Oklahoma State University - College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Art

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Master of Arts in Art History

Students in Professor Louise Siddons’s course on Native American Art with Christina E. Burke, Curator of Native American and Non-Western Art, at the Philbrook Downtown in Tulsa, OK. Image: Chasing Infinity by Thomas "Breeze" Marcus (Tohono O’odham (Papago)/Ponca), 2015.


The application deadline for the 2017-2018 academic year is February 1, 2017.

The M.A. Program in Art History at OSU differs from most traditional art history programs through its singular focus on intercultural connections, globalism and transnationalism. The program includes a broad geo-cultural spectrum with five full-time faculty members who specialize in the art of the Americas, Europe and Asia.

The program’s orientation, as well as its temporal and geographic breadth, provides exemplary preparation for M.A. candidates entering Ph.D. programs both nationally and within the state. We also anticipate our graduates will have a competitive edge in a variety of other professions, including those affiliated with museums, galleries, libraries, visual resources management, and arts administration.

The M.A. degree requires a minimum of 30 hours of graduate coursework, a thesis, and a defense. Students will select two geographic areas of concentration within the five currently offered in the Department of Art, Graphic Design and Art History, one to be the major area and the other the minor (the current areas are Europe, United States, Latin America, East Asia (China and Japan), and the Middle East/Islamic World). A selection of courses, both lecture and seminar, will be taken in these areas. At least one course outside the department will be in the major area. Generally, the master’s thesis will relate to the cultural connections between the major and minor areas.

Sample Graduate Courses:

Graduate seminars
• The Art of the Crusades: Multiculturalism in the Medieval World
• Art East and West: Perceptions, Biases and Borrowings
• Modernity and Pan-Asianism in Asia
• Miraculous Landscapes: Art and Pilgrimage in Latin America
• The American Southwest
• Theory and Methodology

Graduate lecture courses
• Art of Conversion: Sixteenth-Century Art and Architecture in the New World
• Art since 1960
• Contemporary East Asian Art
• Gender and Visual Culture
• History of Chinese Art
• History of Indian Art
• History of Japanese Art
• Islamic Art and Architecture
• The Frontier and American Visual Culture
• Re-inventing China: Chinese art in the 20th Century
• Architecture and Space in E. Asia


Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Jennifer Borland
Department of Art, Graphic Design and Art History
108 Bartlett Center
Stillwater, OK 74078
(405) 744-6016

You may download and view our MA Guidelines.

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The application deadline for the 2017-2018 academic year is February 1, 2017.

All applicants must complete the online application to be found at grad.okstate.edu.

The online application will require the following:
·      the submission of transcripts
·      a statement of purpose
·      a writing sample (5-10 pages; an excerpt from a longer work is acceptable)
·      contact information for three recommendation letter writers
·      application fee
·      for international students, TOEFL scores or IELTS scores
·      if you are interested in being considered for an assistantship, you should also be prepared to submit a resume, work history, and work-related references.

Five undergraduate courses in art history are required and foreign language experience is recommended.  While many applicants will have majored in art history, the M.A. program welcomes applications from graduates with bachelor¹s degrees in other fields. M.A. students may take prerequisites during the program; however, they will not count toward the 30 hours required for graduation.

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New applicants to the M.A. program should submit their assistantship application materials with their online application to the program (follow the prompts on the application website listed above).

Current art history graduate students who would like to be considered for an assistantship in the Art History program must fill out the following form:

Application for Employment as a GTA or GA (2015-2016)

This form, with attached resume, must be filled out and submitted to the Art History Graduate Director by March 3, 2015.

For the 2015 - 2016 academic year, the MA program in Art History will offer up to four halftime (50% FTE) graduate teaching assistantships (GTA). These are available on a competitive basis and may be awarded to incoming graduate students and current graduate students in the program.

*In addition, two (2) half-time (50% FTE) graduate assistantships (GRA) are expected to be available. One student will work with the curatorial, education, and exhibitions staff at the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art. and the other will work with Department Head Rebecca Brienen on a special research project related to Doel Reed and a planned exhibition at the OSU Museum of Art.

Assistantship Details:

For the 2015-2016 Academic Year, a 50% FTE GTA (20 hours/week) = $1,222 stipend per month for 9 months

*In addition to this stipend, GTA/GRAs receive single-person health insurance (through the summer) and a tuition waiver.

The Assistantship is for one year. Students must reapply to receive a second year of support.

Assistantship Requirements and Duties:

*20 hours/week
* students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits of eligible courses each semester

Art History GTAs will be teaching assistants for a variety of undergraduate Art History lecture courses. Their duties may include grading and exam preparation, leading discussion sections, occasional lectures, and meetings with students. GTAs must also attend the bi-weekly teaching workshop run by the Art History faculty over the course of the fall semester.

The OSUMA GRA will be a research assistant at the museum. Museum GRA duties may include administrative, registrarial, educational and curatorial assignments in support of museum staff activities. The GRA is encouraged to develop long-term projects of her/his own, related to the OSUMA’s needs and activities, in an area of particular professional interest.

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The Department is currently housed in The Bartlett Center for the Visual Arts. The building has up-to-date multimedia teaching facilities in the form of a large lecture hall with a seating capacity of 104 and a seminar room. There are three computer labs with access to both Macintoshes and PCs.

OSU is also home to the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art (OSUMA) which is based at The Postal Plaza Gallery in downtown Stillwater.  The Postal Plaza serves as a permanent home for the university’s art collection and hosts numerous exhibitions throughout the year.  An on-campus museum is projected for the future. The Museum’s collection includes work from the 17th through the 21st centuries and is global in scope. Both undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to complete research, internships, and curatorial projects using OSUMA resources. The Art Department is also home to the Gardiner Art Gallery. The Gardiner Gallery hosts 10-12 exhibitions a year, including traveling shows, guest artists, and shows from the permanent collection as well as student and faculty exhibitions. 

The Visual Resources Library (VRL) is a teaching resource created and funded by the Department of Art as a support facility for faculty teaching art and art history classes. The Visual Resources Collections include a slide collection of approximately 100,000 slides representing the history of art, digital documentation of many of the slides, video tapes, CDs, DVDs, books, and periodicals housed in the Rena Penn Brittan Reading Room. The Visual Resources Library is staffed by the Curator and part-time student assistants.

The University’s Edmon Low Library contains and/or provides access to art historical literature, and is especially strong in foundational texts and in the areas that have been the focus of past faculty research. The library also provides access to most relevant art historical journals, through hard copies, digital databases (including JSTOR), or interlibrary services. With the recent addition of faculty in newly represented areas (Medieval/Islamic, and Latin American), the needs have expanded and we are working with the library to quickly acquire the important resources in these new areas. The Cunningham Architecture Library is also a valuable resource for art historians on campus.

Oklahoma State University’s membership to the consortium of universities affiliated with the Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies (Chicago) also allows students and faculty in art history to benefit from the Newberry’s vast and unique bibliographic collections and to participate in scholarly workshops, conferences, and symposia throughout the year.

The Doel Reed Center for the Arts in Taos, New Mexico offers a variety of opportunities for faculty and students to study the art, culture, and environment of the Southwest. Past programs have included artist residencies, student internships and coursework in collaboration with the Fechin House/Taos Art Museum. Future opportunities may include the establishment of scholar and faculty residency programs, and courses to facilitate restoration of the property.

Beyond the University’s campus, the region’s museums are also important resources for the program, especially in the areas of the American West, Native American, Asian, Renaissance, and Modern Art. The Philbrook Museum of Art and the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee, Asian art collection in the Ponca City Library and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman offer students exposure to numerous cultures and historical periods. In addition, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the Dallas Museum of Art, and Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum, Amon Carter Museum, and Museum of Modern Art are within a day’s drive.

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