Study programme

The research Master's programme Art History comprises two years (120 EC). Each year is divided into two semesters, running from September until January and from February until June. A semester is divided into two study periods. 


The first year’s programme consists of compulsory courses and electives. The second year comprises two elements: the Master's thesis (compulsory), and the internship (or a study abroad).The first year comprises varied courses and seminars. The second year consists of an internship and the Master’s thesis. Check the study schedule (PDF). 

Below you will find the course descriptions of Art History.

Year 1 | Core curriculum 

  • Trends and Shifts in Art History, 2000-2015 (Fundamentals I)
  • Digital Perspectives: a Course on Computational Art History and its Development (Fundamentals II)
  • Art History: Institutions and Current Research 
  • Art History I: Knowledge, Technologies, and Material Culture 
  • Art History II: Global and Transcultural Art History 
  • Research Design: Art History 

Year 1 | Electives 

In study periods 2, 3, and 4 of the first year, you normally choose your four elective courses. You choose two courses offered by the Dutch Research School of Art History (OSK). For the other two electives you can choose from the 'master-apprentice' modules offered by the Art History programme. These are: Medieval Art, Renaissance Art, Art of the Golden Age, Art of the Nineteenth Century, Modern and Contemporary Art, Technical Art History and Art History (open). Alternatively, you can choose one ‘master-apprentice’ module, and one regular course offered by another RMA programme.

Note on the electives: the courses Ecologies of Curation; Dutch Literature & Arts I and II; and Emerging and Transforming Media, Art and Performance are not offered by the Art History programme, but by other Research Master programmes in the Humanities.

Year 2 | Internship/study abroad and thesis

In your second year, you will concentrate more specifically on the visual arts or architecture of a specific period or type of your own choice.

  • Half of the year is spent as an intern at a major museum or research institute or studying abroad.
  • You conclude your programme with a piece of independent research, the Master’s thesis. 
Picture: Tim Vermeire

Educational methods

  • seminars (40%)
  • self-study (35%)
  • internship (25%)


In choosing your internship, you will be able to benefit from the long-standing links that the RMA programme has established with all major Dutch museums and with many important institutions abroad. In the past five years, the Art History staff members contributed to over 20 exhibitions. Students returning from their internships will communicate their experiences to their peers from the first-year.

In general, interaction within the community of the programme’s students is stimulated. Moreover, all RMA students are invited to staff meetings, during which individual members present and discuss their research.

Internship at Centraal Museum

Maia Kenney did a curatorial internship at Centraal Museum in Utrecht. She did research and helped prepare for an exhibition. All the research she did and the articles she read pertained to her thesis on women surrealists.

Internship at Frans Hals Museum

RMA student Brianne Davis did her internship at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem. She helped research Maarten van Heemskerck's De Doornenkroning (Christ Crowned with Thorns), which was included in an exhibition. 


  • papers 
  • oral presentations
  • written internship report
  • Master's thesis

Extra opportunities

Are you looking for an extra challenge?

For students looking for an extra challenge in addition to their Master's, there are several options. Utrecht University offers several honours programmes for students looking for an extra challenge. Honours education is followed on top of your regular Master's programme and goes beyond the regular curriculum. Honours programmes are available at interdisciplinary level and allow you to work on projects that transcend your own discipline.

read more about the honours programmes