Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Art History Ph.D.

Art History
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Art History, 338 Heller Hall, 271 19th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-4500; fax: 612-626-8679)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2019
  • Length of program in credits: 78
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The University of Minnesota's doctoral program in art history trains scholars who go on to careers in universities, colleges, museums, and other arts institutions throughout the nation and the world. The faculty’s unique range of expertise allow us to offer specialized training that only a few other institutions worldwide are able to match. Our current faculty and institutional strengths support specialization in the following overlapping fields: art and archaeology of ancient Persia (including Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian Iran); Islamic art (including the medieval Persianate world and the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires); art and archaeology of late antiquity; the global early modern in Europe, the Atlantic world, and South Asia; Northern and Italian Renaissance and Baroque art; North American art and visual/material culture; film and photography; and contemporary art and theory.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Applicants with the necessary preparation holding a BA or an MA are equally encouraged to apply and every incoming class normally consists of students with both backgrounds. Although all students apply to, and begin in, the PhD program, students complete the requirements for an 'in-process' MA on their way to the PhD degree. In addition to transcripts and test scores, students are required to submit a writing sample, statement of objectives (personal statement) outlining their current and future research interests, and three letters of recommendation. Please refer to the program website and contact the DGS for further information:
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 550
    • Total Score: 6.5
    • Final score: 80
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
42 credits are required in the major.
12 credits are required outside the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
Language Requirement: See other program requirements below:
A minimum GPA of 3.50 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 1 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Students complete all requirements for an MA degree en route to the PhD. Therefore, all courses in the MA at the University of Minnesota are applied to and part of the the PhD requirements. Students with a previous MA in art history may be given credit towards some of their in-process MA coursework requirements (up to 40%). Students may take up to 2 directed study courses to satisfy requirements. Language requirement: Reading proficiency in two modern foreign research languages. Additional modern or ancient languages may be required by the student's advisor depending on field.
Art History Department Courses
Within this the following concentrations and electives, students must fulfill the following distribution requirements in courses taken in the Art History department: 1) Global Perspectives Requirement (1 course) 2) Art History Seminars at the 8xxx level (2 courses) - This requirement is in addition to ARTH 8001, and excluding ARTH 8975.
Primary Concentration
Take 18 or more credit(s) from the following:
· ARTH 5xxx
· ARTH 8xxx
Secondary Concentration
Take 9 or more credit(s) from the following:
· ARTH 5xxx
· ARTH 8xxx
Required Art History Courses
ARTH 8001 - Art Historiography: Theory and Methods (3.0 cr)
Take 3 additional credits from either:
ARTH 5xxx
or ARTH 8xxx
Take 9 or more elective credits. At least 3 of these credits must be from the following:
ARTH 5xxx
or ARTH 8xxx
Outside Coursewowrk
Doctoral Minor
• A doctoral-level minor is comprised of a minimum of 12 credits, with the terms specified by the department housing the minor program. • At least 6 credits of the minor must be taken in a single field outside the Department of Art History. The field must be related to Art History, but cannot be art historical in content.
or Supporting Program
• A supporting program consists of 12 credits, which may be from more than one discipline outside the department and which represent a coherent area of work. Such self-designed supporting programs are constructed with input from the adviser. • 6 credits may be art historical in content; however, they must be outside the student's primary area of concentration. • 6 additional credits of the supporting program must NOT be art historical in content.
Thesis Credits
Take 24 or more credit(s) from the following:
· ARTH 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
Areas of Concentration
Examples of potential concentrations include:
Ancient Mediterranean/Western Asia South Asia Islamic Early Modern Europe and the Atlantic World North American Contemporary Film/Photography
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ARTH 8001 - Art Historiography: Theory and Methods
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Key texts, from Renaissance to present, from western/non-western fields, relating to history/criticism of both art and visual culture. Focuses on recent critical theory, its re-examination of assumptions underlying the discipline.
ARTH 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 24 cr required