The Program of Study
The Department of Art offers the Master of Arts degree with specialties in African American, African, African Diasporal Art History and Black Visual Culture. The program requires 36 semester hours of course work, which includes 6 hours of thesis and 3 to 6 hours in a related field such as anthropology, archeology, literature, African, African American, Caribbean, African Diaspora Studies, film and museum studies.
English Proficiency Examination
All students are required to take the Proficiency Examination in Expository Writing (PEEW) that is administered by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Students who fail this examination must enroll in a program of study in order to develop satisfactory expository writing skills.
Foreign Language Examination
The foreign language requirement will be determined by the student’s area of specialization and research interests. To satisfy the foreign language requirement the student must demonstrate reading ability in French, Spanish, Portuguese, German or in an African language (e.g. Swahili) required by the nature of the student’s research. The examination is administered by the Department of Languages and Literatures and is designed to test the student’s ability to use a foreign language as an effective scholarly tool. The examination is read by faculty in the Language Department and is graded pass or fail. The examination is offered once each semester and the date is announced by the Language Department.
Specialization, Advisement and Thesis Colloquium
Upon deciding an area of specialization, the student (with the assistance of a faculty advisor) prepares a program of study to augment the intended research. The student’s work will be guided by graduate faculty members (at least two or a majority of the committee must be members of the art history and visual culture faculty). During the first semester of enrollment or prior to the approval of a thesis topic, the student must submit a proposal (prepared with the assistance of his or her advisor) to the art history and visual culture faculty. The proposal should present (1) a clear statement of the problem to be investigated; (2) a critical review of the literature and the subject; (3) an outline that indicates how the topic will be developed; and (4) a working bibliography of one to two pages featuring pioneer and recent publications (journals) on the topic.
Once the proposal for the thesis has been approved by the major advisor, the student presents it to the advisory committee within a thesis colloquium. The Colloquium begins with a 20-minute oral presentation that illustrates the proposal using slides, photographs, books and other pertinent materials. The aim of the Colloquium is to provide an opportunity for the candidate to engage in informal discussion with his or her committee on the topic to be investigated in order to receive ideas and suggestions for undertaking the research and successfully completing the thesis.
Completion the MA Degree
The candidate for the M.A. degree must pass a written comprehensive examination. The examination will test the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of principal areas and phases of art history and visual culture, as well as essential bibliography and methodology. It will include African art, African-American art, African Diaspora art, Western art and visual culture studies. Students may petition faculty for specific area examination questions. The examination may be taken only twice and must be passed before the student will be allowed to schedule the final thesis defense.
The Master’s Comprehensive examination will be in two parts. The examination will be administered one day in two sessions, Part: I (two hours) in the morning and Part II (two hours) in the afternoon. In Part I the student will be asked to identify and comment as completely as possible on slides of representative works in the history of art and visual culture. In Part II the student will respond to essay questions prepared by the art history and visual culture faculty, bringing together information and material with which he/she has become familiar through class work, readings, and research. The subjects will cut across several areas of specialization. In his/her answers, the student will document generalizations with specific details.
THESIS DEFENSE AND FINAL GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
Once the student’s graduate advisor and thesis committee agree that the thesis is complete and that the scholarship and illustrations meet departmental and graduate school requirements, the thesis defense will be scheduled and the university community will be invited to attend. The thesis defense begins with a 30 to 40 minute oral presentation that describes the research and conclusions augmented with slides, photographs, and other pertinent materials. The candidate then responds to questions posed by the thesis committee after which visitors are invited to ask questions.
Upon completing the final thesis manuscript, successfully defending the research and its conclusions, and submitting three copies of the thesis to the Department Chair, the student is recommended to the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences for final clearance for graduation. In the event the student does not successfully accomplish the above requirements the candidate must register for Thesis III (1 credit) until the requirements are met.
Click here to read the Graduate M.A. Program description.