MA in Art History

Our MA curriculum prioritizes traditional research methods, while also focusing on new media skills and hands-on learning via internships, curating coursework, and museum studies.

Pia Desangles, 2023

Pia Desangles

When are you graduating?

Spring 2023

Describe your dissertation, thesis, or capstone (if you completed one):

My research revolves around Indian art, especially wall painting in the context of Buddhist rock-cut complexes.

How did you choose your specific area of study?

I became in love with Indian art when I took an Indian Art survey course as an elective for my bachelor's degree.

How did your academic experiences in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences impact you?

It was the most fantastic experience of my life. My academic background was in Information Technology, but when I decided to go back to school after raising my family, I found that my real passion was art history.

Of which accomplishment(s) during your time at Mason are you most proud?

I am very proud of the three exhibitions that I helped to curate: "Dynamic Dimension," an African art exhibition; the "GMU Plaster Cast Collections" that will be decorating the Horizons Hall's walls in the near future; and "The Jews, the Medici, and the Ghetto of Florence," an exhibition I helped to curate during my internship and that will open in Florence in October 2023.

Are there faculty or staff members who made a difference during your Mason career?

All the Art History professors helped my Mason career in one way or another. For instance, Prof DeCaroli transmitted to me his passion for Indian art; thanks to Prof Gregg, I developed a great interest in ancient architecture; Prof Williamson and Prof Greet helped me to improve my writing skills; Prof Bauman made me feel excited about art; and Prof Ho was critical to helping me see the big picture when I was feeling overwhelmed.

What advice would you give to an incoming cohort of graduate students?

I will just tell them that they are in for a treat.

What are your current career plans following graduation? What are your long-term career goals?

I am training to become a docent at the National Museum of Asian Art and hope to collaborate with them in any capacity in the near future.