The M.A. degree in Art History is a 36 credit hour program and can be completed in four semesters, at nine credit hours per semester. Degree requirements include six hours of required art history courses: a foundational Seminar in Curatorial Issues and Practice and a capstone Graduate Seminar in Art History. The foundations course draws not only upon UH faculty and Museum staff, but also brings students into dialog with Houston area curators and other arts professionals. In addition to its pedagogic goals, the course helps open pathways for possible internships with local arts institutions and organizations for students who are interested. In the capstone Graduate Seminar students present their own ongoing thesis project for analysis and discussion by the group. This course provides peer review and support, enhances the skills needed for MA thesis work, and furthers the graduate student’s readiness to meet the challenges beyond the MA – whether of further graduate study or professional life. Each student takes an additional 12 hours of art history electives from among the graduate art history courses offered. Students also choose 18 hours of free electivesfrom art history or interdisciplinary courses, independent study, and internships that are related to their area of interest.
Students considering pursuing a Ph.D. in art history or a curatorial career are strongly advised to take the thesis track. The thesis track requires the completion of a thesis approved by three committee members from the Art History Faculty. The members of the committee must be established and approved prior to the final semester of study. For those on the thesis track, the six hours of thesis credit count toward the 18 hours of Free Electives. The thesis may take the form of a written thesis or a curatorial project. During thesis preparation in the second year of the program, each student will meet periodically with his/her chosen thesis advisor.
The non-thesis track student will take an oral and written comprehensive exam 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 course work.
In addition to coursework, each student must demonstrate reading proficiency in one foreign language through a written exam that assesses the student's translation skills using the art historical literature. The exam will be regularly administered and assessed by art history faculty. The language will be selected in consultation with a faculty member to be optimally useful for the student’s chosen specialization.
Students are required to complete one academic year in residence during the course of their degree program. This residency is defined as 18 semester hours comprising a minimum of nine semester hours taken in two consecutive semesters.