Department of Art and Art History Art History

PhD Degree Information

Program of Work

Course Requirements Number of Courses Hours
Art History graduate seminars
Taken in at least two of the department’s chronological groupings of western and non-western art: Ancient, Medieval to Early Modern, and Modern
5 15
Coursework outside department
Two graduate courses in areas related to the major field, and one graduate readings course taken in preparation for the qualifying examination
3 9
Dissertation Colloquium (ARH 397) 1 3
Dissertation (ARH 99R) 1 3
Dissertation (ARH 99W) 1 3
Total: 33

Language Requirement

Doctoral students must have reading/translation competence in at least two modern languages in addition to English. These languages will be relevant to the student's areas of study and will allow the student to undertake primary research and understand the scholarship of his her chosen field. Students will consult with the Graduate Advisor to determine which languages will be necessary, and these choices are subject to ratification by the Graduate Studies Committee.

Each language requirement can be fulfilled in one of the following ways and must be satisfied before advancing to doctoral candidacy.

  • Four semesters of college-level language courses passed at grade B or above. Advanced placement credit can count towards the required number of courses.
  • Departmental exam to test translation proficiency in French, Spanish and German (and other languages as petitioned by students) administered three times each year (beginning and end of fall semester, and once during spring semester) by two faculty members
  • Confirmation of completion of a modern language requirement from the student’s Master’s program

To compensate for the exceptional difficulty involved, students who plan on qualifying in a language other than the traditional European languages may be allowed, after consultation with the graduate advisor and after petitioning the faculty, to substitute an instructional course in that language in place of a supporting (i.e. out-of-department) course

Dissertation Colloquium

The Dissertation Colloquium, held during the third or fourth term of the student’s residence and after the completion of at least 18 hours of coursework, is meant to acquaint the faculty with the dissertation project. The Dissertation Colloquium consists of a discussion of the topic with the faculty, after which the faculty presents the student with recommendations and permission to proceed. The topics for the qualifying examination are also set at the Colloquium, and the Examining Committee is determined. At this time, the composition of the dissertation committee is also discussed.

Qualifying Examination

Qualifying Examinations are taken during the next long semester after presentation of the colloquium. The student will be examined in four areas: at least two broad areas of expertise and one or two focused areas with the possibility of one area being directed by a faculty member outside the Department. Three hours are allowed for each exam, and all four exams must be completed within one week. A one-hour oral exam on the same topics will follow. At this time, the examining committee will question the student about the answers on his or her written exams. The student’s performance on these exams will be ranked Pass with Distinction, Pass, or Fail. Once this requirement has been completed, the student files for doctoral candidacy, and must enroll in dissertation hours every fall and spring semester until the degree is completed.


The dissertation must make an original contribution to scholarship. It normally requires fieldwork of at least a year’s duration. The Dissertation Committee directs the student during the completion of the dissertation. An oral defense of the dissertation before at least four members of the Dissertation Committee is a university requirement. Following successful completion of the dissertation defense, the Graduate Studies Committee in Art History certifies that all requirements have been met and recommends award of the doctoral degree.