Prospective Students

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What programs of study are offered by the Institute?
A: We offer the following programs:
- Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in the History of Art and Archaeology;
- Dual Master of Arts in the History of Art and Archaeology and MS in the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works;
- Curatorial studies.

Q: Does the Institute offer a studio arts program?

A: We do not, but NYU offers several graduate studio arts degree programs through the Steinhardt School of Education:

Q: Does the Institute offer a museum studies program?

A: We offer curatorial studies. NYU also offers a museum studies degree program through the Graduate School of Arts and Science:

Q: May I take courses for credit at the Institute without being enrolled in a degree program?

A: We do not have non-matriculated student status. To take courses at the Institute, you must be pursuing a graduate degree at NYU or be a Visiting Student from another university's graduate art history program as part of the inter-university doctoral consortium. 

Q: May I audit courses at the Institute?

A: Auditing opportunities are available via the Connoisseurs Circle.  

Q: How long does it take to complete the programs offered by the Institute?

A: That depends upon which program:
- The MA program takes two years for full-time students or three years for part time;
- The Conservation program, which combines the MA in art history with specific conservation courses and a year-long Internship, takes a total of four years of fully-funded, full-time study;
- The PhD program is designed for six years of full-time, fully-funded study.

Q: How many students are enrolled in the programs at the Institute?

A: There are about 300 students actively pursuing the various degrees at the Institute.

Q: What academic preparation is required for admission to the Institute?

A: The Bachelor of Arts degree from an accredited American university or an equivalent degree from a foreign university is required of all applicants. Please refer to the Admission Requirements for each program’s specific prerequisites.

Q: What languages are required to study at the Institute?

A: PhD students must demonstrate proficiency in reading two modern research languages other than English that are relevant to their studies. Proficiency is demonstrated by passing an examination administered by the Institute of Fine Arts. International students focusing on a field of study in which their native language is relevant may be granted an exemption from the language requirement pending submission of an exemption form signed by their advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.

MA students must demonstrate proficiency in reading one modern research language other than English that is relevant to their studies. Proficiency is demonstrated by passing an examination administered by the Institute of Fine Arts. International students focusing on a field of study in which their native language is relevant may be granted an exemption from the language requirement pending submission of an exemption form signed by their advisor and the Director of Masters Studies.

Q: If I already have an MA in art history, does the admissions process differ?

A: Applicants with an MA in art history must include their thesis or another substantial writing sample with their PhD application and should make contact with an Institute faculty member appropriate to their intended area of doctoral study.
Those interested in the conservation program and have obtained an MA elsewhere should contact for specific instructions about applying.

Q: May I tour the Institute, visit classes, and meet faculty and students?

A: Yes, we welcome visitors to the Institute. 
Contact the Academic Office at 212-992-5868 or, we can help arrange tours, meetings with faculty and students, as well as visits to classes. 
For visits to the conservation program, call 212-992-5848 or email We would also be pleased to meet with you to answer questions you may have about your own background, goals or other special concerns.

Q: Is part-time study permitted at the Institute?

A: The Institute currently allows part-time study for MA students employed in a related profession. Part-time students are expected to pursue two courses each semester. There is no part-time study in the conservation program.

Q: How can I obtain an application?

A: You apply directly online at //

Q: Does the Institute have "rolling" admissions?

A: No, applications for the next academic year are taken in mid-December and are not reviewed prior to that date. 

Q: What is the application submission deadline?

A: See the Submitting an Application page for this year’s deadline. 

Q: Should I indicate a field of specialization in my application?

A: Applicants to the PhD program must declare a field of specialization and a potential faculty advisor. If you are an applicant to the MA program and you have an area of special interest, you should mention it, so that faculty appropriate to that area may read your application. Students interested in the conservation program should mention their proposed area of specialtization, e.g. paper, books, paintings, objects, TBM, undecided, etc.

Q: Should I include a writing sample with my application?

A: Yes, a writing sample that demonstrates research and writing skills appropriate to graduate study in art history is required of all applicants. There is no page limit for the writing sample. 

Q: How many letters of recommendation are required? Must they all be academic?

A: Three letters are required, but applicants may provide others. Appropriate non-academic recommenders may certainly write on your behalf, but an application without two or three very strong letters from academic art historians is at a distinct disadvantage.

Q: Are GREs required?

A: Starting with the Fall 2022 admissions cycle, the Institute of Fine Arts will no longer accept GRE scores as part of the application. Candidates should not send their GREs scores as they cannot be recorded or included as part of the application.

Q: Is the TOEFL required of all international students?

A: The TOEFL/IELTS exam is required of all students whose Bachelor's degree (or its equivalent) or Master's degree was taught in a language other than English. International students who received a Bachelor's degree or a Master's degree from an institution where the primary language of instruction was English do not need to take the TOEFL/IELTS. 

Q: Should I send any part of the application directly to the Institute?

A: Support materials that become available after the application deadline may be sent directly to the Academic Office, Institute of Fine Arts, 1 East 78th Street, New York, NY 10075. 

Q: Are interviews required for admission?

A: Interviews are not required prior to submitting an application, however, 
meetings or other contact with Institute faculty members are encouraged for PhD applicants. The Academic Office can provide information about how best to contact individual faculty. 
Successful applicants to the PhD and conservation programs will be invited to interview with the admissions committees.

Q: What is the timetable for admissions decisions?

A: Applications are read throughout January and February and we invite the entering class in early March.
For the conservation program, applications are read throughout December and January with interview decisions being made in mid February. Virtual interviews are held during the month of March with an invitation to join the entering class sent by mid April. Decisions by students are expected one week later.