The master’s program includes the divisions of Eastern art history and Western art history. Art history explores the form and meaning of art works and monuments, their theoretical background, their techniques and materials as well as the creative processes, which lead to the art works’ ultimate form. It, moreover, focuses at the monuments’ political, social and economic circumstances and their reception in diverse eras and geographical regions. In order to convey broad as well as in-depth knowledge and methodological competence, the curriculum offers introductory courses, overview classes and seminars dealing with special topics.

The Eastern division primarily focuses on research in Northeast Asian art history, visual culture and museology including painting, woodblock prints, decorative arts and architecture of China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea, with a special emphasis on the cultural exchanges and cultural encounters among these areas. The curriculum of the Western art division mainly centers around the European continent and America, but might at times go beyond these boundaries including further geographical and cultural areas. Studies may comprise art works and monuments of all genres—painting, sculpture, architecture, urbanism, arts & crafts, graphic arts, photography, movie, film, video and ornament—from the late Middle Ages to the present. Most of the courses on Western Art History are taught in English.

Due the Institute’s particular dualistic structure, the courses convey knowledge and research training of mutual artistic and cultural exchange between East and West. The curriculum requires students to select courses from the other division in order to broaden their horizons. Additional focus is given to the interactions between East Asian countries, and China, Taiwan, and Japan, in particular.