have first completed their MA in art history at Tulane. See the School of Liberal Arts Graduate Programs website for more information.

What statistics do you have regarding the studies and employment opportunities pursued by your alumni after they earn an MA in Art History at Tulane? We do not keep regular statistics on file regarding the post-graduate studies and/or employment of our alumni. However, some of our previous students have continued their art history studies at the doctoral level here at Tulane while others have gone on to Princeton, Yale, UCLA, Delaware, UC Berkeley, University of Southern California, University of Texas at Austin, and Emory. Some of the places that have employed our MA graduates include the College Art Association, De Young Museum in San Francisco, North Texas State University, Birmingham Museum of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art and most of the arts organizations in New Orleans.

Do you have a fall term admission deadline? There is only one annual deadline for admission to the graduate program: January 10. During the spring the faculty evaluates applications and assigns annual stipends for the students who will begin school in the fall semester of the following academic year. Tulane undergraduate juniors who wish to apply to the 4+1 program should contact the art history graduate coordinator (Dr. Adrian Anagnost during the fall semester of their junior year.

Do I need to know who will be my graduate advisor before applying? How do I select my graduate advisor? Graduate students are expected to work closely with their graduate advisors in their chosen area of specialization (e.g.: late medieval, 19th-century Europe, contemporary art, pre-Columbian, or modern Latin America). Thus, when applying to the graduate program advisors should be selected among the art history tenured or tenure-track faculty active in or affiliated with the Newcomb Art Department and not among the visiting or adjunct faculty.

How many students are accepted each year into the graduate program? We receive approximately 50 applications per year, and we admit an average of four students with full fellowships.

What can I do to improve my application? Make sure that you indicate clearly what is your specific area of specialization. Applications are evaluated considering how well the objectives of the students match with the area of research and teaching of their future advisors. Thus, the letter of intent and the written sample should be prepared with this in mind.

How long should the writing sample be? We would prefer that the writing sample be no longer than 20 pages for MA students. PhD applicants should send a copy of their MA theses or two substantial papers.

What should I send as my writing sample? A paper from an undergraduate or graduate course can be used, and it does not have to be an art history paper. If no such paper is available, please send an example or short examples of your writing that reflect your ability to think critically and write clearly.

Must the writing sample still have the corrections of my professor or can it be a revised copy? Some of the faculty prefer copies of papers with the commentaries professors wrote still on them rather than revised versions. Applicants should send the best writing sample they have showing their own personal ability to write a scholarly or an art history paper. Of course authors always acknowledge the help they received from others in the preparation of their texts, so these essays should not be any different.

How should I submit the writing sample? The writing sample should be uploaded along with the rest of your application.

What are the minimum GRE scores that you seek in a student for admittance? We look at graduate applications in a holistic way in terms of what they say about the student’s potential to thrive in a graduate program in art history. Although we do not have minimum GRE scores we would prefer that the applicants have a combined score of at least 1200, and we especially look for strong verbal and analytical scores. However, we accept students with lesser GRE scores if all the other application materials indicate the student has outstanding scholarly abilities. For that reason, we pay special attention to the statement of intent, the recommendation letters, the GPA, and the writing sample.

Who should write my recommendation letters? Ideally, the applicant’s professors of art history (or of closely related fields) should be asked, because they usually write the most appropriate letters of recommendation. Fellow art historians can best evaluate how the applicant has performed in the past in their discipline and will be able to handle entering the high pressure environment of art historical professional practice at the graduate level. However, anyone who can speak for the applicant's intellectual abilities, level of maturity, and scholarly performance would be a good person to ask.

Do I need art history classes to be admitted into the program? Applicants are not required to have any art history classes to be admitted into the art history graduate program at the MA level. In the past we have admitted students who came from related fields and had no art history background. However, applicants should also take into consideration when requesting letters of recommendation, that professors of art history (or other closely related fields) are the scholars who can best attest to their qualifications for graduate study in this discipline.

At the doctoral level, applicants should demonstrate substantive experience in the history of art or architecture with some background courses in their specific area of study.

What, if any, are the course requirements prior to admittance in the MA program? We do not have any previous course requirements as such. However, since the MA in art history is not an introductory degree, we look to see if the applicants’ past education and performance indicate their suitability for the graduate program and their ability to make a significant contribution to this discipline.

Do I need to know any foreign languages? Yes. At Tulane students must pass, in the first year, a foreign language translation exam suitable for their chosen area of research. Knowledge of that language prior to admission is highly recommended. Applicants to the doctoral program actually need to demonstrate this knowledge in the application, which can be done through a variety of ways: courses taken in the foreign language (usually Spanish or Portuguese), field experience abroad, scores in a standardized test, papers/publications written in the language, etc.

Are personal interviews a required aspect of the application process? Interviews are not required. However, many applicants visit our beautiful uptown campus in New Orleans when they apply for admittance. Doctoral students are especially encouraged to come to Tulane and talk to their prospective advisors. Applicants interested in a visit should contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Adrian Anagnost.

I am planning to visit, how can I get in contact with the local graduate students? Applicants interested in a visit should contact the Graduate Coordinator (Dr. Adrian Anagnost). She will put you in contact with a group of graduate students.

Will I get a stipend or a tuition waiver? Tulane is among the few graduate programs that fully support MA students. Stipends and tuition waivers are awarded on a competitive basis when the student enters the program. In addition, students on stipend receive health insurance (Aetna). Usually, we have four stipends to award each year to incoming students. The fellowship is renewable for a second year as long as students remain in good standing throughout the program (with at least a B average) and perform duties as teaching or research assistants. Sometimes students accepted into the program are placed on a waiting list for financial aid until we have time to verify who has accepted our admission. It is not always possible to provide stipends for all our students.

Doctoral students also receive stipends, tuition waivers, and health insurance, but they perform duties as teaching instructors in LAS, and once they become ABD, in the Newcomb Art Department.

Do you accept students for part-time study? Yes, we do. However, they would not be eligible for Financial Aid.

What is one of the biggest challenges graduate students face in the program? Because our program is small, graduate students must share seminars with undergraduate students. The outstanding level of performance of many of our undergraduates tends to surprise--and sometimes unsettle a bit--the incoming new graduate students. This is a temporary situation as graduate students grow quickly into their own studies.

I have a BA in art history (or some other field) but I want to apply to the joint Art History / Latin American Studies Ph.D. Can I do that? Yes. This can be done. However, it needs to be stated very CLEARLY in the application. Students will need to get an MA on the way to the Ph.D., but they can be accepted into the doctoral program if they apply to it and state so in the application. Please note that the application form may not cooperate with applicants in this regard (applicants may have to write this option on the margin), or include a letter stating their intent. Use the online doctoral application at the Stone Center.

If an applicant intends to teach Latin American art history, however, it is strongly advised that the applicant apply to the MA in art history and then enter the joint Ph.D. program.

I am confused, where do I send my application? Applications must be submitted online.

See: School of Liberal Arts: applying to the graduate program

School of Liberal Arts application form:


What happens if the GRE score or a recommendation letter is not received on time? We only consider complete applications. It is the responsibility of the applicants to make sure their files are complete.


The professor writing a recommendation letter on my behalf is uncomfortable using the online system. What can she do? Although electronic letters of recommendation are greatly preferred, we will still accept letters in hard copy. They should arrive before the application deadline. For applicants to the MA in Art History, letters should be sent to this address:

Art History Graduate Admissions
Newcomb Art Department
202 Woldenberg Art Center
Tulane University
6823 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70118-5698

For applicants to the joint Art History / Latin American Studies Ph.D., letters should be sent to this address:

Latin American Studies/Art History Graduate Admissions
Stone Center for Latin American Studies
100 Jones Hall
Tulane University
6823 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70118-5698

revised May 18, 2021