Art (Creative) and Art History (MA)


Master of Arts in Art (Creative) and Art History 
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences (GA)
Department: Fine Arts
Program Webpage.
Academic Plan Code(s): See Concentration Requirements tab.

Program Information

Students may receive a Master of Arts degree in the Department of Fine Arts by completing 31 credit hours of graduate study divided between work in the Core Curriculum and work in one of the following three tracks of study: Art History, Critical and Curatorial Studies, or Studio Art.

Degree Summary

Program Core and Electives16
Concentration Coursework15
Minimum Total Hours31

Accelerated BA/MA in Art History

Art History majors who are considering pursuing a master's degree (MA) in Art History can speed up the process by applying some of their undergraduate credit hours toward a master's degree.  Students accepted into the Accelerated BA/MA program take three 500-level courses (nine (9) credit hours) as an undergraduate that apply toward both the bachelor's degree and the eventual master's degree. 

Interested students should apply to the program during Junior year (i.e., when they have accumulated 60-90 credit hours). Students must have at least a 3.0 university grade point average when they apply and must maintain a 3.0 once accepted. Once admitted to the accelerated BA/MA program, students are expected to maintain a full graduate load of nine (9) credit hours. 

Once accepted into the program, students complete nine (9) credit hours of 500-level coursework during their final year of undergraduate studies. They then graduate with a bachelor's degree and move straight into the University of Louisville MA program. Students in the accelerated program must meet all of the requirements for the MA, including completing at least 12 credit hours of their 31 credit hour program in 600-level courses.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the MA program, students must submit the following credentials to the Graduate School:

  • Transcripts of all colleges attended (undergraduate or graduate)
  • Two letters of recommendation specific to the program
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores

Program Requirements

Core Coursework16
Graduate Seminar (or ART 600 / CCS 600 - first semester)
Theories & Methods of Art History (to be taken in first semester)
Art History Elective (500 or 600 level)
Elective - Outside the Department of Fine Arts (500 or 600 level) (with approval of advisor)
Fine Arts Elective (500 or 600 level) (outside the chosen Fine Arts Track)
Thesis Guidance (or ART 645; CCS 645)
Students complete one of the following (see Concentration Requirements tab for specific coursework):
Concentration in Art History
Concentration in Critical & Curatorial Studies
Concentration in Studio Art
Minimum Total Hours31

Concentration Requirements 

All students must complete one of the following 15 credit hour concentrations in addition to the 16 -credit hour program core (see Degree Requirements tab).

MA in Art (Creative) and Art History Concentrations

Concentration in Art History

Academic Plan Code(s): ARTCMA_HIS

Students in this concentration are expected to demonstrate competence in the history of art, equivalent to an undergraduate major.

Reading knowledge of one foreign language is required for the completion of the Art History concentration. This requirement should be met during the first year in the program, but must be met before enrolling for Thesis Guidance (ARTH 645/ARTH 646). Proficiency can be demonstrated in one of two ways:

  1. Taking an examination administered by the department, scheduled in the fall and spring semesters; or
  2. Completing the intermediate level of the language at the University of Louisville with a grade of B or better.
ARTH Pre 1750 - 3 credit hours, select one course from the following:3
Special Topics
Topics in Ancient Art
Ancient Painting
Ancient Cities
Studies in Medieval Art
Studies in Renaissance Art
Studies in Baroque Art
ARTH After 1750 - 3 credit hours, select one course from the following:3
Studies in Modern Art
Representations of Trauma in the Visual Arts
Studies in Contemporary Art
Special Topics
Studies in Modern Architecture
Studies in American Art
Topics in American Art
Studies in Photographic History
Topics in Modern Art
History of Performance Art
Topics in Urban History
ARTH NonWestern - 3 credit hours, select one course from the following:3
Studies in Asian Art
Special Topics
Pan-African Art: Form and Content
Contemporary Trends in African-American Art
ARTH Elective3
ARTH Elective3
ARTH 643/644Independent Study (one optional independent study course is permitted)optional
Language (fulfillment of the language requirement is required during the first year in the program)
Total ARTH Concentration Credit Hours15

A minimum of 12 credit hours in the concentration, exclusive of Thesis Guidance, must be at the 600-level, of which at least nine (9) credit hours must be in Art History.

The concentration in Art History will conclude with a written thesis.

The thesis consists of a research paper demonstrating critical knowledge of relevant sources, skill in analysis and interpretation, and ability to present the results in a well-organized and intelligent manner. The thesis must be defended in an oral examination. 

Concentration in Critical & Curatorial Studies

Academic Plan Code(s): ARTMA_CCS

Students admitted to this concentration are expected to demonstrate competence in the history of art, studio art or arts management equivalent to an undergraduate major and an interest in museum theory and work.

CCS 647Introduction to Critical and Curatorial Studies I3
CCS 648Critical and Curatorial Studies II3
CCS 649Curatorial Internship3
ARTH 500 or 600 level3
Select one of the following 600-level Public Administration courses:3
Foundations of Public Administration
Policy Analysis and Program Evaluation
Nonprofit Management
Grantsmanship and Fundraising
Written Thesis with Exhibition or Curatorial Project
Minimum Total Hours15

A minimum of 12 credit hours in the concentration, exclusive of Thesis Guidance, must be at the 600-level

The concentration in Critical & Curatorial Studies will conclude with a thesis exhibition or curatorial project. The exhibition or curatorial project may be produced in cooperation with the university's galleries, the Speed Art Museum, or other appropriate institutions authorized by the department. It should be a culminating experience occurring in the final year of study.

To fulfill this requirement, the candidate must submit a prefatory project proposal with the approval of their graduate advisor, produce or implement the thesis practicum proposed, and appropriately document the exhibit or project. This documentation will include exhibition or project materials such as press releases, announcements, wall texts, brochures and/or catalog, and digital and/or photographic documentation of the exhibition or project as well as other corollary documentary materials. The thesis project will also include a written portion, in addition to the practicum and documentation, that will provide a narrative basis in critical theory and current professional curatorial practice detailing the planning, implementation, and documentation of the project. The written thesis will be submitted in conformity with the regulations governing the form and presentation of the written master's thesis.