2021-22 Graduate Catalog

Art History, MA

The School of Art offers the Master of Arts in Art History. This graduate program enables students to gain a deeper understanding of the history of art, its objects and its methods. An integral component of this program, which sets it apart from many others, is "the museum experience": the opportunity to study in art museums and work with museum professionals. Centering on the art object, the program allows students to expand their knowledge of the historical, stylistic and theoretical dimensions of the visual arts, while having the practical experience of working directly with art objects and in museums with professional staffs. Students participate in courses that utilize the resources of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Kimbell Art Museum, and serve internships in these and other art museums. Graduates are prepared to engage in work at the Ph.D. level and pursue careers in the teaching and art museum professions.

Program Prerequisites

In addition to meeting the minimum requirements for admission established by TCU, applicants will normally have completed 18 semester hours (six courses) in art history. The department will consider applications from qualified students in other fields.  The TOEFL is required for foreign students and must be passed at the level set by the University. The application must include:

  • A personal statement of no more than 250 words describing the applicant's academic and professional objectives

  • A writing sample that demonstrates art history research skills, not to exceed 20 pages in length

  • Three letters of recommendation

Degree Requirements

The program requires 30 hours of coursework plus six hours for the thesis. Upon approval of the faculty, entering students may transfer up to six hours of graduate study in art history earned prior to admittance. Required courses are:

ARHI 70003Art Historical Methods, Theories and Issues


ARHI 70013The Art Museum


ARHI 70100Museum Seminar


ARHI 70983Internship


ARHI 70990Thesis


ARHI Electives




Students are strongly encouraged to enroll in courses that reflect chronological and geographical diversity. Generally, a student may not earn more than three hours of graduate credit in coursework taken outside of the art history program.

Thesis Requirement

The thesis is to be fulfilled by a paper, or its equivalent, that demonstrates advanced research skills. The thesis should be the result of independent study, the revision and improvement of a seminar paper, or writing generated by the student's museum internship. In all cases, the topic must receive approval of the student's adviser. The thesis is overseen by department faculty members in conjunction with a museum professional.

Language Requirement

Students are required to pass a reading proficiency examination in French, German, Italian, Spanish or another language approved by the faculty upon entering the program. The language examination is administered at the beginning of the fall or spring semester. Students are expected to translate two passages into English, one with the use of a dictionary and one without a dictionary. Each passage is no more than 250 words, and students are given 30 minutes to complete each portion of the exam.

Foreign language exams are administered to ensure that students can do art historical research in a foreign language. To this end, students are encouraged to possess a strong understanding of basic grammar and vocabulary, as well as important art historical terminology. Students whose basic knowledge of a language or mastery of basic terminology in art history appears to be unsatisfactory will not receive a passing grade on the exam. Language exams are graded on the following scale: high pass; pass; low pass; fail. The dictionary and non-dictionary portions of the exam are each graded separately. Students are required to pass both sections of the exam for the M.A. in Art History.

Students not passing the examination have two options:

Option 1: Retake and pass the examination at the beginning of the following semester.

Option 2: Enroll in two semesters (or an approved intensive equivalent) of second-year foreign language study and earn at least a "B" in both semesters (or their equivalent). This option must be completed by the beginning of the student's second year in the program.

Students who do not satisfy the language requirement by the beginning of their second year may be withdrawn from the program.

Oral Examination

Candidates for the M.A. are required to perform satisfactorily in a "capstone conversation."

Art Facilities

TCU maintains a number of facilities appropriate to the graduate art student. The School of Art is housed in one of the best designed and fully equipped facilities in the Southwest — the J. M. Moudy Building for the Visual Arts and Communication, designed by Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo and Associates. The campus library houses a fine collection of art and art-related books, catalogues and journals. The Visual Resources Library holds an extensive collection of slides and digital images. The Art Galleries at TCU display international, national and regional art. Fort Worth's galleries and three major museums — the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art and the Kimbell Art Museum — are conveniently located near campus. Dallas, with its many galleries and excellent art museums, is 40 minutes away by car.

Art History Course Subcategories

ARHI 60123American Art 1913 to the Present


ARHI 60133Art of the Aztecs


ARHI 60143Gender in Mesoamerican Art


ARHI 60153The Aztec, Maya, and Olmec: Ancient Mesoamerican Art


ARHI 60163Maya Art and Architecture


ARHI 60173Early Italian Renaissance Art


ARHI 60183High and Late Italian Renaissance Art


ARHI 60193Northern Renaissance Painting: Van Eyck - Bruegel


ARHI 6020317th Century Italian and Spanish Art


ARHI 60213Drawing as Artistic Invention


ARHI 60333Modern Art I: Romantic classicism to Impressionism


ARHI 60343Modern Art II: Post-Impressionism to Surrealism


ARHI 6036317th Century Flemish-Dutch Painting


ARHI 60500Special Topics in Art History


ARHI 60603Art Since 1945


ARHI 60613Modern Architecture


ARHI 60623History of the Print


ARHI 60823History of Photography


ARHI 70023Approaches to the Art Object