UAlbany Launches Combined Program in Art History, Information Science

A woman with long black hair in a white sweater and white gloves reaches for a framed black-and-white photo of Andy Warhol that hangs on a wall next to other framed photos.
A new combined degree program in art history and information science at UAlbany will prepare students for advanced careers in information science, visual resources curating, digital image management, library and archival work. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

By Bethany Bump

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 26, 2023) — The University at Albany has launched a combined degree program for art history majors interested in completing a master’s degree in information science on an accelerated timeline.

The new program is designed to prepare students for advanced careers within information science, visual resources curating, digital image management, and all forms of library and archival work.

The combined program will enable students to complete a bachelor’s degree in art history and a master’s degree in information science in five years. While undergraduates, students will have the opportunity to take up to 12 credits of graduate coursework at the undergraduate tuition rate, with the credits counting toward both undergraduate and graduate requirements.

“A significant number of our graduating art history majors who pursue graduate work already go into information science and, of those, the majority apply to UAlbany’s information science program,” said Sarah Cohen, professor and director of Art History at UAlbany. “So the idea is now they can combine the two and complete in five years what would ordinarily take them six — saving both time and money.”

Art history graduates are often well suited for careers in information science, she said, because of their experience organizing visual resources and data, conducting independent research, documenting sources and writing research papers.

Graduates of UAlbany’s art history program who also completed a master’s in information science have gone on to work in public and academic library systems and as visual resources curators, Cohen said.

“It makes perfect sense to combine the two — art history and information science — because resource and information management are so visually oriented now,” she said. “Everybody deals with visual resources of all kinds, and our students are trained specifically in critical visual skills and working with visual material of all different mediums. So this is a way for them to professionalize the expertise that they gain in working visually.”

UAlbany’s top-ranked information science program, housed within the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security, and Cybersecurity, covers a broad range of interdisciplinary topics related to library and archival science, information management and policy, and data analytics.

“Combined programs with information science are a great opportunity for our students,” said Norman Gervais, graduate program director of the MS information science degree in UAlbany's Information Sciences and Technology Department. “This program that brings together the undergraduate art history degree and graduate information science degree is no exception. I expect that students who participate in this opportunity will have good experience in it because of the benefits of combined programs.”

To qualify for the combined program, students must be majoring in art history and have a grade point average of at least 3.2. Applications can be submitted as early as the first semester of their junior year, and should include three letters of recommendation and a statement of goals. The standard Graduate Record Examination required for graduate school applications will be waived for applicants to the combined program.

Applications are being accepted now for the Spring 2024 semester. Interested students should contact Cohen at [email protected].