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Art History M.A. Degree Requirements


Upon entry to the program in art history, a student will be pursuing a Master of Arts degree. An advisor in the area will be assigned in the first semester, and by the end of the third week of the second year, a thesis proposal will be submitted to the student’s thesis committee members, leading to the completion of a 40 credit-hour degree.


The graduate program leading to the M.A. degree in art history requires the completion of at least 40-semester hours of graduate study, including 21 credits in art history courses, 9 credits in directed electives, and 10 credits in thesis. Proof of research competency in a foreign language approved by the faculty is also required. To satisfy the language requirement, students must complete one year of a foreign language or the equivalent (language test, taking the second semester of the introductory class in that language).

  1. 21 art history credits
  2. 9 electives credits
  3. 10 thesis credits
  4. 40 TOTAL (plus language requirement)

The program concludes with the submission of a thesis that demonstrates scholarly research and a final review and oral defense of the thesis.

  1. Required Major Courses: 21credit hours. These courses must be AH5000 or IARTS 7000 art history courses generally taught by Dr. Buchanan and Dr. Frohne.
  2. Directed Elective Courses (advisor-approved courses): 9 credit hours. These courses will be selected by the student in consultation with the advisor and should be approved by the advisor.
  3. Thesis: 10 credit hours (minimum): Approval of a topic by the thesis committee will be required before the student can register for thesis credits. Advisor’s approval in writing is required.


Each graduate student in art history is required to demonstrate competency translating a foreign language. The language chosen should be appropriate for each student’s thesis research, if possible, and must be approved by the student’s advisor. The language requirement must be completed by the end of the fourth semester. Upon fulfilling the language requirement, and with the approval of the faculty, additional language courses may count as elective credits. 

Students have two options to satisfy this requirement:

  • Complete the 5110-5120 language for reading sequence (offered in most languages taught at OU) in the relevant language. If a student already has a language background, they may be placed in 5120 or a more advanced class, and will need only to fulfill one semester of language by earning a B or better in the class.
  • Pass a translation exam administered by the appropriate department.
  • Students who are non-native English speakers generally only need a passing TOEFL score. Non-native speakers must still demonstrate translation competency in a language appropriate for their research if applicable. (Most often through taking an equivalent translation exam in that language. The offering of this exam is contingent upon approval by the department giving the exam.)


Each graduate student in required to complete AH 5711 during the second semester of study. Part of AH 5711 is devoted to the writing of the thesis proposal, which is due the third week of September during the following academic year. 


Each graduate student is required to complete at least one theory course and one art history course in each of the following subject areas: modern, pre-modern, and world art.


Most theory courses have “theory” in the course title and may not count in another distribution category. AH5900 (Selected Topics in Art) may fulfill a requirement depending on the topic of the course. AH 5711 (Methods in Art History) may not be used to fulfill the distribution requirement. No course may be counted in more than one distribution category. See the Art History program chair for a complete list of courses and their distribution categories.


A progress/candidacy review will take place in the second semester for full time graduate students and the fourth semester for part time graduate students. Based on their progress, students will receive one of the following recommendations: ‘continue,’ ‘continue with reservations,’ or ‘discontinue’ at the end of the first year. Thesis proposal reviews will take place in the 3rd semester for full time graduate students and the Thesis Defense and Thesis submission will occur in the final semester of the two-year program. 

INDEPENDENT STUDIES (AH 5920), SEMINAR IN ART HISTORY (AH 5922), and SERVICE LEARNING (AH 5930) credits do not fulfill any requirement for graduation.