Department of Art & Art History

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Visual Arts Complex
Visual Arts Complex


The Department of Art and Art History offers 4 graduate degrees, the MA in Art History, the MFA in Art Practices, the MBA/MFA or MA in collaboration with the Leeds School of Business as well as the PhD in Arts of the Americas. The MA in Art History is intended to give students a broad general knowledge of Art History in a two-year program. Students who have achieved a distinguished record in this MA program should be well prepared for acceptance into a doctoral program in Art History.

The MFA in Art Practices is a rigorous program intended for artists committed to pursuing a professional life in the arts and prepares students for careers as practicing artists and arts professionals as well as teachers in colleges, universities, and art schools. During the two and half-year program, students focus on one of several fields including, Ceramics, IMAP (photography, digital media, video, integrated arts), Painting and Drawing, Printmaking, and Sculpture and Post-Studio Practice. Additionally, in collaboration with the Film Studies Program, the Department of Art and Art History offers a film MFA.

The MFA/MBA program requires candidates to submit separate applications to the Department of Art and Art History as well as the Leeds School of Business. In addition to the required coursework, MFA and MA students gain additional insights about their respective fields through the Visiting Artist Program and Visiting Scholars Program, both of which invite distinguished artists and scholars to CU for talks, seminars, and individual meetings with students.

The  Ph.D. in Arts of the Americas emphasizes the cross-cultural circulation of visual culture in the Americas from ancient to contemporary times. Our program encourages students to think across subfields (e.g., Pre-Columbian Art, Colonial Latin American Art, Modern and Contemporary Latin American Art, Native North American Art, Modern and Contemporary American Art, etc.) and to situate American visual culture in the fluid circuits of cross-cultural exchange, as well as global intellectual and trade networks. This interdisciplinary approach brings Art History into dialogue with Anthropology, History, Ethnic Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Religious Studies, and other disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Our accelerated Ph.D. program is ideal for students who already have an M.A. in Art History or an equivalent degree, including professionals in the art field seeking an opportunity to advance in their career by earning a Ph.D.

The faculty are highly active in their respective fields, from publishing important articles and books on historical and contemporary art to exhibiting in galleries and museums to establishing non-traditional artist venues and opportunities. The faculty are also committed teachers and mentors who work closely with graduate students, helping them to realize their individual visions as artists and historians.

Students who are accepted to the MA, MFA, and MFA/MBA programs join the University of Colorado-Boulder Graduate School, which serves the community of graduate students, faculty, and staff, one of the nation’s premier comprehensive research universities. The Graduate School offers guidance on a wide array of academic, social, and financial issues, and can assist in navigating the often complex world of graduate education.

Serving as an umbrella organization since 1892, the Graduate School currently oversees 100 graduate and professional programs. The Graduate School works to guarantee a standard of quality and cohesion across all disciplines, ensuring the continuing integrity and value of a CU-Boulder graduate degree. The Graduate School also helps make possible the many connections between the campus and outside constituencies, in the state, the nation, and the world.