UAB Department of Art and Art History: MFA Art History

MA Art History

The Master of Arts degree in Art History, offered jointly with the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, is the only art history graduate program in the state. The MA degree in Art History prepares students for further academic study at the doctoral level or for professional careers in teaching, museums, galleries, and other arts-related fields. Students may enroll on either campus and must take at least 6 hours of course work on the other campus.

The MA program offers a wide range of art history courses and graduate seminars. Each student must take ARH 680 (Methods and Approaches to the History of Art). The MA program offers specialized study in: Medieval Art, Early Modern Art, Eighteenth-Century/Nineteenth-Century Art, Twentieth-Century/Contemporary Art, South Asian Art, and East Asian Art. The small size of the program affords graduate students the opportunity to work closely with individual faculty members on both campuses in seminars and directed research projects. The MA in Art History provides students with a thorough grounding in art history, critical thinking, and research methods.

The MA in Art History is a 30-hour research degree consisting of 24 hours of art history course work and 6 hours of thesis research. Degree requirements include a comprehensive examination and a thesis. In addition, prior to taking the comprehensive examination, a student must demonstrate a reading knowledge of a language, appropriate to the student’s field of study. The program offers funding for graduate students in the forms of graduate assistantships and a UAB/Birmingham Museum of Art Curatorial Fellowship. UAB/BMA student fellows have engaged in a variety of exciting research projects at the BMA and organized such exhibitions as The Golden Age: Illustration from the Birmingham Museum of Art Collection, a show that was presented in conjunction with Norman Rockwell’s America, and Vanguard Views, an exhibition celebrating innovation in visual art and design in the early twentieth century. The art history faculty also regularly offer study abroad programs for students in South Asia and Europe.

Each year, graduate students present their research at the Annual Graduate Symposium organized by the joint UAB/UA M.A. Program in Art History. They also participate in UAB’s Graduate Student Research Day, where they compete for prizes against other UAB graduate students in the humanities.

The new Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, which houses the art history area and the UAB Visual Arts Galleries, is an important resource. The AEIVA’s internship program along with its expansive gallery spaces provide opportunities for graduate students to collaborate with faculty, peers, and the community on exhibition projects. In addition to UAB and the Birmingham Museum of Art, the city of Birmingham, a dynamic arts community, also offers opportunities to gain professional experience at local art spaces and galleries.

A minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) is required for acceptance into the program. The applicant should also have completed 24 semester hours in art history and related areas such as history, aesthetics, archaeology, and anthropology.

Students may apply for admission for either the fall or spring semester.

Spring admission: applications due by October 15 
Fall admission: applications due by April 1


Dr. Cathleen Cummings
Dr. Jessica Dallow
Dr. Heather McPherson
Dr. Noa Turel
UAB/BMA Fellowship
M.A. Art History Symposium
Thesis Project Record
M.A. Art History Information Packet PDF