MA in Art History

Thank you for your interest in advanced studies in art history at the University of Houston.

Do you want a close relationship to your supervising professors and a chance to work in national-level arts institutions? We pride ourselves on our deep commitment to art historical research and writing and our ability to mentor emerging scholars in these areas. We also provide a number of unique opportunities for substantive work in Houston’s highly-regarded arts institutions, such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Menil Collection, and others. Finally, we are a great value: our tuition is relatively low and significant competitive job and scholarship opportunities are available. If a closer relation to faculty coupled with a direct connection to arts institutions in a major art center interest you, think of applying to our program via the link on this page. For more detailed information, please see the expanded discussion below and the “Related Links” at the bottom of this page.

Art History at a Research University with a Strong Tradition in the Arts

The MA in Art History at the University of Houston provides entering graduate students, whatever their undergraduate major, with a firm grounding in the discipline of art history within a Tier-1 research university alongside close contact with the collections of major arts institutions. The University of Houston is profoundly engaged in the city, a dynamic urban cultural center and gateway to the international art world. The program is designed with an important number of electives, in order to enable students to craft an educational experience best suited to their individual needs and interests, and to take advantage of significant internship opportunities in the city. For more detailed information on the program and its curriculum, please see the “Printable Program Guide,” which is downloadable from a link at the bottom of this page.

The Art History program is located in the School of Art, where graduate students have the unique privilege of developing their expertise in conversation with a peer group that includes designers and artists studying for their MFA and working across the fields of painting, sculpture, photography, digital media, and experimental, interdisciplinary practices. In addition to a rigorous grounding in art history, curatorial theory and practices as well as art criticism are among the program’s specialties, and individual students have access to dedicated curatorial spaces for course or MA thesis-related projects.

Art History in the Midst of the Art World

Beyond a rigorous training in art history and related disciplines through coursework, the MA in Art History program values applied art historical work as an integral part of the graduate experience and has strong relationships with many of Houston’s world-class arts institutions. Year-long funded internships for graduate students are awarded each year at the Menil Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and Project Row Houses. Internships are additionally available at UH’s Blaffer Art Museum and many other museums and alternative art spaces around the city. Graduate students also regularly hold a funded position as arts editor of UH’s highly-regarded literary journal Gulf Coast.

Opportunities for Financial Support

The program provides additional opportunities for financial support including salaried Instructional Assistant and Graduate Writing Fellow positions, which prepare students for teaching careers through involvement with undergraduate education within the Art History program. The graduate program in Art History also provides a competitive travel award to support fieldwork and so that students can present their research at national and international conferences. Scholarships are furthermore available to provide non-local and international students with the low, in-state tuition rates.

The Program (and see “Printable Program Guide” below)

The Art History graduate program faculty are dedicated to a close mentoring process in art historical research and writing. We have research specializations in Art of the Ancient Americas, Northern European and Italian Medieval and Renaissance Art, 17th-Century Northern European Art, Modern and Contemporary European and American Art and Design, Latino American Art and Urbanism, Art Criticism, and the History of Photography. (For more information on our faculty, click here.) Occasional courses taught by visiting faculty and museum curators further enrich regular course offerings. Graduate students are introduced to art historical methodologies and historiography in small, graduate-only seminars. For each of three semesters, students take an Art Historiography and Methods course, proceeding from a broad disciplinary-wide set of issues to successively more in-depth, field-specific concerns. For students entering with an undergraduate degree in another discipline, these initial seminars, focused on the craft of art historical research and writing, provide a place to develop field-specific skills under the close supervision of our faculty. Beyond these seminars, graduate students maintain close contact with our accomplished faculty through advanced lecture courses and seminars, individual mentoring, and Instructional Assistantships.

Through wide-ranging coursework options and internship opportunities at diverse institutions throughout the Houston area, the MA in Art History program enables students to pursue an exciting variety of career options. Our graduates have gone on to complete PhDs and secure tenure-track professorships. Others have used the MA as a capstone professional degree to qualify for curatorial, education, and director positions in public museums and private galleries, or to take on editorial positions with established art publications. Our graduates have also pursued careers in arts librarianship, arts management, and arts education.

Related Links