people observing ancient ruins

MA in Art History

The MA program in Art History is a two-year, in-residence course of study in which students spend three semesters devoted largely to seminars, with the fourth and final semester spent researching and writing a thesis. Students may pursue a generalized or specialized track of study and research.


View Art History faculty and graduate students.

Learn more about faculty, students, and alumni in the annual Art History Newsletter.


Students must select one of four tracks offered, each of which has the following coursework and language requirements.

  • General (allows students to cover diverse historical areas of art history)
  • Ancient (Western and non-Western)
  • Medieval to Early Modern
  • Modern

Coursework Requirements

  • ARH 395 — Art Historical Methods (3 credit hours)
  • Art History graduate seminars (12)
  • Art History elective (3)
  • Approved courses outside department (6)
  • ARH 698A — Thesis Research (3)
  • ARH 698B — Thesis Writing (3)

Total: 30 hours

Language Requirement

Students in the MA program are required to have reading/translation competency in at least one contemporary language in addition to English prior to the beginning of the third long semester in residence. (Language competency is not a requirement of the application process.) The additional language will be relevant to the areas of study and will allow the student to read and understand the scholarship of his/her field. The choice of language is flexible, but must be decided in consultation with one’s thesis advisor or the graduate advisor.

Thesis Colloquium

In the Thesis Colloquium, usually held during the third long semester of residence and after the completion of at least 18 hours of coursework, the student presents a topic for faculty approval. The colloquium begins with an informal presentation of no more than five minutes. Discussion of the student’s topic with the faculty follows, after which the faculty presents the student with recommendations. The colloquium is intended to be an informal conversation with the faculty concerning the topic, its feasibility, and potential pitfalls that might affect the student’s ability to complete the research project successfully. This discussion will provide the student with ideas and suggestions that will help him or her in developing the thesis. The semester following the approved colloquium presentation students enroll in Thesis Writing (ARH 698B).

Portfolio Programs

Students may also wish to apply to one of the university’s graduate portfolio programs, an opportunity to obtain credentials in a cross-disciplinary academic area of inquiry while completing the requirements for a master’s or doctoral degree in a particular discipline.


File the FAFSA ASAP!

Graduate students from the U.S. (citizens and permanent residents) are automatically eligible for Federal Plus loans as independent students and must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). However, you should complete the FAFSA even if you don’t intend to take out student loans because doing so may qualify you for need-based funding such as grants and scholarships. Applicants must file the FAFSA by the March 15 priority deadline to be considered for need-based funding.

Applicants should complete the FAFSA as soon as you have submitted your admission application and have filed your federal tax return. You are strongly urged not to wait for notification of admission before filing the FAFSA.

Tuition and Fees

Current tuition and fees for Texas residents and out-of-state and international non-residents may be figured using the Graduate Tuition Calculator. Students in the MA in Art History program typically take 9 credit-hours per semester.

A limited number of Tuition Waivers are offered to out-of-state and international students that forgive the non-resident portion of tuition.


Funding resources at the MA level are limited and awarded on a case-by-case basis.

Each semester, MA students may apply for positions as a Grader for a large introductory/survey or upper-division class. Once assigned to grade for a course, the Grader must attend all lectures and grade all exams and assignments for the course. The number of Grader positions varies each year, and the salary is based on the number of students in the class.

A limited number of Graduate Research Assistant positions are available each semester to both MA and PhD students.

Information about other sources of funding is available from the Graduate School.

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