Semester Breakdown

Students complete thirty graduate credits over three semesters. The first semester, courses are taken on Syracuse University’s home campus in Syracuse, New York. In the following two semesters, courses are taken at Syracuse University in Florence. All courses require critical readings of both primary and secondary sources, oral presentations, independent research, and written work. Students must achieve at least a B average in each semester’s coursework in order to remain in the program.
*Courses offered are subject to change, depending on staffing.


1. First Semester (fall), Syracuse University in New York

Students enroll in three courses for nine graduate credits:

i. HOA 620, Art & Ritual in Renaissance Italy, 3 credit hours, taught by Program Director Sally J. Cornelison

Tentative topic for fall 2017: Early Modern Encounters: Italy & World Cultures

ii. HOA 620, Art & Identity in the Renaissance, 3 credit hours, taught by Professor Laurinda Dixon 

iii. HOA 656, The Literature of Art Criticism (leading trends in art criticism from the sixteenth to the early twentieth century), 3 credit hours, taught by HOA faculty  

If necessary, students also enroll in Italian classes to achieve an appropriate level of language proficiency.


2. Second Semester (spring), Syracuse University in Florence

The spring semester curriculum in Florence takes full advantage of the area’s artistic, cultural, and archival resources. Students enroll in four courses for twelve graduate credits and are expected to take full advantage of SUF’s field study program.

i. HOA 621, Seminar in Florentine Art: Florentine Monuments, Contexts, and Audiences, 1300-1550, 3 credit hours, taught by Professor Molly Bourne

ii. HST 735.2, Readings and Research in European History (examination of primary historical documentation), 3 credit hours, taught by Professor Matteo Duni

iii. HOA 651, Seminar in Iconography: Speaking Pictures: Visual Language and Material Culture (c. 1450-1650), 3 credit hours, taught by Professor Sara Matthews-Grieco

iv. HOA 622, Seminar in Renaissance Arts and Ideas, 3 credit hours, taught by Professors Molly Bourne and Jonathan Nelson. A “flex long” course that lasts into the summer. In this course students are introduced to the rich research resources available in Florence and identify and begin to explore and write on the topics that are the focus of their capstone research projects and the papers they present at the annual symposium.

3. Late Spring and Summer

At the conclusion of the spring semester, students are required to take a non-credit course introducing them to the basics of archival research and paleography. The course, taught by a renowned archivist, lasts two weeks and is conducted at the Florentine State Archives.

In addition, students continue to conduct research on their respective topics for HOA 622, for which they register in the spring. Students are encouraged, but not required, to remain in Florence for the summer component of this course. At the end of July, students submit their research papers.

4. Third Semester (fall), Syracuse University in Florence

For this third and final semester of the program, students enroll in three courses for nine graduate credits:

i. HOA 620, Studies of European art in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, 3 credit hours, taught by Professor Jonathan Nelson.

Topic for fall 2016: The Rediscovery of Botticelli and Filippino Lippi as Draftsmen in the 19th Century

ii. HOA 645, Seminar in the History of Art Conservation, 3 credit hours, taught by Professors Ezio Buzzegoli and Diane Kunzelman.

iii. HOA 622, Seminar in Renaissance Arts and Ideas, taught by Professors Molly Bourne and Jonathan Nelson. This course is a continuation of the “flex long” section of HOA 622 taught over the previous spring and summer. In this course, students conduct further specialized research, complete the final drafts of their capstone research papers, and develop and rehearse the scripts for their twenty-minute symposium papers.

To qualify for public presentation, capstone research papers must demonstrate rigorous research, clear argumentation, coherence, and originality. On the first or second Thursday in December students present the results of their research at the annual public symposium held at the Villa Rossa. Once the final version of a research paper has been approved by the program director and Florence program coordinator, the director of Graduate Studies at Syracuse University certifies to the Graduate School that the student has met all requirements for the Master of Arts degree in art history. Students who produce unacceptable papers have the opportunity to complete their degree on the home campus.