Graduate Art History

Graduate Program Completion

Graduate students can participate in writing initiatives, professionalization workshops, and networking opportunities throughout their studies. Visit the "Professional and Skills Development" and "Writing Initiatives" webpages for information about departmental and SGS offerings. Our alumni, as featured on the "Where Are They Now" webpage, have gone on to a wide variety of careers nationally and internationally, ranging from tenured academics to museum curators, gallery directors, gallerists, art experts in leading auction houses, and to a variety of other occupations.

Professional and Skills Development

Writing Initiatives

Where Are They Now

MA Program Completion

Congratulations! You've completed all coursework and distribution, language, and the Orientation to Art Historical Research Methods requirements. Complete and return the "Request for Graduation" PDF form to the Graduate Office by the appropriate deadline.

Session Requirements Completion SGS Deadline Convocation
Summer mid-September November
Fall mid-January March (in absentia, no ceremony)
Winter mid-April June

PhD Program Completion (The Final Stretch)

Now it is three (perhaps four) years since your dissertation proposal. All research has been completed, and you have produced a manuscript. What's next?

Step 1 Supervisor and Committee Approvals

Step 2 Examination Committee

Step 3 Final Oral Examination (FOE)

Step 4 Dissertation Submission and Convocation


Step 1 Supervisor and Committee Approvals

  • Obtain final approval from the supervisor and send your dissertation to the committee.
  • Collect feedback from committee members, revise and edit your dissertation, and obtain approval from the committee.

Producing Your Thesis

Refer to the SGS website for guidance on thesis formatting and electronic thesis submission instructions.

Producing Your Thesis


Step 2 Examination Committee

The Supervisor and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) discuss potential external appraisers and U of T "internal external" examiner. Generally, the supervisor sends the first note of inquiry to the potential appraiser, obtaining their interest and up-to-date CV. The Graduate Office follows up by sending the appraiser's credentials to SGS for approval.

The Examination Committee consists of four to six voting members. The Committee includes:

  • At least one member, but not more than three members, of the Candidate's supervising committee.
  • At least two examiners who have not been closely involved in the supervision of the thesis. Those eligible include the External Appraiser, members of the faculty appointed to the Candidate's graduate unit, and members of the faculty to other graduate units of the University or other approved professionals with status-only appointments to serve on the committee.
  • A non-voting Chair appointed by SGS. SGS will appoint a Full or Emeritus Member of the graduate faculty (from another unit within the division) to serve as Chair of the Examination Committee.

External Appraiser

The external appraiser must be a recognized expert on the subject of the dissertation and must be external to the University as well as research institutes. Such an individual must be an associate or full professor at the home institution or, if the individual comes from outside the academic sector, must possess the qualifications to be appointed to an academic position at this level. The graduate unit must have a copy of the dissertation delivered to the appraiser at least six weeks, and preferably longer, in advance of the examination date. Appraisals must be submitted to SGS at least two weeks in advance of the examination date; if they are not, the examination may have to be rescheduled. The graduate unit must also ensure that copies of the dissertation are made available to all other voting members of the examination committee at least six weeks in advance of the examination date.


Step 3 Final Oral Examination (FOE)

Candidates should allow sufficient time for the process of arranging and scheduling a Final Oral Examination (FOE).

FOE Date Description
8 weeks before
  • Choose the Final Oral Examination (FOE) date.
  • Provide title and dissertation abstract (no more than 350 words) to the Graduate Office to pass onto SGS.
  • Give an electronic copy of the dissertation to the DGS and Graduate Office to send to external, internal external, and all committee members.
6 weeks before
  • Confirm the Examination Committee members.
2 weeks before
  • Receive the written appraisal from the external appraiser to be shared with the candidate and committee members.

The FOE is two hours long. The Candidate has twenty minutes to summarise the research and conclusion of the dissertation orally. The examiners will then pose specific follow-up questions during the rounds of questioning.

When there are no further questions, the voting Examination Committee members will discuss and vote yes or no on the question whether or not the dissertation and its defense are acceptable. Those committee members who find the dissertation acceptable must also indicate whether the dissertation is acceptable as is, or requires minor corrections or minor modifications.

Dissertation Next Steps Description
Minor corrections
  • Involve typographical errors, errors in punctuation, or problems in style.
  • Must be correctable within one month.
Minor modifications
  • More than changes in style and less than major changes in the thesis. For example, clarification of textual material or the qualification of research findings or conclusions.
  • Must be feasibly completed within three months.

Doctoral FOE Guidelines

The Final Oral Examination (FOE) is the capstone experience of your doctoral studies. Refer to the SGS guidelines that outlines the responsibilities of the graduate unit, SGS, the Examination Committee, and the Chair of the Committee in the planning and conduct of a Final Oral Examination.

Doctoral FOE Guidelines


Step 4 Dissertation Submission and Convocation

  • Make corrections/modifications to the dissertation as required.
  • Obtain approval from the supervisor and faculty member(s) designated at the end of the FOE.
  • Inform the DGS and Graduate Office, in writing, that the dissertation is ready to be submitted. Complete and return the "Request for Graduation" PDF form to the Graduate Office by the appropriate deadline. Refer to the table below for submission deadlines for convocation.
Final Dissertation Submission Convocation
mid-September November
mid-January March (in absentia, no ceremony)
mid-April June


Please refer to the FAQ page and/or contact the Graduate Assistant.

Graduate Studies FAQ