Jul 24, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Art History, MA

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of The Arts - Schools and Programs

Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts  > School of Art  > Art History, MA

A core principle of the University of Houston’s Art History graduate program is flexibility, making it both dynamic and interdisciplinary. The M.A. in Art History at the University of Houston provides the graduate student with a firm grounding in the discipline of art history coupled with the riches of major art institutions in a dynamic urban art world. The program is designed with a minimal number of required courses to give students the opportunity to design a program that best suits their individual needs and aspirations. In addition to art history, specializations are also available in Curatorial and Theoretical Perspectives or in Art Criticism and Writing, with thesis and non-thesis tracks in each.

Through its uniquely wide-ranging and diverse options for coursework and internships, the UH program enables students to pursue a large number of career options. Graduates of the UH Master’s program in art history will be well-prepared to go on to seek the Ph.D. in art history, or, alternatively, to pursue careers not requiring the Ph.D. in art museums, collections, or galleries; in art criticism and writing; or to combine additional credentials for a career in arts librarianship, arts management or art education.

Our expansive view of art history leads us to seek candidates with a variety of interests and backgrounds. Though applicants must demonstrate an understanding of art historical research and writing practices through a writing sample, an undergraduate degree in Art History is not required

For further information, please see the MA in Art History web page.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the MA Program must submit the following:

  • A completed online application available at http:// www.uh.edu/graduate-school/admissions/how-to-apply/ including upload of documents and application fee payment.
  • Non-refundable application fee ($75 domestic applicants/$150 international applicants)
  • Official transcript from each college or university attended since high school (sent directly to the Graduate School)
  • GRE Scores, less than 5 years old (sent electronically to the University of Houston - code 6870)
  • 3 recommendations from those who are familiar with your academic work, at least one of which should concern your work in art history.
  • A resume of academic and work experience
  • Statement of intent stating academic interests within the field of art history and career goals
  • One sample of academic writing (7-20 pages) can be attached during the online application process. It should be formatted as a pdf.
  • International student have additional documentation and/or test score requirements. Full details can be found at www.uh.edu/graduate-school/admissions/international-students/

Degree Requirements

Credit hours required for this degree: 36.0

There are two plans under which graduate students can earn a Master of Arts in Art History.

  • MA Plan I: 30 hours of coursework and 6 hours of approved thesis hours and written and defended thesis.
  • MA Plan II: 33 hours of coursework and 3 hours of capstone examination preparation and satisfaction.


The Plan I thesis track requires the completion of a thesis approved by three faculty committee members. The thesis advisor is chosen during the Spring Semester of the first year. The thesis may take the form of a written thesis or a curatorial project.


The Plan II track student will take a series of exams over the course of two days which will be evaluated by a committee of three faculty members approved by the Graduate Program Director in Art History. This examination will normally be taken during the last semester of coursework. The decision to pursue this path will be made by the First Semester of the Second Year.

Required Courses

A minimum of 36 graduate-level credits are required for the MA degree II. All MA students are strongly encouraged to pursue a broad background in art history outside of their thesis concentration area.

Art History (12.0 hours)

  • Six hours in Art History Pre-1400 (chosen from Ancient, Pre-Columbian, Medieval)
  • Three hours in Art History 1400-1850
  • Three hours in Art History 1850-present

Related Arts (18.0 hours)

These courses may be a combination of art-history and non-art history courses to enrich their their understanding of the period, including possible relevant graduate work in Philosophy, Literature, History, Women’s Studies, Anthropology, Latino Studies, etc.

If a student is writing a thesis, 6 hours (ARTH 6399  & ARTH 7399 ) will be applied to ‘Related Arts’  Non-thesis track students will apply 3 hours of independent study (ARTH 7398 ) in preparation of question area topics and in-depth directed study with a faculty member. Internship hours are applied as hours in related arts.

Academic Policies


A student must demonstrate reading proficiency in a foreign language. There are several methods by which this can be satisfied:

  • Score of 550 or higher on the Graduate Student Foreign Language Test (GSFLT)
  • A grade of B or better in two graduate (6000-level) readings courses in the foreign language. A grade of B- will not be accepted.
  • Completion of beginning and intermediate college levels (four semesters) of foreign language with a grade of B or better in the last five years. (Placing out of beginning courses may be considered as fulfilling part of the requirement.) Two undergraduate courses plus a 300-word passage translation can also meet this requirement.
Certification of competency by the Art History Faculty through an translation examination of a discipline-specific text in the language 300 word translation.
  • For students whose native language is something other than English, a native speaker certification may be possible.


At the end of the First Semester, all MA students will be required to take an objective exam, based on images and information covered in the Western Survey courses from Ancient through Modern (ARTH1380/1381). The students will be required to provide thorough identification and informed discussion on canonical works drawn from a textbook used in our classes.

Academic Policies: College of the Arts 

University of Houston Academic Policies 

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of The Arts - Schools and Programs