Graduate Art History
 

PhD Program Requirements

The PhD program is designed to prepare students for college and university teaching, museum work, and other research positions.

PhD students, depending on if they enter the PhD program with a Master's degree or a bachelor's degree (direct entry), will fulfill different seminar requirements. Refer to the appropriate section below for further information.

PhD Program Requirements (Entering with an MA)

PhD Program Requirements (Direct Entry)

Admission Requirements

Candidates are admitted under the general regulations listed by the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants should have an exceptionally strong academic record with a grade average of at least an A- average in recent senior art history and/or humanities courses. The Department also welcomes applications from outstanding candidates with a background other than art history (with at least five art history courses in their academic background). In addition to transcripts, a CV, and three letters of reference, applicants must include a statement of intent and a sample research paper.

Graduate Application Information


PhD Program Requirements (Entering with an MA)

The five-year PhD program is designed for students who have graduated with a MA in art history or a related humanities major. The basic requirements include a minimum of four seminars (2.0 Full-Course Equivalents FCEs), a dissertation reading course (1.0 FCE) credit/no credit), two language exams (unless already completed with the MA), comprehensive examinations, a colloquium presentation, and a dissertation. One of the seminars must be FAH1001H: Methods in Art History (unless an exception has been made by the Director of Graduate Studies). You will be expected to maintain an A- average in your course work and complete your language exams in a timely fashion before sitting the comprehensive examinations; in addition, your progress will be reviewed annually to assure that you have met expectations. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress during the first two years may have their registration terminated.

Requirement Description
Coursework

Students must complete 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) of graduate courses as follows:

  • Four seminars (2.0 FCEs); students are encouraged to take courses reflecting a variety of time periods and geographic zones.
  • Of the four seminars (2.0 FCEs), one must be FAH1001H Methods of Art History (0.5 FCE), a departmental methodology course, which must be taken in Year 1. With departmental approval, credit may be given for a research methodology course taken previously.
  • FAH5000Y Comprehensive Examinations and Dissertation Topic Reading Course (1.0 FCE; Credit/No Credit) with the student's interim supervisor to prepare for the comprehensive examinations.
Orientation to Art Historical Research Methods New students must attend Orientation to Art Historical Research Methods: a workshop designed to familiarize new students with research resources, led by the Department Librarian.
Languages Students are required to pass examinations in two languages if they have not already done so in the MA program. This requirement must be completed before taking the comprehensive exams. The appropriate languages will be set by the interim supervisor in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.
Comprehensive Examinations

Students are required to take the three-part comprehensive examinations within one and a half years. The exam consists of one written component chosen from the four fields, one written component from the dissertation area, and one oral component discussing the first two.

Dissertation Proposal Three months after the successful completion of the comprehensive exams, students are required to submit approved dissertation proposals to achieve candidacy and start their dissertation research.
Colloquium At some stage during the dissertation work, the student will present their work to the faculty and students in an appropriate format and at a time to be determined by the supervisor in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.
Dissertation Consult with the supervisor on the details of your dissertation.

 

PhD Program Milestones (Entering with an MA)

At the end of each academic, students' progress will be reviewed to ensure that they have made satisfactory progress through the program. Both the student and the supervisory committee will complete annual reports and submit such reports to the Graduate Office.

Year 1
  • Complete coursework; students are expected to maintain an A- average
  • Complete two language exams (unless already completed with the MA
  • Secure a prospective supervisor to discuss plans for the comprehensive examinations and complete FAH5000Y Comprehensive Examinations and Dissertation Topic Reading Course (1.0 FCE; credit/no credit)
  • Study for the comprehensive examinations
Year 2 (Qualifying Year)
  • During the fall term of Year 2 (Qualifying Year), complete the three-part comprehensive examinations
  • Following successful completion of comprehensive examinations, establish the PhD Supervisory Committee (faculty member acting as the dissertation supervisor and two other graduate faculty members)
  • Working with the PhD Supervisory Committee, develop a detailed dissertation proposal to be submitted three months after the successful completion of the comprehensive examinations
  • Start dissertation research
Years 3–5
  • Conduct dissertation research
  • Write dissertation
  • Present a dissertation colloquium
  • Complete the final oral examination
  • Convocate!

 

Students admitted to the PhD program with an MA will be guaranteed a minimum of five years of funding and will be given teaching experience as a teaching assistant and/or as a course instructor.

PhD Funding


PhD Program Requirements (Direct Entry)

The six-year program is designed for students who have graduated with a BA in art history or a related humanities major. The basic requirements include a minimum of nine seminars (4.5 Full Course Equivalents FCEs), a dissertation reading course (1.0 FCE) credit/no credit), two language exams (unless already completed with the MA), comprehensive examinations, a colloquium presentation, and a dissertation. One of the seminars must be FAH1001H: Methods in Art History. You will be expected to maintain an A- average in your course work and complete your language exams in a timely fashion before sitting the comprehensive exams. New students should attend "Orientation to Art Historical Research Methods," a workshop designed to familiarize new students with research resources, led by the Department Librarian. You will be expected to maintain an A- average in your course work and complete your language exams in a timely fashion before sitting the comprehensive examinations; in addition, your progress will be reviewed annually to assure that you have met expectations. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress during the first three years may have their registration terminated or transferred to the MA program.

Requirement Description
Coursework

Students must complete 5.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs) of graduate courses as follows:

  • Nine seminars (4.5 FCEs); students are encouraged to take courses reflecting a variety of time periods and geographic zones.
  • Of the nine seminars (4.5 FCEs), one must be FAH1001H Methods of Art History (0.5 FCE), a departmental methodology course, which must be taken in Year 1 or 2. With departmental approval, credit may be given for a research methodology course taken previously.
  • FAH5000Y Comprehensive Examinations and Dissertation Topic Reading Course (1.0 FCE; Credit/No Credit) with the student's interim supervisor to prepare for the comprehensive examinations.
Orientation to Art Historical Research Methods New students must attend Orientation to Art Historical Research Methods: a workshop designed to familiarize new students with research resources, led by the Department Librarian.
Language Students are required to pass examinations in two languages. This requirement must be completed before taking the comprehensive exams. The appropriate languages will be set by the interim supervisor in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.
Comprehensive Examinations

Students are required to take the three-part comprehensive examinations within two and a half years in the case of direct-entry PhD applicants. The exam consists of one written component chosen from the four fields, one written component from the dissertation area, and one oral component discussing the first two.

Dissertation Proposal Three months after the successful completion of the comprehensive exams, students are required to submit approved dissertation proposals to achieve candidacy and start their dissertation research.
Colloquium At some stage during the dissertation work, the student will present their work to the faculty and students in an appropriate format and at a time to be determined by the supervisor in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.
Dissertation Consult with the supervisor on the details of your dissertation.

 

PhD Program Milestones (Direct Entry)

At the end of each academic, students' progress will be reviewed to ensure that they have made satisfactory progress through the program. Both the student and the supervisory committee will complete annual reports and submit such reports to the Graduate Office.

Year 1
  • Complete either 2.5 or 3.0 FCEs worth of coursework; students are expected to maintain an A- average
  • Complete the first of two language exams
Year 2
  • Complete coursework to a total of 4.5 FCEs; students are expected to maintain an A- average
  • Complete the second of two language exams
  • Secure a prospective supervisor to discuss plans for the comprehensive examinations and complete FAH5000Y Comprehensive Examinations and Dissertation Topic Reading Course (1.0 FCE; credit/no credit)
  • Study for the comprehensive examinations
Year 3 (Qualifying Year)
  • During the fall term of Year 3 (Qualifying Year), complete the three-part comprehensive examinations
  • Following successful completion of comprehensive examinations, establish the PhD Supervisory Committee (faculty member acting as the dissertation supervisor and two other graduate faculty members)
  • Working with the PhD Supervisory Committee, develop a detailed dissertation proposal to be submitted three months after the successful completion of the comprehensive examinations
  • Start dissertation research
Years 4–6
  • Conduct dissertation research
  • Write dissertation
  • Present a dissertation colloquium
  • Complete the final oral examination
  • Convocate!

Qualifying Year Components

To achieve candidacy, PhD students will complete the comprehensive examinations and an approved dissertation proposal during the qualifying year.

Comprehensive Examinations

Upon the completion of all coursework and language requirements, PhD students must secure the participation of a supervisor with whom they will discuss plans for the comprehensive examinations. PhD students are required to take the comprehensive examination within one and a half years (or two and a half years in the case of direct-entry PhD students). The examinations will be scheduled by the Director of Graduate Studies, during the academic year, from September to April. If a student fails the comprehensive examinations, one further attempt is allowed, no more than three months later. A second failure results in the immediate removal of the student from the program.

The Department of Art History runs a Comprehensive Examination roundtable each year. Please keep an eye on the GUStA listserv for information.

Examination Procedure

At the beginning of the study period, the PhD student will meet with the Examination Committee (made up of at least three members of the department—one of whom will be the prospective dissertation supervisor (see SGS Supervision Guidelines for Students). The committee will define the areas of the examination, the length of study, and such readings and special topics as deemed to be appropriate. The Examination Committee will meet prior to the examination in order to discuss and agree upon the written questions to be submitted to the student.

The comprehensive examination is made up of three components, two written, and one oral. The written examination consists of two parts, the general area and dissertation area:

  1. The general area is tested in the Department. The student receives two sets of three questions and is required to answer one from each set. The exam duration is 6 hours.
  2. The dissertation area is a take-home exam. The student receives three questions for this examination, answers one of them, and returns it to the Department within 72 hours.
  3. The oral examination for both components of the comprehensive examination (general and dissertation area) is normally scheduled three or four days after the take-home part is completed. The examination is normally 2 hours in length.

The examination is reported as pass or fail. A member of the Examination Committee will discuss with the student the results of the examination and provide advice.

Areas of Coverage

Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, Modern/Contemporary. The general area examination will be defined at the beginning of the study period. In all fields, the flexibility of area definition will be maintained. The dissertation area component differs with each student and will be agreed upon by the Examination Committee and the student.

 

Dissertation Proposal

Immediately following the successful completion of the comprehensive examinations, students are expected to formally establish their PhD Supervisory Committees. A faculty member will have already been requested to act as the dissertation supervisor, and two other members of the graduate faculty to serve on their supervisory committee. One member of this three-person committee may be from outside the Department. (Exceptions may be possible if approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.) These arrangements must be approved by the Department’s Graduate Program Committee. Then, working with the Supervisory Committee, students will have three months following the successful completion of their comprehensive exam to develop a detailed proposal for their research. The length and specific nature of the proposal will be determined by the Supervisory Committee and the PhD student, and the drafted proposal must be approved by the Supervisory Committee, then submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies.


Questions?

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

Graduate Studies FAQ