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Art History, M.A.

Art History at the University of Memphis is the study of art as both a reflection of culture and an active agent in shaping it. As such, painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, video, performance, mixed media, among other mediums, are understood to be intricately related to a broader cultural context including literature, philosophy, religion, politics, and science. Students are trained to closely analyze art and visual culture from an interdisciplinary perspective, taking into consideration the creative process, viewer reception, and artistic function.

The goal of the Master's program is to equip students with a specialist knowledge in a specific field of art and visual culture and produce graduates with the analytical training, writing skills, and research techniques necessary to pursue further doctoral studies or a range of employment opportunities in education, museums and galleries, conservation, arts organizations, or publishing. With one of the largest art history faculties in the Southeast (nine Ph.D. faculty) offering a number of graduate courses, such as Art and Iconoclasm, Methods and Research, Greek Art, Visual Arts of Africa, Museum Studies, Egyptian Art and Architecture, Modern American Photography, Realism and Impressionism, and Contemporary Folk Art, the art history program at the University of Memphis ranks among the best in the region.

The program has been further distinguished among state institutions by awards of both a Chair of Excellence (the Dorothy Kayser Hohenberg Chair of Excellence in Art History, which provides us with a distinguished visiting scholar every year), and a Center of Excellence, the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology, which supports the study of the art of Egypt with a substantial research library and object collection, as well as a distinguished faculty of five, making it one of the largest teaching programs in the U.S.

The program provides the opportunity for concentration in either General Art History or Egyptian Art and Archaeology. In addition, students can participate in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate Program in Museum Studies (administered jointly by the Departments of Anthropology and Art). This Program prepares students who are currently enrolled in or have graduated from Master's or Doctoral degree programs to enter museum professions, such as administration, education, collection management, registration, exhibition development, and curation. Two years are normally required to complete the 30 hour MA program, of which 21 hours are spent in seminars and directed research. Active students in the program usually number twenty or more and each student is mentored by a graduate faculty member.


At least 21 hours of graduate level courses (6000-8000 level) must be taken during the first three semesters, with Greek Art and Art History Methods and Practices being the only required classes. Before the end of the first year, students are required to pass a foreign language translation exam (preferably, French, German, and Italian) and an image identification exam. For the concentration in Egyptian art and archaeology, an examination in Middle Egyptian is also required. The fourth semester is dedicated to writing the thesis, which is researched and written over a period of approximately three months with full supervision from the student's faculty advisor. The thesis forms a complete induction into primary research methods and all aspects of the presentation of research. The topic generally arises from the previous three terms of study.


Admission to the program is based on faculty review of the following elements: GRE score; or Miller Analogy Test and, for the concentration in General Art History, a substantial undergraduate training in the history of art. For the concentration in Egyptian Art and Archaeology, undergraduate training should be in Egyptology or a related field (art history, anthropology, history, classical studies or archaeology).


Assistantships are available to students in the MA program. Graduate Assistants receive a waiver for tuition and fees, as well as a stipend in return for service to the Art Department or the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology. There are also various merit-based university fellowships awarded to graduate students by the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology and the College of Communications and Fine Arts. Because the Egyptology concentration is unique in the Mid-South, students who are residents of states belonging to the Southern Regional Education Board's Academic Common Market are eligible to pay in-state tuition. See the SREB website for more information.


For Fall semester admission with assistantship: February 15. Early applications are encouraged. Applications received after April 1 cannot be assured processing for the Fall semester. Potential applicants are advised to complete required testing before January 1. For those seeking to enter the MA program in the Spring semester, completed materials must be received at the University by November 1.


· Test scores (GRE or MAT)
· Official undergraduate transcripts
· Letter of intent (indicating why you are applying to this program)
· A sample of your written work (a research paper, preferably in this field)
· Two letters of reference, at least one from a person who knows your academic potential in this field

Send the following directly to the appropriate program advisor:

Dr. Lorelei Corcoran, Graduate Advisor for Egyptian Art and Archaeology, The University of Memphis, Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology, Art & Communication 315B, Memphis, TN 38152


Dr. Fred Albertson, Graduate Advisor for Art of Europe and the Americas/Arts of Africa and the African Diaspora,

The University of Memphis, Department of Art, Art & Communication 244F, Memphis, TN 38152

  • Letter of intent (indicating why you are applying to this program)
  • A sample of your written work (a research paper, preferably in this field)
  • Two letters of reference, at least one from a person who knows your academic potential in this field<
  • Copies of the materials you sent to the Graduate School [above]

If you are applying for an Assistantship, those forms should be sent directly to the appropriate Graduate Advisor for Art History as well.