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Department of Art History and Art

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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 Qualifying Examination

PhD students are required to pass a written and oral examination before being advanced to candidacy; this examination should be taken in the third year of study. The examining committee, which consists of three faculty members, is formed by consultation with the student’s advisor and must be approved by the department chair. The examination is offered in two areas:

Western art and Asian art. Students will be examined in the area of specialization in which they propose to write their dissertation. Each student must choose a major and minor field. The areas of the examination will be determined by an examining committee, chaired by the advisor, in consultation with the student. Historiography is considered an important component of all PhD exams.

Within two weeks after the written examination the faculty committee will examine the student orally. A final evaluation will be based on the student’s performance in both the written and oral sections of the examination. Upon successful completion of both phases of examination the student will be advanced to candidacy and may enroll in ARTH 701 PhD Dissertation.