Texas Tech University

Master of Arts in Art History

Curriculum and Areas of Study

Texas Tech's Master of Arts in Art History requires a minimum of 30 hours of post-baccalaureate study. This includes two required art historical theory and methodology courses (ARTH 5308 and 5309), 12 hours of graduate seminars in topics that allow focus or breadth, 6 hours of thesis (ARTH 6000), and 6 hours of supporting coursework (the "minor"). Additionally, reading knowledge of at least one foreign language is required.

General Track
Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, may craft a broad curriculum from the following areas:

  • Contemporary art and critical theory;
  •  European art, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, 18-19th centuries, and Modern, with emphases on Italy, France, Northern Europe and the USA;
  •  Colonial and Modern Latin American art;
  •  Chicano/a art;
  •  Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican and Native American art.

The program also supports two trans-geographic areas of concentration, the History of the Book as Art and Borderlands & Contact Zones:

The History of the Book as Art

  •  Considers handmade or artistically-produced books as expressions of aesthetic sensibilities tied to sacred, political, historical, and creative agendas.
  • Provides the opportunity to explore the historical and ongoing transitions in aesthetic communicative media, for example, the relationships between hand-made, print, and digital imagery;
  • Provides the means to investigate relationships between word and image in a variety of historical periods and media.

Outside the School of Art, the Department of English offers a Book History and Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate including courses with relevant content, such as ENGL 5343.001 Studies in Literary Criticism: Histories and Theories of the Book.

Borderlands & Contact Zones

  •  Challenges students to examine diverse forms of cultural contact in their historical settings and how these affect the production and interpretation of art;
  •  Encourages students to adopt a geographically intra-regional approach to investigation;
  •  Provides the means to re-conceptualize the epistemological 'centers' and disciplinary boundaries of art and Art History, in a variety of historical eras.

Outside the School of Art, the Department of History offers HIST 4382: Borderlands/Translational History and Culture. Several other courses in English, Anthropology, and History use this theoretical construction to address a variety of historical situations.

Expanding the "Minor"

For the six-hour minor, students may choose any field of study beyond art history. Literature, history, museum studies, an additional foreign language, and courses in contemporary theory are typical choices.

Additionally, the courses taken for the Art History MA minor (six hours) may be applied toward other programs at Texas Tech. For example, students may obtain a nine-hour "Formal Minor" in Museum Studies from the Museum Science program (available courses include Museology; Museum Administration; Museum Collection Management; Museum Law, Ethics and Standards; Museum Interpretation and Communication; Museum Preventive Conservation; Museum Education; Museum Collections Documentation.)

Students may also apply their six hour minor to several Graduate Certificates (15 – 18 hours) at Texas Tech, including: Historic Preservation, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Publishing and Editing, Urban and Community Design Studies, and Women's Studies.

For information about the Graduate Certificate in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, go [HERE].

Research Resources

Texas Tech University hosts many special collections and archives relevant for research in art history, including a Rare Books collection with Mesoamerican and Medieval European codex facsimiles; the Southwest and Millennial Collections of photographs, videos, and oral recordings; the papers of Charles Peirce, the American philosopher and semiologist; the Sowell collection, a repository of the papers of important writers on Literature, Community, and the Natural World; and the Artist Printmaker Research Collection at the TTU museum.

MA Graduates

Further Opportunities

TTU Art History encourages summer internships and has established relations with several museums and galleries in the region, including Museum of the Southwest, Midland; the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, and the Dallas Museum of Art. Our students have also worked on projects with the Charles Adams Studio Project, the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, and the Texas Tech Museum, all in Lubbock. MA students are encouraged to take advantage of Study Abroad programs during the summer months, especially so that they may become familiar with works of art or pursue archival research relevant to the thesis topic. Texas Tech has campuses in Seville, Spain and San Jose, Costa Rica where students can take intensive language courses in addition to other courses relevant to the thesis topic. Accredited Art History courses are offered through many programs in Barcelona, Florence, Lima, London, Rome, Seoul, Tokyo, several cities in Mexico and around the world, administered through Texas Tech University's International Cultural Center. Credit for Study Abroad courses in Art History must be approved by the Art History faculty.

Typical Plans of Study 

A. With Foreign Language study

Year 1 Fall  Year 1 Spring  Year 1 Summer  Year 2 Fall  Year 2 Spring

ARTH 5308
Art History
Foreign Language
Diagnostic exam

ARTH 5309
Art History
Foreign Language Annual Review

Draft Thesis Proposal.
Complete Foreign Language,
Or volunteer internship,
Or study abroad

Art History Minor
ARTH 6000 A
(= Thesis proposal and research)

Art History Minor
ARTH 6000B
(= Thesis submission,  defense, & symposium)

B. When the Foreign Language requirement is completed prior to admission

Year 1 Fall Year 1 Spring Year 1 Summer Year 2 Fall Year 2 Spring
ARTH 5308
Art History
Art History
Diagnostic exam
ARTH 5309
Art History
Annual Review

Draft Thesis
Complete Minor
Or volunteer internship,
Or study abroad
Art History
ARTH 6000 A
(=Thesis proposal and research)
ARTH 6000 B
(= Thesis submission, defense, & symposium)
Electives if
needed for full-time enrollment. 


The seven art historians at TTU have distinguished records of publication, archaeological investigation, and/or curatorial and administrative experience. Collectively, they have held research fellowships at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (Williamstown, MA), the Center for 17th and 18th –Century Studies (UCLA, Los Angeles, CA), the National Gallery of Art, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (both in Washington, DC), the Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions (Cambridge, MA), the British School at Rome (Rome, Italy), the Centro Studi sulla Civiltà del Tardo Medioevo (San Miniato, Italy), and Dumbarton Oaks (Washington, DC). They have curatorial experience at Tufts University, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum of Bellas Artes, Argentina; and the National Gallery in Washington (among others) and have conducted excavations at Classical sites in the Mediterranean region.

Application Process and Deadlines

Application must also be made to the Graduate School.  (Please consult the MA Art History coordinator, Dr. Kevin Chua, for specific instructions on how to apply via Liaison.)

All components of the application must be complete by the following dates:

For first priority consideration for fellowships and / or Teaching Assistant positions:January 15 for the Fall semester; October 15 for the Spring semester.

For second priority consideration for fellowships and / or Teaching Assistant positions, or if you do not need financial assistance:March 15 for Fall Semester; October 15 for Spring semester.

Students may matriculate in the Spring semester; however, scholarships and TA appointments may not be available.

Admission Standards

Students entering the MA program in Art History should have a BA in Art History or a BA in a related field with at least 24 hours in Art History. Up to 9 of these hours may be completed through leveling at TTU.

  •  Alternatively, students whose undergraduate degree is not in art history may complete the Graduate Certificate in Art History and Criticism at TTU. The GCERT requires 6 hours of undergraduate Art History for admission. Students must complete 15 hours of graduate-level Art History to receive the GCERT. If used to fulfill leveling requirements, hours earned for the GCERT do not transfer to the MA degree plan.
  •  Applicants are required to take the GRE exam (in time to have the scores submitted by the application deadline).
  • Admissions decisions are based on a holistic consideration of the student application, including transcripts, GRE scores, writing sample, letter of intent, and letters of recommendation.

Financial Assistance

Incoming students may apply for several scholarships and fellowships.

  1. All students seeking financial assistance should apply directly through the Graduate School for one of the numerous scholarships and fellowships that they administer
  2. Your application to the MA program will be considered as an application to scholarships and fellowships administered through the College of Visual & Performing Arts and the School of Art. Upon reviewing applications sent by the January 5 deadline, the faculty will nominate several students for The CH Foundation and the Helen Jones Foundation fellowships, which offer $4000 - $4500 / year for two years, and for the Graduate Recruitment Fellowship, which offers $4000 / year for two years. These are administered through the CVPA. Students must be enrolled full-time (at least 9 hours) to be eligible for one of these awards.
  3. Additionally, students will be considered for scholarships from the Bonnie and Rex Aycock Scholarship in Art History and for the Tate Family / LaMunyon / Chancellor's scholarships in Art History, as well as several other scholarships administered through the School of Art. These awards vary from $500 – 2000 and are not guaranteed to continue from year to year.
  4. Graduate students may also apply for employment as a Teaching Assistant. The School of Art awards numerous assistantships per year on a competitive basis. Half-time TA appointments provide waivers for certain fees and sometimes for out-of-state tuition. Students must be enrolled full-time (at least 9 hours) to be eligible for a TA appointment. The application form is in the MA Art History Application Packet.

    For further information, contact: Kevin Chua,Ph.D, MA Program Coordinator