Art History Master of Arts (MA)

Overview of program

The mission of the graduate program in Art History at Wayne State University is to train the next generation of scholars, curators, and arts professionals. We are committed to providing an excellent public education that offers access to leading scholars in the field, small class sizes, rigorous requirements for research and writing, and the cultural resources of world-class arts institutions in Detroit. We uphold longstanding methods of art history, while encouraging students to develop new theoretical approaches based on first-hand examination of objects and informed analysis of critical texts and visual culture. At Wayne State University we believe that art history is most effectively taught in a diverse environment where students are exposed to different ways of seeing, writing, and speaking about art and visual culture.

The Art History graduate program includes courses that address a wide range of topics, from classical to contemporary, in the history and theory of the field and offers opportunities for engagement with world-class arts institutions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, the fifth largest art museum in the nation, Cranbrook Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit,and other institutions that are part of the rich urban fabric of Detroit. Many of the program's students and alumni hold positions in galleries, museums, and arts organizations, or subsequently enter doctoral programs.

Graduate faculty

  • Margaret Franklin (PhD. University of Cambridge), Renaissance and Baroque, Associate Professor of Art History
    Research Interests: Uomini famosi/donne illustri images; humanism and the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance
  • Brian Madigan(Ph.D. University of Minnesota), Classical Art, Associate Professor of Art History
    Research Interests: Greek sculpture, Classical and Hellenistic; Roman sculpture; the afterlife of Classicism and the history of archaeology.
  • Samantha Noel (Ph.D. Duke University), African American and African Diasporic Art, Assistant Professor of Art History
    Research Interests: Modern and contemporary art and visual culture of the African Diaspora, black performance in the Americas and the Caribbean, race and gender in visual culture, and pre-colonial, colonial, and postcolonial African art and visual culture.
  • Jennifer Olmsted (Ph.D. Northwestern University), Nineteenth Century European Art, Associate Professor of Art History
    Research Interests: Imperialism, masculinity, and modernity in 19th-century French art.

Part-time Faculty

  • Catherine Carver (Ph.D. University of Michigan) Medieval Art
  • Dennis Nawrocki (M.A. Wayne State University) Contemporary Art

Visual Resources

  • Terry Kerby, Visual Resources Librarian (M.A. University of Michigan)
  • Ian Chapp, Systems Integrator (B.A. Wayne State University, MLIS Wayne State University)



Graduate Professional Scholarship
The Graduate School sponsors one competition annually for Graduate-Professional Scholarships (GPS). Find out more.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

The department has six GTAs. There are two GTA categories: Art History and Studio Art/ Design. Find out more

Department of Art Scholarships

In addition to Wayne State University scholarships, the Art Department offers departmental scholarship opportunities for freshman, transfer, and current students. See below for information on eligibility requirements, application deadlines, and portfolio requirements. We accept applications for all new and transfer student scholarships through the posted applications. Find out more.

Art Activities Award
Students who have shown a serious commitment to the Art & Art History program. Amount varies depending on activity or project. Contact advising faculty or graduate officer to find out more.

Graduate Student Professional Travel Fund (GSPTF)

The Graduate Student Professional Travel Fund (GSPTF) is a limited fund made available to encourage and support master's and doctoral student paper presentations at conventions, conferences, workshops, etc. Find out more.

Incentives for Competing for Externally Funded Awards

Graduate students who apply for an external fellowship and meet the eligibility criteria above may be eligible for a $1,000 award to supplement their research activities. Find out more.

Munich Exchange Fellowship

The Graduate School holds an annual competition for the Munich Exchange Fellowship for graduate students. The fellowship supports the awardee to study one year in Munich. Find out more.

U.S. Fulbright Student Program

Each year the Fulbright program allows Americans to study or conduct research in over 100 nations. For more information contact the Study Abroad and Global Programs Office, 1600 David Adamany Undergraduate Library, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202. Telephone: 313.577.3207

The Graduate School Master's Scholarships

The graduate school offers several scholarships specific to master's students. Find out more.