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Art and Art History

College of Arts and Humanities
Art 142
2535 McCarthy Mall
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-8251
Fax: (808) 956-9043
E-mail: uhart@hawaii.edu
Web: www.hawaii.edu/art/


*Graduate Faculty

*W. Tanabe, PhD (Chair)—Japanese art history
*R. Bigus, MFA (Associate Chair)—design
*L. Andrews, PhD—Western art history
*F. Beaver II, MA—ceramics
*A. Bush, MFA—design
*P. Chamberlain, MFA—sculpture, multimedia
*G. Chan, MFA—photography
*C. Cohan, MFA—printmaking
*N. Dowling, PhD—Southeast Asian art history
*D. Drexler, MFA—painting
*S. J. Henley, MFA—graphic design
*P. Hickman, MA—fiber
*T. Klobe, MFA—design
*K. Lingley, PhD—Chinese art history
*R. Mills, MFA—glass, sculpture
*R. Nakajima, MFA—painting
*R. Rodeck, MFA—photography
*F. Roster, MFA—sculpture
*M. Sato, MFA—sculpture
*J. Stanton, PhD—Western art history
*D. Waite, PhD—Pacific art history
*Y. Wang, MFA—painting
*J. Wisnosky, MFA—painting
*S. Wolfe, MFA—ceramics

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

D. Dugal, MFA—painting
J. Feldman, PhD—Pacific art history
P. Stern, MFA—painting
S. Tomita, MFA—photography

Degrees Offered: BA (including minor) in art, BFA in art, MA in art history, MFA in art

The Academic Program

The Department of Art and Art History (ART) offers two separate but interrelated programs. Art history, leading to the BA, affords the opportunity to study the arts of Asia, Pacific, and the West in a historical and cultural context. The art studio programs provide students either with a broad-based, liberal arts approach via the BA or with a more focused studio specialization leading to the BFA. The latter is considered more appropriate for students intending to pursue the MFA at the graduate level.

The department is housed in an excellent three-story facility with painting studios, photography and computer labs (Macintosh equipped for graphic design, network Windows graphics workstations for animation and PCs for expanded arts), and fully equipped printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber, and glass facilities. The UH Art Gallery is a prominent feature of the department’s programs. Six or seven major exhibitions are presented each year, many of which have received national recognition. Visiting artist programs supplement the regular course offerings.


Advising is mandatory for all art and art history majors. For advising see the associate chair, Richard Bigus, in Art 142A, e-mail: bigus@hawaii.edu

Undergraduate Study

BA Degree

This broad-based art degree provides students with a choice of a studio focus, where a wide range of visual arts media can be explored, or an art history focus, where the visual arts are studied in a historical context.


Studio Focus

Students must complete 48 credit hours, including:

  • 9 credits of art studio core, three from the following: ART 113, 115, 116, 201
  • 12 credits of art history: ART 175 , 176, and 6 credits at the upper division level
  • 27 credits of art studio: 18 credits must be upper division

Students interested in pursuing a teaching career in elementary and secondary art education should seek advisement from the College of Education.

Art History Focus

Students must complete 42 credit hours, including:

  • 11 art history courses (33 credit hours), including ART 175 and 176
  • Three studio classes (9 credit hours), selected in consultation with adviser

BFA Degree

The BFA degree in art is designed for those students who desire a focused preparation in the visual arts or who intend to pursue an advanced degree or career in art. Areas of specialization include: animation, ceramics, fiber, glass, graphic design, photography, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Students are encouraged to cross media boundaries, and qualified students may opt to construct an individualized inter-media plan of study with faculty guidance and approval.
Students seeking admission to candidacy for the BFA must be a BA Art major and pass a portfolio review, which can take place only after the following requirements have been met.

  1. Completion of art studio core through 201.
  2. Completion of art history requirements: ART 175 and 176.
  3. Completion of one 200-level studio elective not in student’s chosen area.
  4. Completion of a minimum of 9 credit hours in chosen area with an average of B (not B-) or better.
  5. Completion of 18 credits in UH core requirements exclusive of art department courses.

Applications for review are due by the end of the third week of the semester.


Students must complete 75 credit hours, including:

  • Eight media concentration courses (24 credit hours), as indicated by the program area at the time of declaration (last 9 credit hours must be completed at UH Manoa)
  • Four art studio core courses (12 credit hours): ART 113, 115, 116, 201
  • Three art history core courses (9 credit hours): ART 175, 176, 302
  • Four art history elective courses (12 credit hours)
  • Six art elective courses (18 credit hours)



  • 21 credits in art, 15 of which must be from non- introductory courses

Courses used to meet General Education Core requirements cannot be credited toward the minor.

Graduate Study

The Department of Art and Art History offers two master’s degrees, the MA in art history—Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis)—and the MFA in studio—Plan A only.

MA in Art History

The MA in art history emphasizes the arts of Asia and the Pacific. Applicants for the degree must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university or its equivalent from a recognized foreign institution. An undergraduate major in art history is desirable, but not necessary. In support of the application for admission, all applicants are required to send directly to the art department prior to the application deadline: three original letters of recommendation, a sample of written work, preferably an art history seminar or term paper, and General Test scores from the GRE.

Plan A Requirements:

Students must complete 36 credit hours, including:

  • ART 670 Art Historical Methodology
  • 9 credit hours of seminars in Asian and Pacific art history
  • 6 credit hours of ART 700 or thesis

Students intending to engage in studies leading to the PhD are strongly encouraged to complete course work beyond the minimum MA Plan A requirements.

Plan B Requirements:

The non-thesis program is for students wishing to teach in community colleges or at the high school level. Required are 36 credit hours of which 18 must be taken in courses numbered above 600 including:

  • ART 670 Art Historical Methodology
  • 9 credit hours of seminars in Asian and Pacific art history

Students opting for Plan B must take a minimum of 18 credits in courses numbered above 600 (including ART 670).

In either plan up to 9 credits, with adviser’s approval, may be earned in appropriate advanced courses in other UH Manoa departments.

The more suitable plan will be mutually determined by the faculty and the student.

The program expects students to pass a comprehensive exam in the third semester of residency. Its purpose is to demonstrate a broad knowledge of Asian and Pacific art history. Those failing must pass successfully on a second attempt or they will be dismissed from the program. Students must also demonstrate a reading knowledge in a foreign language appropriate to their field of specialization, chosen in consultation with the area adviser. For more information on the MA in Art History, contact Deborah Waite, PhD, email: waite@hawaii.edu.

MFA Degree

The MFA is the terminal degree in studio art. The normal period of study is three years in residence. Areas of specialization include ceramics, electronic media, fiber, glass, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Although most MFA applicants apply to one of the above media specializations for admission, students may take electives in more than one medium and are encouraged to investigate new genres.

Applicants for the MFA must present evidence of a BFA or a BA with a strong studio art and art history background. The Department of Art and Art History acknowledges that some MFA applicants may not fit traditional criteria and will thus consider exceptional bachelor’s degree recipients that exhibit relevant backgrounds, strong commitment, and distinct potential in the visual arts. An applicant with a nontraditionally graded undergraduate or graduate transcript must submit GRE scores and course performance report forms if the transcript contains 25 percent or more of the applicant’s credit hours.

Supporting materials must include 20 slides of original work that illustrate abilities in an area of specialization, as well as potential for development within the scope of the department’s facilities and personnel. If you wish to submit a digital media portfolio, please consult with the department for information on preferred file formats. This visual material and three letters of recommendation should be sent to the Department of Art and Art History. The application form for graduate admission should be sent under separate cover to the Graduate Division.

Deficient or incompatible undergraduate preparation may result in admission on a conditional basis and will require, at the discretion of the graduate faculty, additional course work.

After acceptance into the graduate program, admission to candidacy for the MFA degree will be based upon results of the graduate evaluation and a positive review of course work. The graduate evaluation is administered in the fall to all classified students who have completed at least one semester of study. Those failing must successfully pass on their second attempt or they will be dismissed from the program.

Failure to meet the requirements for continued registration or to show progress in course work will lead to probation and/or dismissal from the graduate program.


Students must complete 60 credit hours, including:

  • 24 credit hours in 600-level courses within the area of specialization, with a minimum of 6 credit hours at each of three graduate studio levels. (These courses are repeatable and must be taken in units of 3 or 6 credits per semester. Conditional or unclassified graduate students may enroll only at level 1 for a maximum of 6 credits. Consent of instructor is required.)
  • 15 credits of electives, including ART 699 (not more than 9 credits)
  • 6 credits of two art history courses (numbered 300 or above)
  • 3 credits of ART 690
  • 12 credits of ART 700 thesis, including an exhibition and written documentation

As part of the 60-credit degree requirement, ART 699 Directed Work may be taken for a maximum of 9 credits. Art courses numbered 300 and above and not required at the undergraduate level in the area of specialization are acceptable for graduate credit. Elective courses also may be selected from any other UH department, provided such study is deemed useful and pertinent to the student’s degree plan. All elective courses require appropriate preparation and the consent of the instructor and graduate student’s adviser. For more information on the MFA Art Studio, contact Rick Mills, email: rlmills@hawaii.edu.

ART Courses