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. The Graduate Assistant will inform you of the deadline each term.

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

Producing Your Thesis

Refer to the SGS website for guidance on thesis formatting and electronic thesis submission instructions. You will be required to follow these formatting guidelines, so the sooner you review them, the better.

Producing Your Thesis


Step 2 Examination Committee

The Supervisor and the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) discuss potential external appraisers and the U of T "internal external" examiner. Generally, the supervisor sends the first note of inquiry to the potential appraiser, obtaining their interest and an 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 supervisory committee.
    • If your supervisory committee contains four members, please contact the Graduate Assistant to discuss options.
  • At least two examiners who have not been closely involved in the supervision of the thesis:
    • An external appraiser, who is external to the University of Toronto.
    • An "internal-external" appraiser, who is internal to the University of Toronto. They may be inside or outside of the Department of Art History.
  • A non-voting Chair appointed by SGS. SGS will appoint a Full or Emeritus Member of the graduate faculty from outside of Art History 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 its affiliated 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. The appraiser must submit their formal appraisal of the dissertation to the Department at least two weeks in advance of the examination date; if they do not, the examination may have to be rescheduled. 

SGS has guidelines for the involvement of Indigenous Knowledge Keepers at final oral exams.


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
More than 8 weeks before
  • Choose the Final Oral Examination (FOE) date in conjunction with your committee and the Graduate Office.
  • Provide the name of your external and internal-external appraisers to the Graduate office.
8 weeks before
  • Provide title and dissertation abstract (no more than 350 words) to the Graduate Office to pass on to SGS.
  • Give an electronic copy of the dissertation to the DGS and Graduate Office to send to external, internal-external, and all committee members.
2 weeks before
  • The Graduate Office will share the appraisal from the external appraiser with the candidate and committee members.
  • Prepare a summary of your dissertation, no more than twenty minutes in length, to present at the final oral exam.

The FOE is typically two hours long, but may go longer. The Candidate has up to 20 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 of 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 whether it requires editorial corrections or minor revisions.

Dissertation Outcome Description
Editorial corrections
  • Involve typographical errors, errors in punctuation, or problems in style.
  • Must be correctable within one month.
Minor revisions
  • 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 outline 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.
  • Follow the instructions sent to you by SGS regarding the electronic submission of your final thesis. 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