M.A. in Art History

The School of Art is thrilled to launch the new Master of Arts in Art History specializing in the Arts of the Americas in partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Come study with us and declare what art history can be. 



The Art History M.A. degree is an accredited two-year residency program in partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and specializing in the arts of the Americas.

Educating students in a multivocal and inclusive art history, the program aims to give students the interdisciplinary training and robust work experiences that they will need to thrive with an M.A. degree in industries that value visual literacy, creativity, communication, collaboration, and research. The program prepares students for top Ph.D. programs in art history, but also facilitates other trajectories for those seeking to contribute to the arts and society with an MA degree.

Thanks to the transformational gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, all graduate students accepted into the program will receive funding support during the two years of study.

Please direct specific questions about the M.A. program to Jennifer Greenhill, greenhil@uark.edu, Endowed Professor and Graduate Director.

How to Apply

The School of Art application is free and submitted through Slideroom, a web-based portfolio and document submission system.

The application deadline is January 15th at midnight, CST, to start the application click here: http://uarkart.slideroom.com/ .

Please note that the GRE is not required for applicants to the Master of Arts program in Art History at the School of Art at the University of Arkansas. Applicants wishing to submit GRE scores are welcome to do so, however, and may submit them as a part of their application materials.

NOTE:  Applicants who have been granted admission by the School of Art will be asked to submit a secondary application to the Graduate School before they can be fully admitted to the university (a link to the application will be provided with the School of Art's offer letter). The Graduate School application fee is $60. For more information about the circumstances in which the application fee can be waived, please review:

Successful applicants will have an undergraduate degree in art history, significant coursework in art history, or a related discipline relevant to art history and/or the arts of the Americas. Relevant work experience will also be considered as preparation for graduate work in art history.

Applicants should submit the following materials to the School of Art, using Slideroom:

Please submit a personal statement detailing motivation for pursuing graduate research in art history (in general and at the University of Arkansas), personal and career goals, and relevant qualifications and experiences (three pages).

A writing sample demonstrating preparedness for advanced research in art history, 15-20 pages.

The writing sample should be a piece of scholarly writing that demonstrates the student's research and writing skills, analytical abilities, and capacity for original argumentation. The writing sample should read as a complete piece of work (not an incomplete section of a larger text).

Students may attach up to five additional pages of illustrations and/or bibliography. 

Please upload a copy of your CV or Resume in PDF format. 

Please provide three letters of recommendation addressing the applicant's prepardness for graduate education. 

Applications are not considered until all recommendation letters are received. 

PDF of unofficial transcripts from all previous colleges and/or universities attended. GPA of 3.0 minimum.

If English is not your native language, or your baccalaureate (or for applications with a graduate degree) was not completed at an institution where the language of instruction is English, please provide English proficiency test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE). For more information on requirements, please visit https://international-admissions.uark.edu/graduate-studies/english-proficiency.php


More Information About the Arts of the Americas Program

We are committed to thinking about the arts and creative practice in a global context. But we believe that a specialty in arts of the Americas allows us to best meet an urgent need in art history departments, museums, and the broader art world today: to expand the range of perspectives included in our art institutions, and to examine the legacies of Western canon formation on collecting practices, for example, and art historical pedagogy.  Our program educates students to productively intervene in this inheritance.

How might an emphasis on the Americas diversify the knowledge systems recognized and cultivated by art historical research? How can we foreground transnational and transcultural narratives over nationalist ones that risk reinscribing center and periphery hierarchies? What can we learn from contemporary artists who are interrogating art world structures that marginalize or repress difficult institutional histories? How can we use the university and the museum as a training ground for refocusing interpretive energy in ways that matter to the lived experiences of creators and other art workers?

These are some of the questions animating the thinking behind our partnership with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in a graduate program that prepares students to grapple with what art history means and can do in the twenty-first century.

Direct study of museum collections is enhanced in our program by regular dialogue with the practicing artists, designers, and art educators across the School of Art. Students will learn to support their first-hand observations with thorough research drawing on archival, primary, secondary, and unconventional source materials. We seek to empower students to develop their own unique voices as they explain creative cultural production and analyze the contributions of artists to society. They will learn to present their ideas clearly to multiple audiences and in a variety of written and oral formats. The museum will provide an especially rich context for this work.

Students in the program will develop:

  • The ability to analyze works of art, visual culture, and related material.
  • The ability to conduct advanced research.
  • The ability to situate works of art and related material in historical and cultural contexts.
  • The ability to formulate original ideas and clearly articulate them in a variety of forms of writing and oral presentations for diverse publics.
  • A thorough understanding of methodological approaches informing art historical scholarship, including historical and contemporary critiques of the discipline.
  • A critical understanding of key diversity, equity, and inclusion theories and orientations in the field of art history.
  • The capacity to approach art, visual culture, and related material from interdisciplinary perspectives that expand the canon and take a diverse and inclusive approach to the field.
  • Practical experience in areas of art history related to student career objectives.

Students admitted to the MA degree program must complete a total of 36 credit hours to graduate.

This includes 5 required core courses (15 credit hours):

  • ARHS 6003. Art History’s Histories: Critical Historiography and Methodology (3 hours)
  • ARHS 6043. Art History Practicum (3 hours)
  • ARHS 6013. Immersive Travel (3 hours)
  • ARHS 6023. Graduate Art History Writing Workshop (3 hours)
  • ARHS 6033. Art History Qualifying Paper (3 hours)

For the remaining 7 courses (21 credit hours):

15 credits (5 courses) must be at the 6000-level and informed by one or more of the following themes, which we consider fundamental to an understanding of arts of the Americas in a global context. These themes reflect the program’s central concern with promoting critical thinking about art-world and social structures, transnational and transcultural networks of relation, and diverse perspectives on knowledge production and modes of creativity.

Students will define how each 6000-level course fulfills a particular theme through a self-assessment written at the end of each semester. Although most courses will touch on multiple themes, students may designate a particular course for no more than two themes. This model of theme-based learning as well as self-assessment will give students a share in designating how courses fulfill core themes and help them communicate their interests and goals as they proceed through the program.


  • Environment (speaks to land, nature, climate change, resource stewardship)
  • Heritage (speaks to ancestral lineages and legacies, invented traditions, the life of objects and ideologies, questions of authenticity, materials and making)
  • Power (speaks to rights issues, social and political imbalances and inequities, race relations and racism, imperialism and nation building, colonization and decolonization)
  • Circulation (speaks to the movements and migrations of people, objects, and ideas across space and time; transculturation and globalization; value and mobility; markets)
  • Structures and Systems (speaks to institutions and the mechanisms that organize and legislate experience; systemically maintained social privileges and oppressions; systems of signification; intersections between art and science)
  • Identity and Community (speaks to identity formation, individual subjectivities, intersectionalities, kinship networks, social worldmaking, community protocols, imagined and real communities)

6 credits (2 courses) may be at the 5000-level and address material outside of the program’s key themes or emphasis on the Americas. These may be very specialized ARHS seminars or courses that fall outside of art history, in allied disciplines.

African and African American Studies offers a graduate certificate, which art history MA students may pursue (9 of their 15 total hours of coursework for the certificate may be in art history). By taking 2 courses in this department, students can earn a graduate certificate in African and African American Studies.

ARHS 6243. Seminar in Mining Museums (Themes: Heritage, Power, Circulation, Structures and Systems)

ARHS 6103. Seminar in Spatial Practices in Mesoamerica and New Spain (Themes: Environment, Structures and Systems, Identity and Community)

ARHS 6223. Seminar in Monuments and Public Space (Themes: Environment, Power, Identity and Community)

ARHS 6213. Seminar in Visual Legacies of the American West (Themes: Environment, Heritage, Power)

ARHS 6233. Seminar in Making and Unmaking the Modern (Themes: Circulation, Structures and Systems, Identity and Community)

ARHS 6643. Seminar in Imagining Africa (Heritage, Circulation, Identity and Community)

ARHS 6303. Seminar in Culture Wars: Politics, Protest, and Activism in the Arts (Themes: Power, Identity and Community)

ARHS 6653. Seminar in Cross-Cultural Artistic Production in the Atlantic World (Themes: Circulation, Power, Structures and Systems, Identity and Community)

ARHS 6203. Seminar in Art and Artifice of Americana (Themes: Heritage, Circulation, Structures and Systems)

ARHS 6313. Seminar in Contemporary Native American Art (Themes: Environment, Heritage, Power, Circulation)

ARHS 6403. Seminar in Contemporary Latinx Art (Themes: Environment, Heritage, Power, Circulation, Identity and Community) 

ARHS 6433. Seminar in Queer, Trans, and Feminist Art of the Americas (Themes:  Heritage, Identity and Community, Power, Circulation, Structures and Systems)

ARHS 6253. Seminar in Abstraction and Identity (Themes: Identity and Community, Structures and Systems)

1. Language Proficiency

Reading proficiency in a minimum of one world language (other than English) is required for successful progress through the program.

Proficiency can be demonstrated by one of these means: 1) passing a translation exam offered by the World Languages, Literatures and Cultures Department at the University of Arkansas or by special arrangement in cases when the relevant language translation exam is not offered; 2) by receiving a grade of B or higher in a reading knowledge course taken at Global Campus at the University of Arkansas or at another approved institution; or 3) by having an undergraduate major or minor in a world language. Students should demonstrate proficiency before the beginning of their second year in the program.

2. Qualifying Paper and Public Presentation

As part of their work for ARHS 6023: Graduate Art History Writing Workshop, taken during their third semester in the program, each student will begin the process of developing a Qualifying Paper (QP). They will expand upon and refine a research paper written in a previous course for their QP, or develop a new project, drawing on research begun in a previous course. By the end of the course, students will be expected to submit a 25-page draft of their QP and form an Advisory Committee.

ARHS 6033: Art History Qualifying Paper, to be taken during the fourth and final semester in the program, is a thesis research/independent study course that allows students to refine the 25-page QP draft that they developed and submitted in ARHS 6023. The last 6-8 weeks of the student’s work on this project will consist of editing the paper down to a 20-minute talk. Students will have two run-throughs of their lecture in the final stages with their Advisory Committee, before a public presentation at the graduate student symposium in mid-May, the capstone event of the degree program.

3. Comprehensive Oral Examination

The public presentation, adapted from the Qualifying Paper, in addition to a 1-hour oral defense of the project, will fulfill this requirement and demonstrate the student’s comprehensive knowledge of their research area explored in the Qualifying Paper.

All incoming students will be matched with specific departments and/or projects at Crystal Bridges/the Momentary for a minimum 8-10 hour-per-week internship during their second semester in the program, which will fulfill core course ARHS 6043: Art History Practicum.

Students may forego their slot for an internship at another institution and/or during summer or other periods when class is not in session with the approval of the Graduate Director.

Immersive travel courses offer unprecedented access to private collections, behind the scenes tours by museum curators, visits to off-the-beaten-path public art collections, and discussions with scholars.

To fulfill the core course requirement of ARHS 6013: Immersive Travel, students will take a 10-day January intersession course focusing on sites and collections in the Southern U.S. They may fulfill the Immersive Travel requirement by instead taking international travel courses when they are offered. The first international travel course for MA program students will be offered in 2024, with travel to Mexico.


John Blakinger, Endowed Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of the Art History Program

Jennifer Greenhill, Endowed Professor of American Art; Graduate Director; Director of Museum + Strategic Partnerships for the School of Art

Lynn Jacobs, Distinguished Professor

Abra Levenson, Assistant Professor

Ana Pulido Rull, Endowed Associate Professor

Alexis Salas, Endowed Assistant Professor of Arts of the Americas

Janine Sytsma, Assistant Professor of Art History

Kim Sexton, Associate Professor of Architectural History and Art History

Rhodora Vennarucci, Assistant Professor of Classics and Art History

Austen Barron Bailly – Chief Curator, Crystal Bridges

Alejo Benedetti – Associate Curator, Contemporary Art, Crystal Bridges

Mindy Besaw – Curator of American Art, Director of Fellowships, Research, and University Partnerships, Crystal Bridges

Ashley Holland – Curator and Director of Curatorial Initiatives, Art Bridges Foundation

Jen Padgett – Windgate Curator of Craft, Crystal Bridges

Xuxa Rodríguez – Associate Curator, Contemporary Art, Crystal Bridges


All students in the M.A. art history program receive full tuition waivers and a generous stipend, with take-home annual support offered through a mix of graduate assistantships and fellowships that support research, travel, internships, language learning, and other academic activities.


Quick Info

Master of Arts in Art History
Arts of the Americas

Please direct specific questions about the M.A. program to:

Endowed Professor and Graduate Director
Jennifer Greenhill

Fine Arts Center, School of Art
340 N. Garland
Fayetteville, AR 72701