Art History

Graduate Program HeadElizabeth C. Mansfield
Program CodeARTH
Campus(es)University Park (Ph.D., M.A.)
Degrees Conferred

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Master of Arts (M.A.)

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

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

The Graduate Faculty

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A graduate degree in art history prepares students for careers as scholars and educators, as museum curators, as public advocates of cultural heritage, and as arts administrators, to name just a few of the professions that recent program alumni have entered. Breadth of knowledge is as essential for museum professionals as it is for academic researchers. For this reason, advanced study of the visual arts and material culture from diverse periods and geographies is required of all graduate students, with Ph.D. candidates attaining deep expertise in at least one field of art historical research. The department’s faculty includes specialists in African, Asian, and European art and the arts of the Americas.

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.

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. GRE scores will not be accepted.

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). Students choosing to complete a thesis must complete at least 6 credits in thesis research (ARTH 600 or ARTH 610). Students choosing to complete a scholarly paper must complete at least 18 credits in 500-level courses.

Required Courses
ARTH 551Historiography of Art History (taken during one's first fall semester)3
27 credits at the 400 or 500 level, of which 3 credits must be taken in three of the following four areas: 127
(1) Africa and the Middle East
(2) The Americas
(3) Asia and the Pacific
(4) Europe and the Mediterranean
Culminating Experience
ARTH 600Thesis Research 26
or ARTH 596 Individual Studies
Total Credits36
1

 Nine ARTH credits must be at the 500 level (ARTH 551 and ARTH 596 may not be used to fulfill this requirement).

2

6 credits of ARTH 600 for a master's thesis or 6 credits of ARTH 596 for a master's paper. ARTH 596 may be used only by a master's candidate for a master's paper. The thesis must be accepted by the advisers and/or committee members, the head of the graduate program, and the Graduate School.

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 by all students before completing the M.A. degree. The master’s examination is not a thesis defense.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

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

Eighteen credits, not including doctoral dissertation research, are required for the Ph.D. At least 12 of these credits must be in art history. ARTH 560 Methods of Research in Art History (3 cr.) is required. At least 12 of the art history credits must be at the 500 level (ARTH 596 cannot be used to fulfill this requirement). At the discretion of the student's Ph.D. committee, the student may be required to take additional specialized courses pertaining to their 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

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

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.

Minor

A graduate minor is available in any approved graduate major or dual-title program. The default requirements for a graduate minor are stated in Graduate Council policies listed under GCAC-600 Research Degree Policies and GCAC-700 Professional Degree Policies, depending on the type of degree the student is pursuing:

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

Learning Outcomes

Master of Arts (M.A.)

  • Students critique and engage with art historical scholarship in chosen major area of specialization. Further, they develop original research topics and questions. Students learn to locate and use primary research materials in archives and other research repositories. They also learn to engage in analytical synthesis and original conclusions leading to a master’s thesis or paper.
  • Students convey ideas and research to peers, students, and the general public.
  • Students are expected to build on undergraduate training to gain deep knowledge of one major area and one minor area.
  • Students are expected to be effective at teaching and assessing students at the undergraduate level. They gain superior knowledge and experience in current curatorial and visual technologies and practices.

Know: Graduates will demonstrate deep knowledge of two areas of art historical research, a major area and a minor area, and will demonstrate competency in a foreign language relevant to the major area of research.

Critical and analytical thinking: Graduates will be able to critique, analyze, and synthesize and art historical scholarship in the major and minor area and to produce original conclusions based on research based on archival and other primary sources, including works of art.

Apply/Create: Graduates will be able to formulate a research plan, create an undergraduate art history course, and interpret works of art in a museum or other collection.

Communicate: Graduates will be able to convey ideas and research orally and in written form to peers, students, and the general public.

Professional Practice: Graduates will be effective at teaching and assessing students at the undergraduate level.

Ethical Practice: Graduates will be aware of disciplinary standards for research and teaching.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

  • Students learn to critique and engage with art historical scholarship in chosen major area of specialization. They also engage with art historical scholarship in two chosen minor areas of specialization and develop original research topics and questions. They learn to locate and use primary research materials in archives and other research repositories. Further, they engage in analytical synthesis and original conclusions leading to a doctoral dissertation.
  • Students convey ideas and research to peers, students and the general public in the form of written papers, a dissertation as well as conference-style presentations given during the course of graduate study.
  • Students are expected to build on undergraduate and graduate training to gain deep knowledge of a major area and expert knowledge in two minor areas.
  • Students are expected to be effective at teaching and assessing students at the undergraduate level. They gain superior knowledge and experience in current curatorial and visual technologies and practices. By the time they graduate, students make original and ethical scholarly contributions to the field and to the specialization.

Know: Graduates will demonstrate deep knowledge of three areas of art historical research, a major area and two minor areas, and will demonstrate competency in two foreign languages relevant to the major area of research.

Critical and analytical thinking: Graduates will be able to critique, analyze, and synthesize and art historical scholarship in the major and minor area and to produce extended arguments and original conclusions based on research based on archival and other primary sources, including works of art.

Apply/Create: Graduates will be able to formulate an original research plan, develop undergraduate and graduate art history curricula, and interpret works of art in a museum or other collection.

Communicate: Graduates will be able to convey original ideas and research orally and in written form to peers, students, and the general public.

Professional Practice: Graduates will be effective at teaching and assessing students at the undergraduate and graduate level, prepared to serve as peer review for scholarly publications, and able to advocate persuasively for the value of the interpretation, presentation, and preservation of the visual arts.

Ethical Practice: Graduates will be aware of disciplinary standards for research and teaching.

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

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