Art History

Admission Requirements

Applicants apply for admission to the program via the Graduate School application for admission. Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-300 Admissions Policies.

Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) Aptitude Test (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) are required for admission to the Department of Art History. Special emphasis will be given to the verbal part of the GRE scores.

Applicants with a 3.00 junior/senior grade-point average and a minimum of 21 credits in art history will be considered for admission to the master's program. Lacking these, a promising applicant may be provisionally admitted on condition that deficiencies be remedied, but without graduate degree credit. Applicants to the Ph.D. program must have an M.A. in art history or a closely related field. The best-qualified applicants will be accepted up to the number of spaces that are available for new students.

Degree Requirements

Master of arts (M.A.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

Students in the M.A. degree program are required to complete a minimum total of 36 credits at the 400, 500, 600, or 800 level, with least 18 credits at the 500 and 600 level, combined (including a master's thesis or paper), divided as follows:

Required Courses
ARTH 551Historiography of Art History (taken during one's first fall semester)3
9 credits at the 400-level, of which 3 credits must be taken in each of the following three areas:9
(1) African/Asian/Oceania/Pre-Columbian Americas
(2) Ancient, Byzantine/Medieval
(3)Renaissance/Baroque/Modern/Contemporary
9 credits of 500-level seminars in art history. 19
9 additional credits in art history at the 400- or 500-level. 29
Culminating Experience
ARTH 600Thesis Research 36
or ARTH 596 Individual Studies
Total Credits36

In addition, students must demonstrate a reading proficiency in one foreign language. A reading competency in one foreign language must be demonstrated before the end of one year of study. The foreign language must be relevant to the student's areas of study and will be determined through consultation with the student's faculty adviser, subject to the approval of the Graduate Officer. A master's examination must also be passed before completing the M.A. degree.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Requirements listed here are in addition to Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies.

Thirty additional credits, not including doctoral dissertation research, are required for the Ph.D. At least 24 of these credits must be in art history and 3 to 6 must be in a related area outside art history. At least 9 of the art history credits must be at the 500 level, exclusive of ARTH 510 and ARTH 596. At the discretion of the student's Ph.D. committee, the student may be required to take additional specialized courses pertaining to his or her major area of study. A reading competency in two foreign languages must be demonstrated before the end of one year of study. The two foreign languages must be relevant to the student's areas of study and will be determined through consultation with the student's faculty adviser, subject to the approval of the Graduate Officer. For the Ph.D., a qualifying examination, a comprehensive examination, and a final oral examination must be successfully completed in addition to the student's doctoral dissertation. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Titles

Dual-Title Ph.D. in Art History and Asian Studies

Requirements listed here are in addition to requirements listed in GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs.

Graduate students with research and educational interests in Asian Studies may apply to the Art History/Asian Studies dual-title program. The goal of the dual-title degree in Art History and Asian Studies is to enable graduate students from Art History to acquire the knowledge and skills of their major area of specialization in Art History while at the same time gaining the interdisciplinary perspective of Asian Studies. 

In order to prepare graduate students for the competitive job market, this program provides them with a solid disciplinary foundation that will allow them to compete for the best jobs in their field. For such students the dual-title Ph.D. in Asian Studies will add value to their degree and their status as candidates. It will produce excellent historians who are experts in Asian Studies as well. The dual-title degree Art History and Asian Studies will build curricular bridges beyond the student’s major field so as to provide a unique training regime for the global scholar.

Admission Requirements

For admission to the dual-title Ph.D. degree under this program, a student must first apply and be admitted to the Art History graduate program. Once accepted into the Art History program, the student can apply to the Admissions Committee of the Asian Studies during the first two semesters of study and before the qualifying examination. The Asian Studies admissions committee reviews applications and recommends students for admission to the Asian Studies program to the Graduate School. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Asian Studies Bulletin page. Applicants interested in the program should make that known clearly on their applications and include remarks in their essays that explain their training, interests, and career goals in an area of Asian Studies. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Asian Studies prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for an Asian Studies degree, students must satisfy the requirements of the Art History program in which they are primarily enrolled. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Asian Studies, listed on the Asian Studies Bulletin page. Within this framework, final course selection is determined by the student, their Asian Studies adviser, and their Art History program adviser.

Upon a student’s acceptance by the Asian Studies admissions committee, the student will be assigned an Asian Studies academic adviser in consultation with the Asian Studies chair. As students develop specific scholarly interests, they may request that a different Asian Studies Graduate Faculty member serve as their adviser. The student and advisor will discuss a program of study that is appropriate for the student’s professional objectives and that is in accord with the policies of The Graduate School, the Art History department and the Asian Studies program.

The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Art History and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Asian Studies program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. There will be a single qualifying examination, containing elements of both Art History and Asian Studies. Dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of an Art History and Asian Studies dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Asian Studies Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the chair of the Ph.D. committee is not also a member of the Graduate Faculty in Asian Studies, the member of the committee representing Asian Studies must be appointed as co-chair. The Asian Studies representative on the student’s Ph.D. committee will develop questions for and participate in the evaluation of the comprehensive examination.

Students in the dual-title program are required to write and orally defend a dissertation on a topic that is approved in advance by their Ph.D. committee and reflects their original research and education in Art History and Asian Studies. Upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, the candidate must pass a final oral examination (the dissertation defense) to earn the Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

Dual-Title Ph.D. in Art History and Visual Studies

Admission Requirements

Students must apply and be admitted to the graduate program in Art History and the Graduate School before they can apply for admission to the dual-title degree program. After admission to their primary program, students must apply for admission to and meet the admissions requirements of the Visual Studies dual-title program. Refer to the Admission Requirements section of the Visual Studies Bulletin page. Doctoral students must be admitted into the dual-title degree program in Visual Studies prior to taking the qualifying examination in their primary graduate program.

Degree Requirements

To qualify for the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the degree requirements for the Ph.D. in Art History. In addition, students must complete the degree requirements for the dual-title in Visual Studies, listed on the Visual Studies Bulletin page.

Qualifying Examination

The dual-title field will be fully integrated into the qualifying exam for the doctoral program. The qualifying examination committee for the dual-title Ph.D. degree will be composed of Graduate Faculty from Art History and must include at least one Graduate Faculty member from the Visual Studies program. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. In addition, students in the dual-title Ph.D. in Visual Studies will be required to present to their committee a portfolio of work in Visual Studies, including a statement of the student’s interdisciplinary research interests, a program plan, and samples of writing that indicate the student’s interest in questions related to the Visual Studies.

Because students must first be admitted to a graduate major program of study before they may apply to and be considered for admission into a dual-title graduate degree program, dual-title graduate degree students may require an additional semester to fulfill requirements for both areas of study and, therefore, the qualifying examination may be delayed one semester beyond the normal period allowable.

Ph.D. committee Composition

In addition to the general Graduate Council requirements for Ph.D. committees, the Ph.D. committee of an Art History and Visual Studies dual-title Ph.D. student must include at least one member of the Visual Studies Graduate Faculty. Faculty members who hold appointments in both programs’ Graduate Faculty may serve in a combined role. If the committee chair does not represent Visual Studies, the committee member representing Visual Studies must be appointed as co-chair.

Comprehensive Exam

The Visual Studies Graduate Faculty member on the student's committee is responsible for developing and administering the Visual Studies portion of the student's comprehensive exam. The exam must incorporate components addressing Visual Studies based on the student’s areas of interest and specialization in the Visual Studies.

Dissertation

The candidate must complete a dissertation on a topic that reflects his or her original research and education in both Art History and in Visual Studies in order to earn the dual-title Ph.D. degree. The dissertation must be accepted by the Ph.D. committee, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School, and the student must pass a final oral examination.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

Courses

Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Art History (ARTH) Course List

Contact

Campus University Park
Graduate Program Head Elizabeth C Mansfield
Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) or Professor-in-Charge (PIC) Amara Leah Solari
Program Contact

Erica Lynn Nodell
Art History
240 Borland Building
University Park PA 16802
exn30@psu.edu
(814) 865-4873

Program Website View