Skip to main content

Graduate Programs

Graduate programs at the University of Houston (MFA in Art and MA in Art History) are focused on deploying our considerable talents and resources to help you achieve your goals. Our nationally recognized faculty help you recognize and cultivate your path. Houston's art world provides the testing ground and a wealth of experiences. Whether you will be showing at one of the galleries on campus or in the city, or you will be working with one of Houston's many significant art collections in the city, our graduate programs provide the grounding and experience necessary to enter today's competitive art world.

The MFA Program in the School of Art offers the MFA degree in Art in the following concentrations: Graphic Design, Painting, Photography/ Digital Media, Sculpture, and Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms. The MA in Art History gives the student a firm grounding in the best art historical practices together with access to Houston's significant art collections.

Flexibility, innovative programs, and access to the vast resources of a premier research institution in a world-class cultural center, make the University of Houston School of Art Graduate Programs a dynamic choice for the study of art, design, art history, theory, criticism, and curatorial practice.

Master of Fine Arts

Program Overview

Many art schools are engaged in a national debate on how best to educate emerging artists. Many have devised programs that take certain positions relative to current innovations in the field, or in anticipation of future trends.

At the University of Houston School of Art, we reframed that discussion by focusing not on the contextual fields of practice, but rather on you – the practitioner. You are the only stable and absolutely central component in the equation. The only question worth asking is not how you might fit into our program, but rather how we might fit into yours. This question needs asking of each student who enters our MFA Program, and each answer will necessarily be as unique as each individual.

The way we fit into “your program” by devising programs that are flexible and dynamic and by creating the environments that help you to broaden and deepen your investigations.

At the UH School of Art, we have solid MFA in Art concentrations in Painting, Sculpture, Photography/Digital Media, Graphic Design and Interdisciplinary Practice and Emerging Forms (IPEF). Built into each of these concentrations is the ability to extend outward and into the vast resources of a premier research institution. Our MFA Program integrates the University and the city of Houston as an extended classroom, in a fundamentally multidisciplinary platform.

Freedom, flexibility and intensive studio practice are supported within a rigorously intellectual environment. We recognize that artists working within the tradition of painting or at the frontier of emerging media need the intellectual, theoretical, conceptual and analytical tools to produce their work within larger social contexts. Critical Studies offerings provide a structure for that inquiry. Classes taught by Raphael Rubinstein, Professor of Critical Studies, bridge theory and practice, and function as a conceptual center for contemporary art discourse within the School of Art.

Our outstanding faculty and extensive visiting artist/critic program are supported by a vast expansion of scholarship through our faculty affiliate network. Colleagues from across the University mentor our graduate students with research interests that extend outside of the atelier and into fields as diverse as biology and physics. And our School is deeply embedded in Houston’s dynamic and established visual arts community - artists, designers, curators, and other professionals provide our students with expertise and a range of unique opportunities. We are rich in human assets.

We are not only looking for candidates who fit neatly within a particular discipline or on a linear academic trajectory. We are looking for students who may be returning to an academic environment after time away. We are looking for students whose undergraduate study was not in the visual arts, or whose work is in transition, or not easily classified. We are looking for students whose practice is idea and project based, and is expressed in forms that necessarily vary.

We are looking for MFA candidates who are highly self-motivated, and would be well served by a program that encourages exploration and risk supported by an innovative curriculum, a critical environment, generous facilities, a renowned faculty, and a world-class city.

Master of Arts in Art History

Program Overview

A core principle of the University of Houston’s Art History graduate program is flexibility, making it both dynamic and interdisciplinary. The MA in Art History at the University of Houston provides the graduate student with a firm grounding in the discipline of art history coupled with the riches of major art institutions in a dynamic urban art world. The program is designed with a minimal number of required courses to give students the opportunity to design a program that best suits their individual needs and aspirations. In addition to art history, specializations are also available in Curatorial and Theoretical Perspectives or in Art Criticism and Writing, with thesis and non-thesis tracks in each. 

Through its uniquely wide-ranging and diverse options for coursework and internships, the UH program enables students to pursue a large number of career options. Graduates of the UH Master’s program in art history will be well-prepared to go on to seek the PhD in art history, or, alternatively, to pursue careers not requiring the PhD in art museums, collections, or galleries; in art criticism and writing; or to combine additional credentials for a career in arts librarianship, arts management or art education.

Our expansive view of art history leads us to seek candidates with a variety of interests and backgrounds. Though applicants must demonstrate an understanding of art historical research and writing practices through a writing sample, an undergraduate degree in Art History is not required.