Graduate Programs in Fine Arts | Master of Arts in Art (Creative) and Art History | MAT in Art Education | PhD in Art History | MA/MPA in Critical & Curatorial Studies and Public Administration
The Department of Fine Arts offers a comprehensive graduate curriculum leading to a Master of Arts (M.A. in three concentrations), Master of Art in Teaching (MAT in Art Education) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D. in Art History) degree. The Ph.D. Program in Art History provides specialist training which culminates in conferral of the terminal degree in the field. The M.A. Degree program has three concentrations in Studio Art, Art History, and Critical and Curatorial Studies. In addition, the department also offers a joint Masters of Arts/ Masters of Public Administration (M.P.A.) in Curatorial Studies and Urban Planning.
For the complete guide to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies (SIGS) please visit their website (http://graduate.louisville.edu/). Download the current Graduate Handbook for information about our M.A. and Ph.D. programs. All candidates for admission to graduate programs must complete the application online: graduate.louisville.edu/admissions/apply-for-admission.html
MA in Art (Creative) and Art History: Concentration in Studio Art
The Masters of Arts in Fine Arts with a concentration in Studio Art provides advanced expertise in studio art. This course of study prepares students for professional activities in their area of concentration. Students in this track may concentrate in one area, or a combination of studio areas. These areas include: ceramics, digital media, drawing, fibers, glass, photography, painting, printmaking, and sculpture.
This course of study is appropriate for students who desire an extended studio experience to elevate and enhance their level of work or build a professional folio. Elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers (P-12) can apply the graduate hours toward Rank II and Rank I Equivalency programs.
Beyond the core curriculum, the concentration in Studio Arts requires 15 hours of 500 and 600 level courses in Studio Art (12 hours must be at the 600-level).
By the end of the first year, each student should have a major professor to serve as mentor and thesis advisor. The professor should be familiar with the studio area or areas of the student's intended work and be willing to accept this responsibility. The advisor serves as mentor in guiding the student through his/her course of study in the program.
The studio art thesis consists of an exhibition of creative work and a written paper. The exhibition is scheduled for the final semester of study to complete the program. Most thesis exhibitions are held in the university galleries, but these exhibitions can also be mounted in facilities off campus.
Thesis Guidance (ART 645) is taken in the final semester of the Master's program. This 3 hour course facilitates the preparation of the thesis exhibition and the written thesis. A grade for this course is deferred until the thesis committee has approved and signed the written thesis document.
The written thesis document clearly articulates the intention of the body of work. The components of the body of work should include:
Concept: the rationale for, and content of, a body of work;
Craft: the execution and conscious choice of process and materials, with a clear understanding of material language; and finally,
Aesthetic: The organization and presentation of the body of work in a manner most appropriate to the stated thesis.
The paper is to be completed, in final draft, and submitted to the thesis committee at least one week before the oral examination. The thesis document must meet specific formal guidelines. Information on these guidelines can be found on the graduate school website (https://graduate.louisville.edu/sigs/Programs/theses-dissertations).
The oral exam is scheduled during the thesis exhibition. In consultation with the advisor, the student selects a thesis reading committee that consists of the thesis advisor (major professor) and two other professors who are members of the graduate faculty. One of these professors must be from outside the Department of Fine Arts. [Note: Please refer to the Graduate Catalog for specific and detailed information about the M.A. graduate program and the program requirements.]
Thesis Exhibition Requirements
MA in Art (Creative) and Art History: Concentration in Art History
Beyond the core curriculum, the concentration in Art History requires:
Reading knowledge of one foreign language is required for the completion of the Master’s degree in the Art History track. This requirement should be met during the first year in the program, but must be met before enrolling for Thesis Guidance (ARTH 645 or 646). Language proficiency is demonstrated in one of two ways: 1) Passing a proficiency examination administered by the Art History Program, scheduled in the fall and spring semesters (contact the Director of Graduate Studies to schedule an exam). The proficiency exam consists of a one hour translation, for which students may use a dictionary. Students are required to demonstrate intermediate-level facility in the language. 2) Completing the intermediate level language course at the University of Louisville with a grade of B or better.
General Outline of Academic Schedule in the M.A. Program in Art History
Year 1: Semester 1
Year 1: Semester 2
Year 2: Semester 1
Year 2: Semester 2
Satisfactory Progress toward the M.A. Degree
Each year the Art History faculty will review all Art History graduate students to assess their progress in the program. To remain in good standing in the M.A. program, students must: maintain regular enrollment in graduate courses; complete and pass courses within the time limits of the semester in which the course is taken; and maintain an overall minimum GPA of 3.0. Students enrolled full-time are expected to follow the schedule of progress outlined in the previous section; those enrolled part-time are expected to complete coursework within five semesters of admission, and to finish the thesis within two semesters following the completion of coursework. SIGS mandates that all requirements for the M.A. degree be completed within six years of enrollment.
Writing a Master’s Thesis
The Master’s thesis is a formal research paper on a specific art historical topic that includes scholarly notes and bibliography. It should demonstrate a sound familiarity with relevant sources, skill in analysis and interpretation, and the ability to present the results in a well-organized and cogent manner. A topic is selected in the student’s chosen area of concentration in consultation with the thesis advisor, and the thesis is prepared under his/her supervision. Its content, approach, and presentation are to be developed with the advisor’s approval and support. The thesis must be defended in an oral examination administered by the thesis advisor and reading committee.
Choosing a Thesis Advisor and a Thesis Topic
Working closely with the thesis advisor is an essential key to writing a successful thesis. His/her suggestions and counsel should be sought concerning research, writing, format, schedule, progress, and all other matters. Master’s students are responsible for formally requesting to work with a specific thesis advisor, who must have mentor status within the graduate faculty. The faculty member must agree to act as advisor to the specific project the student is proposing, and it is assumed that the advisor’s area of specialization will correspond to the proposed project.
There are a number of ways in which students may choose a thesis topic, including the following: 1) an M.A. thesis is often based on a seminar paper that has shown particular promise. In this case, normally the thesis advisor is the faculty member who assigned the paper; 2) students may ask a faculty member with whom coursework has been taken to suggest a thesis topic and act as the thesis advisor; 3) students who are interested in a specific topic may go to the faculty member with a corresponding expertise and request that he/she serve as the thesis advisor. It is up to the student and the thesis advisor to see that all required procedures are followed.
Approval of the Thesis Topic
A topic must be formally approved before the commencement of the thesis. To obtain approval, a proposal or prospectus must be prepared; the advisor supervises its preparation and must sanction it before it is submitted to the student’s thesis committee members. The prospectus must be typed and double-spaced, and should include:
Before thesis research commences, the thesis advisor, along with the student’s input, will form a thesis committee. The committee includes: 1) the thesis advisor (who acts as chair of the committee); 2) another member of the department faculty; and 3) a faculty member in a closely related field from another department or institution. Committee members must be formally solicited to act as readers and must agree to serve in that capacity; all committee members, including the thesis advisor, must be appointed to the graduate faculty. As soon as the committee is established, the Thesis and Dissertation Advisory Committee Appointment Form (available at http://graduate.louisville.edu/sigs/faculty-staff.html#forms) must be completed: the student should fill out the top portion of the form, obtain signatures of all committee members, and then submit the form to the Art History DGS. If one of the committee members is from outside the University, the thesis advisor must submit a Graduate Faculty appointment request letter to the Chair of the Department for his/her signature, along with a copy of the committee member’s abbreviated CV, to be forwarded to SIGS for approval.
Thesis Development and Completion
Students should obtain a copy of SIGS’ Guidelines for the Preparation and Processing of Theses, available on-line at https://graduate.louisville.edu/sigs/Programs/theses-dissertations.
Application for Degree
Degrees are awarded in August, December, and May. Candidates who expect to receive degrees on a particular award date must submit their completed application for degree form through ULink on or before the dates specified in the University calendar. See http://graduate.louisville.edu/sigs/Programs/commencement.html for the thesis submission deadlines and instructions on submitting the application for degree form (a link to the application for degree may be found on ULink under the Academic Resources section of the student services tab).
The final oral examination (thesis defense) is conducted by the thesis committee. Any member of the graduate faculty of the University and other guests may attend the defense, but only the members of the committee have a voice in approving the thesis. The examination covers the materials presented in the thesis but may include other matters pertinent to the candidate’s thesis topic. Recommendation for the degree is determined by a simple majority of the committee members. The recommendation is made to the Assistant Dean of Graduate Education and the Dean of SIGS at least two weeks prior to graduation. In the event of an unfavorable vote, the committee may refuse the candidate’s award of the Master’s degree, or it may recommend another examination with or without additional work.
The thesis must be completed according to SIGS requirements outlined in the Guidelines for the Preparation and Processing of Theses. One unbound copy of the approved thesis, signed by the committee members, must be submitted to SIGS (see the Commencement schedule for due date). All images referenced in the thesis must be attached in digital form. Students also need to print and sign the non-exclusive license available on-line at http://digital.library.louisville.edu/ collections/etd/about.php. The license allows the University Libraries to mount the thesis on their server. This signed license form and an electronic copy of the complete thesis (including images) must be submitted to Gail Gilbert in the Art Library.
Beyond the core curriculum, the concentration in Critical and Curatorial Studies requires 15 hours. [Note: A minimum of 12 hours (exclusive of Thesis Guidance) must be at the 600-level.]
The thesis for Critical and Curatorial Studies is a demonstration of the student's abilities to plan, research, develop, administer, implement and document a professional curatorial project. As such, the thesis is a combination of both the scholarly and the applied and, therefore, it can take a variety of forms, from an exhibition to other kinds of curatorial projects developed to meet the particular student's interests, abilities and experience. This activity can be done in cooperation with the university's galleries, the Speed Art Museum or other appropriate institutions authorized by the department, and should be a culminating experience occurring in the final year of study.
Each student will work with a primary professor who serves as mentor and thesis advisor. This advisor will guide and assist the M.A. candidate in the completion of the program.
In the first year of the program, the student should be exploring possible thesis topics. By the beginning of the second year, the student, with the assistance of the faculty advisor, should identify a thesis project and formulate a proposal to fulfill the thesis requirement. He/she should enroll in ART or ARTH 645 (Thesis Guidance) at this time since the project will require planning and development in order to be ready for presentation in the final semester.
Once the thesis project idea has been formulated, the student will submit a written prospectus or project proposal to the faculty advisor for approval by the full faculty. The project proposal should demonstrate the student's understanding of critical theory and professional practice, show knowledge and skill in analysis, interpretation and presentation, and include proof of the ability to organize, administer and document an intelligent and professional project.
The thesis exhibition or project should include several components, including an critical essay explaining the project; written materials to implement the project, including correspondence, timeline or schedules and other planning documents such as budgets necessary to organize and administer the project; exhibition or other publication, such as brochures, catalogs, label or other explanatory text to present the project to the public or other targeted audiences; and image (either slide or digital) and written documentation of the project (i.e. reviews, surveys and other responses generated in reaction to the project). This documentation must be submitted in conformity with the regulations governing the form and presentation required by the Graduate School, the guidelines for which are printed in the Graduate Catalog.
After the project has been approved, the student will select a thesis committee consisting of the faculty advisor, and two members of the graduate faculty, including someone from outside the department. There will be an oral defense during the time of the exhibition, or at an appropriate evaluation point if the project is another kind of curatorial project. This exhibition and oral defense should occur in plenty of time for the student to finish and submit the project documentation and application for graduation to the Graduate School.
The Masters of Arts in Teaching in Art Education program enables graduate students to earn their initial teaching certification for Kentucky. Teacher candidates learn to teach through instruction in pedagogy, child development, special education, technology and diversity.
The program is located in the College of Education and Human Development in the Department of Teaching and Learning.
Barbara Hanger, M.F.A.
Ph.D. Program RequirementsGeneral Requirements
After completing minimum course requirements for the program, doctoral students must maintain continuous registration until the completion of the degree. Students must continue to enroll for credit each fall and spring, including any semesters after which coursework has been completed and before graduation. PhD candidates must register for candidacy status (DOCT 600). GTAs must enroll in summer to maintain their stipend.
Language proficiency is demonstrated in one of two ways:
Satisfactory Progress toward the Ph.D. Degree
Satisfactory progress requires compliance with a number of criteria, including: regular enrollment in graduate courses or Doctoral Candidacy (DOCT 600); completing and passing courses within the time limits of the semester in which the course is taken; maintaining a 3.5 grade point average (courses in which a grade below B- is earned will not count toward completion of the Ph.D. degree); successfully completing the comprehensive examination within two semesters of completing coursework; and completion of the dissertation before the beginning of the fifth year after advancement to Doctoral Candidacy.
It is mandatory that students submit a progress report to the Art History DGS, which is due before December 15 each year of a student’s enrollment in the Ph.D. program; failure to submit a progress report will automatically result in an unsatisfactory evaluation for that year. The progress report forms are available electronically on the Department’s website and in hard copy from the Art History Program Assistant.
Each year the Art History faculty will review all Ph.D. students to assess their progress in the program, and will notify students in writing of the faculty’s evaluation. Students who receive two unsatisfactory evaluations will be recommended for dismissal from the program.
General Outline of Academic Schedule in the Ph.D. Program in Art History
This outline represents the standard academic trajectory for students enrolled in the Ph.D. program full-time; for those enrolled part-time, it offers a sequenced checklist of primary academic requirements and activities.
Year 2, Fall and Spring:
Year 2, Summer:
Year 3, Fall Semester:
Year 3, Spring Semester:
The Art History Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) advises students in the early stages of their graduate careers. During the first year, however, students must identify a faculty member who is willing to serve as their advisor and dissertation director. In consultation with the advisor, the student is responsible for keeping all academic records up to date.
The faculty advisor generally directs the student in matters concerning coursework, the comprehensive examination, and the dissertation. Professional protocol must be observed concerning all academic matters. Students must immediately inform their faculty advisor of any changes in plans or status. In the case of a change in the area of concentration and/or advisor, the faculty advisor of record and the DGS must be informed in writing before any change can be authorized.
Doctoral students in Art History are expected to demonstrate specialized knowledge of the historical and scholarly issues in a field of study. The successful completion of the comprehensive examination admits a student to formal candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Students admitted before fall 2009 have the option of taking either two comprehensive exams in a major and minor area or a single exam as described below. Students admitted after fall 2009 will take a single exam as described below.
The purpose of the comprehensive exam is to demonstrate a mastery of the chosen field, including the theoretical approaches and methodologies used by scholars active in that field. In order to do so, the student must be familiar with recent trends in theory and critical analysis, as well as scholarship fundamental to his/her study. Through the successful completion of the comprehensive exam, the student demonstrates that he/she possesses a firm mastery of the scholarship and, hence, is prepared for the serious, critical research that a dissertation requires.
Guidelines for the Comprehensive Examination
As a general rule, a student should plan to take the comprehensive examination by the end of the semester immediately following the completion of coursework. No exams will be administered during the summer break. The dissertation committee will formulate questions for the student’s exam, which will consist of two parts, or areas: the first will address the student’s primary/major field of study; and the second will address an interdisciplinary or secondary/minor field related to the dissertation topic. The student will have a maximum of four hours to complete the primary portion of the exam and three hours for the secondary portion.
Students can sit for an exam in the following primary areas: American Art and Architecture; Greek Art and Architecture; Roman Art and Architecture; Medieval Art and Architecture; Byzantine Art and Architecture; Renaissance Art and Architecture; Baroque Art and Architecture; Modern Art and Architecture; Contemporary Art; Asian Art and Architecture.
Students are expected to register for at least three credit hours in Directed Readings for Comprehensive Exam (ARTH 743 and 744): two credit hours in the primary area, and one credit hour in the secondary area.
Criteria for Passing the Comprehensive Exam
If an exam results in failure, the faculty advisor may suggest that the student retake the exam. A student may retake a comprehensive examination only one time. A second failure results in the student’s dismissal from the program. In that unfortunate circumstance, the faculty advisor will meet with the student to discuss his/her standing in the program and the available options for terminating enrollment: the student may voluntarily withdraw from the program by submitting a withdrawal form to SIGS (available on-line at http://graduate.louisville.edu/sigs/faculty-staff.html#forms) or the Art History faculty can formally recommend to the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences that the student be dismissed. If the student elects not to withdraw voluntarily, the faculty advisor shall notify the DGS in writing that formal procedures for dismissal should be initiated.
Advancement to Candidacy
Doctoral students who have completed all required coursework and language requirements and passed the comprehensive examination advance to Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The DGS is responsible for submitting the result of the comprehensive examination to SIGS, and verifying that the student has satisfied all other curriculum requirements. After advancement to Candidacy, the student must maintain continual registration status (fall, spring, and summer terms) under Doctoral Candidacy (DOCT 600) until the degree is conferred.
The Doctoral Dissertation
Ph.D. candidates must successfully complete a dissertation—an original study that makes a contribution to the field of specialization. It is often the basis for further scholarly work and, in terms of content and format, should be regarded as equivalent to a book. It must incorporate results of original research and demonstrate a high degree of competence in the use of appropriate art historical methodologies. The dissertation is not a mere accumulation of data, but rather submits a coherent argument that gives the primary research meaning, context, and purpose.
An Art History faculty member must formally agree to act as dissertation advisor to direct the project from its beginning to its conclusion; the dissertation director should be determined in the student’s first year of study. Since the student and advisor will work closely over an extended period of time, the student should approach a faculty member with whom he/she has had a productive affiliation and extensive coursework.
It may happen that a student wishes to change topic and seek a new mentor. The student must consult with the old mentor and the DGS before any such change can be made. Students should know that changes of this nature, at this time, may involve additional coursework and may seriously delay their graduation.
Before the completion of coursework, and ideally before the first semester of the third year, the student and dissertation advisor together will select a dissertation committee consisting of at least four members. At least two members of the dissertation committee must be full-time faculty in the Art History Program (which includes the dissertation advisor, who serves as chair of the committee), and at least one faculty person must be from outside the Department or University; all must be appointed to the graduate faculty. Committee members must be formally solicited to act as readers and must agree to serve in that capacity. As soon as the committee is formally established, the Thesis and Dissertation Advisory Committee Appointment Form (available on-line at http://graduate.louisville.edu/sigs/faculty-staff.html#forms) must be completed: the student should fill out the top portion of the form, obtain signatures of all committee members, and then submit the form to the Art History DGS for approval.
If one of the committee members is from outside the University, the thesis advisor must submit a Graduate Faculty appointment request letter to the Chair of the Department for his/her signature, along with a copy of the committee member’s abbreviated CV, to be forwarded to SIGS for approval.
The dissertation topic can be selected in a variety of ways. For example, the subject may be one that the student has chosen because of a long-standing interest, or conversely, one that the dissertation director suggests to the student. In either case, the topic will be developed and defined in consultation with the dissertation director. Adequate investigation of the topic’s viability must be ascertained by the student. Records of dissertation topics are maintained by the College Art Association: they have previously been published in the June issue of The Art Bulletin; currently, dissertation titles, both completed and in progress, will be published annually at www.caareviews.org/dissertations, and caa reviews has made available dissertation titles submitted between 2001 and 2007.
In addition, an international dissertations search should be undertaken (an index of dissertations in Art History with abstracts is available on-line through Dissertation Abstracts). Any potential conflicts should be discussed promptly with the student’s dissertation director. The dissertation committee will only approve a topic for which the student has sufficient preparation, including necessary foreign language skills, if applicable.
The Dissertation Prospectus
The dissertation prospectus must be approved by the student’s dissertation committee before the commencement of dissertation research. The student must prepare the prospectus in consultation with the dissertation advisor, who supervises its development and gives approval before it is submitted to the dissertation committee members. The student should plan to submit the prospectus within two weeks of the successful completion of the comprehensive exam.
General Outline of the Dissertation Prospectus
Should the student subsequently change topics, the procedure of submitting a prospectus must be repeated. It is up to the Ph.D. candidate, with the help of the dissertation advisor and the DGS, to ensure that all required Art History Program and SIGS procedures are followed.
Registering the Dissertation Topic
After the dissertation prospectus has been approved by the full dissertation committee, the student is expected to register the topic with the College Art Association. The subject area, dissertation title, and name of advisor should be submitted to both the DGS and the Art History Program Assistant by December 1. See the caa reviews website (http://www.caareviews.org/about/dissertations) for directions and information on registering the dissertation topic. CAA should be notified on the following occasions: 1) when the dissertation topic is first approved; 2) if fundamental changes in the topic are made; and 3) when the dissertation is completed and approved for the degree.
SIGS’ policy on the time limitation for the completion of the doctoral degree is four years from the date that a student passes the comprehensive exam. A request for an extension of time must be submitted in writing by the student’s dissertation advisor to the Art History DGS. If the request is approved at the program level, it will be forwarded with supporting documentation to the College of Arts & Sciences. While extensions of time are rare, each request is reviewed thoroughly with an appropriate outcome communicated to all interested parties. Students must be considered in good standing for the request to be considered. Under normal circumstances, a student will be allowed no more than two extensions to complete the dissertation. Extensions granted are usually one semester in length.
Doctoral candidates should meticulously observe the Guidelines for the Preparation and Processing of Dissertations, available on SIGS’ website at https://graduate.louisville.edu/sigs/Programs/theses-dissertations. To avoid the necessity of time-consuming changes in format at the completion of the dissertation, these guidelines should be consulted at the outset. In addition, a style manual (sanctioned by the thesis advisor) such as The Chicago Manual of Style is extremely useful in dealing with footnotes, bibliography, and any other questions of style and citation format not specifically addressed by the guidelines. Once approved by the dissertation director, the final draft of the dissertation must be distributed to all committee members at least thirty days before the scheduled oral defense. The defense cannot take place until the dissertation has been approved by the dissertation advisor.
Application for Degree
Degrees are awarded in August, December, and May. Candidates who expect to receive degrees on a particular award date must submit their completed application for degree form through ULink on or before the dates specified in the University calendar. See http://graduate.louisville.edu/sigs/Programs/commencement.html for the dissertation submission deadlines and instructions on submitting the application for degree form (a link to the application for degree may be found on ULink under the Academic Resources section of the student services tab).
Oral Examination (Dissertation Defense)
At least three weeks before the scheduled defense, the candidate must arrange with the dissertation advisor to complete the Thesis/Dissertation Final Oral Examination Schedule Form and return it to his/her advisor or the DGS (available on-line at https://graduate.louisville.edu/sigs/Programs/theses-dissertations). It is the student’s responsibility, with the help of the dissertation advisor and DGS, to meet all SIGS requirements and deadlines. The final oral examination shall be primarily on the dissertation; however, questions may be asked in the candidate’s major field of research. The Graduate Dean’s Office shall notify all graduate faculty at the University at least one week in advance of the day, time, and place of the oral defense. Members of the University’s graduate faculty, as well as the general public, are invited to attend the defense, but only the members of the committee have a voice in approving the dissertation. The oral examination must take place at least two weeks before the end of the semester in which the degree is to be granted. A unanimous vote is not required, but, in order to pass, the student may not receive more than one abstention or dissenting vote, and that vote may not come from the dissertation advisor.
The format of the dissertation must accord with the specific requirements of SIGS stipulated in their Guidelines for the Preparation and Processing of Theses (see above, under Dissertation Completion). It is not uncommon for SIGS to require some technical changes before final acceptance, therefore sufficient time should be allowed for such changes before the deadline. One unbound copy of the approved dissertation, signed by the committee members, must be submitted to SIGS (see the Commencement schedule for due date). All images referenced in the dissertation must be attached in digital form. Students also need to print and sign the nonexclusive license available on-line at http://digital.library.louisville.edu/collections/etd/about.php. The license allows the University Libraries to mount the dissertation on their server. This signed license form and an electronic copy of the complete dissertation (including images) must be submitted to Gail Gilbert in the Art Library.
The Master of Arts in Fine Art in Art History with a Concentration in Critical & Curatorial Studies/Master of Public Administration joint degree program takes advantage of overlapping interests and synergies that can arise from mutual interests in non-profit management and curatorial studies. Students in the Critical & Curatorial Studies track of the MA program will benefit from the broad managerial focus of the MPA program, while students in the MPA program can enhance their expertise in an important area of non-profit endeavor. Efficiency is attained by allowing students to complete both programs in a more expeditious manner. Taken separately, the two programs require a total of 73 semester hours of work, while the joint program requires a total of 55 hours. Completion of both programs should improve students’ initial job prospects as well as their ability to advance in their chosen field.
Visit the Urban & Public Affairs website to find out more