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Home / Introduction to Graduate Programs / Art History / Doctor of Philosophy in Art History

Doctor of Philosophy in Art History

For 2015-16 applicants: the Department of Art History and Art will offer a new Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship to one of three entering doctoral students.

Download the brochure about the doctoral art history program.

The doctoral program in art history, offered in collaboration with the Cleveland Museum of Art, provides an object-focused grounding for museum or academic careers. A BA or MA in art history or relevant related field (such as Classics) and reading knowledge of one approved foreign language (such as French, German, Italian, Japanese, or Chinese) are required prerequisites. Admission preference is given to applicants whose scholarly interests coincide with the interests of a department faculty member, those who wish to focus on distinctive holdings in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, and/or those planning to pursue topics in museum or collecting history or the history of the art market. Admission to the program is made on the basis of academic record and scholarly promise, recommendations, experience, and personal interviews. Applicants must also submit GRE scores and two art history research papers. Students whose MA was awarded more than five years prior to application for admission may be required to pass a qualifying examination and/or foreign language examination administered by the department before being admitted to full standing in the PhD program.

 

 

Required courses:

ARTH 495 Methodologies of Art History 3
ARTH 496 Materials, Methods, and Physical Examination of Works of Art 3
Four graduate seminars at the 500 level. At least one seminar must be collection-based. 12
Six courses at the 400 level or above 18
ARTH 610A Advanced Visual Arts and Museums: Internship I 3
ARTH 610B Advanced Visual Arts and Museums Internship II 3
ARTH 701 Dissertation Ph.D. 18
Total Units 60

 

Doctoral students must demonstrate an ability to read two approved foreign languages useful in art historical research. All language requirements must be completed before the PhD student is allowed to schedule the PhD Comprehensive Examination. German is recommended as one of the two languages for students concentrating in Western art.

Doctoral students in Asian art should enter the program with reading knowledge of at least one Asian language (Chinese, Japanese, or Korean). Prior to taking the comprehensive exam, students must demonstrate reading knowledge of two languages relevant to the student’s research interests. The second language is chosen in consultation with a faculty advisor. It may be a modern Asian language, a classical Asian language, or a European language.

Both languages must be approved by the department during the first semester of doctoral study. Credit hours earned in language study may not be counted as part of the thirty-six credit hours required for the PhD in art history. The language requirement may be satisfied in the following ways:

a. With the consent of the department, an approved language accepted as part of am MA degree in art history (within three years of matriculation in the PhD program) may be accepted as fulfilling part of the PhD requirements.

b. The student may complete two semesters of BA level study in either or both approved languages with a grade of B or higher; these courses must have been taken within two years prior to matriculation or by the end of thirty-six graduate hours of art history. These courses may be taken at CWRU or elsewhere. Equivalent summer or study abroad language programs may also be used to fulfill the language requirement.

c. The student will be examined in one or both approved languages by art history faculty during the first semester of the PhD program. In the event of an unsatisfactory performance, students will be re-examined no later than the following semester.

Formal language study will be required for any student whose performance upon re-examination is unsatisfactory.

 

PhD

Doctoral Qualifying Examination

The doctoral qualifying examination will consist of two parts, oral and written. In consultation with their advisor, students will formulate two examination fields, which should either be contiguous or substantively related (and not simply based on the amount of coursework the student took in any given field). The second field can be in a non-art history area: classics, history, religious studies, music, etc. In this case, the field must absolutely be related to the first (e.g. someone with a primary field in Roman art cannot choose medieval history as a secondary field). The two fields will be submitted to the voting members of the faculty for approval; if necessary, the student will be asked to revise them with advice of the faculty and resubmit for faculty approval. The committee will consist of the major advisor, the minor advisor, and a third committee member. Examiners must be drawn from the CWRU faculty and/or CMA curatorial and relevant administrative and education staff only. All three committee members will evaluate both the written and the oral portions of the examination. It is the student’s responsibility to identify and contact the possible members of the examination committee sometime before the beginning of the third year of study, and to set the date of the examination in consultation with them.

Part I: Oral examination

The oral examination will take place over the course of one day. In consultation with their examination committee members, students will develop a bibliography for each field. The bibliography for the major field should be 25-30 pages in length; for the minor field, it should be 5-10 pages. The oral examination will consist of three parts:

1.  Examination of an object not currently on view at the CMA, related to the primary field. Focus on connoisseurship, technical analysis, iconography, proposed methodological approaches (30 – 60 minutes).

2.  Discussion of three or four objects in galleries, from both fields.  Focus on historiography/methodology/bibliography. Include technical analysis if possible. Objects can, but do not have to be related to the student’s potential dissertation topic (approximately 60 minutes)

3.  Discussion of key objects from both fields; to take place in a classroom with projected images. Focus on historiography/methodology/bibliography. This section will cover broader field than just the student’s potential dissertation topic (1.5 – 2 hours; 8-15 objects for the major field, 4 – 8 objects for the minor field).

Part II: Written Examination

After the oral portion of the examination is completed, examiners will meet to discuss the results and identify the student’s weakest exam area. Within two days, examiners will craft a paper topic to target this area, and notify the student, who will be expected to pick up the assigned topic from the art history office within two weeks from the notification. Once the topic is picked up, the student will be given a  two-week period to write a research paper 20 – 30 pages in length, complete with notes and bibliography, based on the topic outlined by the committee. The administration of the written portion of the examination is predicated on the successful completion of the oral portion.

If the committee determines that the student failed any portion of the exam, the student will meet with the advisor to discuss the possibility of re-examination.