PhD Requirements

Students may apply for admission to the PhD program with either a BA or MA degree from another institution in hand. Acceptance requires the approval of the instructors in the areas chosen by the student as major and minor fields; in the case of transfer students, acceptance may be provisional. Unless they can present acceptable language certificates, all students entering the PhD program will be required to pass reading competency examinations in both German and French before the conclusion of the second year of coursework. Italian or Spanish may be substituted for French when a student’s area of study suggests it; a petition must be submitted and approved by the faculty.

Students entering the program with an MA degree must complete four full semesters of coursework before being approved to take their qualifying exams; students entering with a BA degree may, at the discretion of the faculty, require up to five terms before moving on to exams. The art history faculty encourages students to take full advantage of offerings in other departments, and students may, if they choose, develop a minor field in another discipline. In consultation with their advisers, students who have completed their coursework prepare for the qualifying exams, which is comprised overall of two written exams (one major field and one minor field), followed by an oral defense.

Upon successful completion of course work and qualifying exams, students must submit a dissertation proposal. Once approved by the department, the student is admitted to candidacy and commences work on the dissertation. When a student has completed the dissertation, he or she is examined by a Graduate Board committee assembled by the department chair in consultation with the principal faculty adviser. Successful defense of the dissertation and electronic submission of work, complete in all its components, marks the fulfillment of the program’s degree requirements.

In addition to their own studies and research, every student in the PhD program gains valuable pedagogical experience by serving as a teaching assistant, under different faculty mentors, for at least six terms (over the course of a five-year fellowship), and as a faculty research assistant for at least one term.

Students entering the PhD program with a bachelor’s degree may qualify for the MA degree upon completion of two semesters of coursework (six graduate-level courses) and completion of the department’s language requirements, but the department does not accept students for a terminal MA degree.