CU Art Museum

The Bachelor’s-Accelerated Master’s program (BAM) in Art History is a demanding program aimed primarily at our best undergraduates who are planning to pursue a Ph.D.

The typical student will be a student writing an honors thesis who will use that project as the basis for developing their M.A. thesis. It is expected that the BAM program will be completed within five years. Effective in the 2019/2020 academic year, students receive the bachelor’s degree first, but begin taking graduate coursework as undergraduates, typically in their senior year. Because some courses are allowed to double count for both bachelor’s and master’s degrees (six credits, or two courses, may be shared between the two programs), students receive a master’s degree in less time and at a lower cost than if they were to enroll in a stand-alone master’s degree program after completion of their baccalaureate degree. In addition, staying at CU Boulder to pursue the BAM program enables students to continue working with their established faculty mentors. 

If you have any questions about the BAM degree requirements or the application process, please contact

  • Only currently enrolled, University of Colorado Boulder students may be considered for admission to the program. Transfer students must complete at least 24 credit hours as a degree-seeking student before applying to the program. Students enrolled in this BAM program cannot pursue a double major. 

  • Initial acceptance to the BAM program typically occurs during the junior year with an intent application. The application deadline is January 10th, in the second semester of the applicant’s junior year. Students must have a minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 3.3, a GPA of 3.6 or above in the art history major, and have completed all Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS) deficiencies. An approved intent application enables the student to begin taking graduate courses as an undergraduate and to double-count select courses toward the bachelor’s and master’s degrees, in accordance with the requirements listed below. Students interested in the BAM program should contact the Art and Art History Department for advising and intent application information. 

  • Prior to earning the baccalaureate degree, students are subject to undergraduate academic rules and full-time/part-time standards in effect in the Department of Art and Art History. Students are expected to be full-time (with an average of 24 credits per year), remain continuously enrolled, and they must maintain a minimum 3.3 GPA. 

  • Once formally admitted to and enrolled in the Accelerated Master’s program, students are subject to Graduate School rules, policies, and standards. 

Degree Program Details

BAM students must apply online to graduate for their bachelor’s degree in the semester in which degree requirements will be completed.

Deadlines to apply to graduate:

  • February 1st (students graduating in MAY)
  • March 1st (students graduating in AUGUST)
  • October 1st (students graduating in DECEMBER)

These dates ensure that students can register along with continuing graduate students. However, applications will be accepted until the end of the semester in which the student is graduating.

Students pursuing double degrees or additional majors/minors at the undergraduate level are subject to college/school/program policies. This may result in a student choosing to discontinue the additional undergraduate degree, major or minor, or delaying formal admission into the graduate portion of the BAM program in order to complete the additional degree, major, or minor, or fulfilling the remaining requirements for the additional undergraduate credentials while at graduate status (graduate tuition, enrollment status, etc). Students should discuss these options with their advisor.

  • During the final semester of enrollment for the undergraduate degree, students must apply to be formally admitted to continue with the accelerated master’s program. Students will be matriculated into the master’s program without additional departmental review, provided they meet the continuation requirement of 3.3 cumulative GPA. Students must met the GPA requirement to be admitted; there is no provisional admission for the accelerated master’s degree. International students must have approval from International Student and Scholar services (ISSS) prior to matriculation. 

In the final semester of your bachelor’s degree work, complete these steps to continue with the master's degree:

  1. Apply to graduate with your bachelor's degree.
  2. Submit a master's continuation form.
  3. Submit a BAM supplement form to identify which courses you're double counting and which you're using toward the master's degree.

The last day to complete all three steps is:

  • Oct. 1 for fall graduates
  • Feb. 1 for spring graduates
  • March 1 for summer graduates

You'll then finish your degree requirements in graduate status.
Students must begin the master's program within one academic year (three semesters, including summer) and must select their term of admission on the application.

  • Prior to completing the baccalaureate degree, students are assessed undergraduate tuition rates. The approved intent application enables the undergraduate student to take up to and including 12 hours of coursework (as an undergraduate and at undergraduate tuition rates) which can later be applied to the accelerated master’s program.
  • Once enrolled in the master’s program, students are assessed graduate tuition rates. (In-state graduate students are assessed resident graduate tuition, but do not receive COF.) In addition, graduate students receiving financial aid are considered “independent” and are no longer eligible for aid requiring undergraduate status.
  • Students may withdraw from the BAM program at any time and pursue only the bachelor’s degree. Students who wish to pursue a master’s degree or a doctoral degree after withdrawing from or completing a BAM program must apply separately through the standard admissions process and be admitted to the Graduate School. In this case, courses may not be double-counted.
  • Admitted students will secure the sponsorship and advisory commitment of an art history faculty member at the rank of assistant professor or higher. They will also submit a one-page prospectus detailing a possible research topic for an MA thesis. During the second semester of their senior year, students should select a thesis advisor from among the art history faculty. This faculty member will direct the student’s thesis and chair the student’s mid-program review committee.
  • Students start taking graduate-level courses during the first semester of their senior year. Students will be evaluated through a mid-program review during the last two weeks of April of their senior year. This is the equivalent of the first year review in the two-year MA program. It focuses on a review of student coursework and performance, on selecting the major and minor areas of study in preparation for the comprehensive exam (see below) and on selection of a thesis topic.
  • By the end of the fourth year (senior year), students must complete the language requirement of at least three progressive semesters at the college level or above, or by passing an approved language examination. To do the latter, students must arrange a reading exam with one of the art history faculty on an individual basis.
  • In the first semester of the fifth year, they fulfill their Theories of Art History requirement and will also take two ARTH graduate seminars. At the beginning of the second semester of their fifth year, they will take their comprehensive exams in the major and minor area, constitute their thesis committee, and get approval of their thesis prospectus. During the second semester of the fifth year, students will complete and submit their theses (in fulfillment of all graduate college requirements) by the end of the fifth year. Once the principal advisor has accepted the thesis, the final requirement will be an oral examination focusing on its subject matter.
  • Students will register for thesis hours during the second semester of their fifth year, pending successful completion of the comprehensive exam and approval of their thesis abstract. They will take the comprehensive exam during the first week of the second semester of the fifth year. Upon the successful completion of their comprehensive exam, they will obtain approval of their thesis abstract from their thesis committee (“pre-thesis review”) by the end of the second week of the second semester of their fifth year.
  • In all other details, the graduate portion of the BAM program is identical to the two-year MA program, as stipulated above.
  • Once degree requirements are met, the student applies to graduate with the master’s degree.
  • The following template ensures that students will complete all degree requirements for the BA/MA in five years. Students may decide on a somewhat different sequence of courses in consultation with their academic advisor.

    First Year:

    • Fall semester: ARTH 1500
    • Spring Semester: ARTH 1600, ARTS 1020

    Second Year:

    • Fall semester: ARTH 3000 level, ARTH 3000 level
    • Spring semester: ARTH 3000 level, ARTH 4000 level

    Third Year:

    • Fall semester: ARTH 3009, ARTH 4000 level, ARTH 4000 level
    • Spring semester: ARTH 4919, Out of department course 3000 level or above (general elective for BA/ MA requirement), formal application to BA/MA program

    Fourth Year:

    • Fall semester: ARTH 6929 (Theories), ARTH 5/6000 level
    • Spring semester: ARTH 5/6xxxx (grad seminar), complete language requirement
    • Research for thesis is strongly encouraged the summer preceding the fifth year

    Fifth year:

    • Fall semester: ARTH 5/6000 level, ARTH 5/6000 level, ARTH 5/6000 level
    • Spring semester ARTH 6929 (thesis hours), ARTH 5/6000
    • Comprehensive exam taken during the first week
    • Thesis prospectus approved during the second week “pre-thesis review”
    • Thesis submission and oral defense

    Degree Requirements for the BA in Art History:

    • Foundations 6 credits (ARTS 1010 and ARTS 1020)
    • World Art 6 credits (ARTH 1300 and ARTH 1400)
    • ARTH 4919 capstone seminar
    • 3 - 3000-level ARTH courses
    • 3 - 4000-level ARTH courses
    • 2 - ARTH or ARTS electives
    • Specific coursework may be required
    • See faculty or advisor for more information

    Degree Requirements for the MA in Art History:

    • 30 credit hours (8 courses plus 6 credits in thesis hours)
    • coursework must be distributed in four areas: Medieval, Early Modern (Renaissance & Baroque), Americas,  Modern, Contemporary, Critical Theory/Museology
    • one course must be out of the department at 3000-level or above

    First Year review

    • Comprehensive Exams in their major and minor fields
    • Pre-thesis review (of thesis abstract);
    • Thesis and oral defense.

    Shared Courses between BA and MA:

    Following University rules, six credits (two courses) may be shared between the two programs. In all other respects, students who successfully complete the B.A./M.A. program will have fulfilled all art history requirements for each degree, as follows. For the B.A./M.A., students are required to complete the same requirements. The two courses that count for both degrees are:

    • One course out of the department at 3000-level or above
      This counts as a general elective for the B.A. degree, a degree requirement for the M.A.
    • ARTH 6929 Theories of Art History
    • This counts as an elective in the major for the B.A. degree, a required course for the M.A.

    Application Requirements:

    • Currently enrolled in BA Art History degree
    • ​Minimum GPA of 3.3 
    • 3.6 GPA or above in the art history major 
    • Must have completed all MAPS deficiencies 

    To apply to the BAM program, please send the following materials in a single PDF to

    • Contact information (email and phone number) of three recommenders
    • Statement of intent
    • GRE scores unofficial transcripts
    • Writing sample (your best art history paper)
    • A one-page prospectus detailing a possible research topic for an MA thesis

    If you have any questions about the BAM degree requirements or the application process, please contact