U of A Hope-Texarkana James Black School of Bladesmithing Degree Approved


The University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana will offer a Certificate of Proficiency in Bladesmithing beginning this January. The degree plan is designed to provide students with a unique opportunity to earn a degree in the historic art of bladesmithing on UAHT’s Historic Washington, Arkansas campus. The bladesmithing degree received final approval by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education in October. Bladesmithing is the art of making blades for knives, swords, and daggers by using a forge, hammer, anvil, and other smithing tools. Courses in the credit program will include Introduction to Bladesmithing, Intermediate Bladesmithing, Knifemaking, Handles and Guards, Damascus Steel, and Advanced Bladesmithing. Students will also have the option to enroll in classes as non-credit students.

As part of the degree plan review, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education conducted a campus visit of the completely refurbished UAHT James Black School of Bladesmithing and Historic trades campus located in Historic Washington State Park. The campus consists of the Stephen’s House classroom facility, bladesmithing shop, and finishing facility. All facilities embrace the historic character and art of Historic Washington while providing instructional space that uses state-of-the-art equipment and tools.

One of the goals of the James Black School is to celebrate and preserve the art of bladesmithing and the birth of the famous Bowie Knife in Washington, Arkansas. UAHT will work collaboratively with Historic Washington State Park and the Arkansas Department of Heritage to teach and celebrate Arkansas’s history, bladesmithing, and other heritage trades. The campus will provide students with the exceptional experience of being immersed in the history of bladesmithing while learning and mastering the art with both historical and modern techniques.

“The approval of the UAHT James Black School of Bladesmithing degree is a significant milestone for the campus and the students that will study there. It melds the history of craftsmanship and art with modern skills and the academic commitment of the University of Arkansas System. The opportunity to earn a UAHT degree is another example of our commitment to ensuring that students will have the most exceptional and beneficial experience from their efforts,” said UAHT Chancellor Chris Thomason.

The James Black School is unique in the University of Arkansas System, and it will reflect the same quality and commitment to excellence in student learning that is the centerpiece of the missions of both the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana and the University of Arkansas System.

For more information or to enroll in the UAHT James Black School of Bladesmithing and Historic Trades, call 870-722-8172 or visit www.uaht.edu/bladesmithing.

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