Applicants should have a strong liberal arts background, with a minimum of six art history courses as prerequisite for admission. Students may be asked to make up deficiencies prior to or in the first year of the graduate curriculum by taking undergraduate courses for graduate credit, auditing undergraduate classes or through supervised readings. Although not a prerequisite, reading proficiency in one foreign language must be demonstrated within the first year of the program.

Graduate Record Examination scores are required by the Graduate School. The normal minimum score is considered to be a total of 297 on the verbal and quantitative segments combined, with a minimum of 153 on the verbal section. To be considered for fellowships, an applicant must have a verbal score significantly higher than the minimum of 153.