Art History Department

Programs

Master of Arts

The MA program is a course-based and research-intensive degree designed to prepare students for curatorial work, art consultation, heritage programs, cultural journalism, secondary school teaching, and doctoral research. Students will take six seminars (or three full-course equivalent [3.0 FCE]). Full-time students should be able to complete the program within one year (or two terms) by taking three seminars (1.5 FCE) in each of the two terms. For a three-term year, please discuss with the Director of Graduate Studies. Course work should be chosen from at least three of the four areas designated as Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern and Contemporary. Students must also take coursework in at least two geographical areas (Western, East Asian, South Asian, African, or pre-approval from the Director of Graduate Studies). Up to one credit (two half year courses or 1.0 FCE) may be taken in another graduate department upon approval from the Director of Graduate Studies. If a course cuts across boundaries between two areas, it shall count as one field only.

The MA degree requires demonstrated reading knowledge of one foreign language for graduation. Students must pass a proficiency exam in this language during the first months of the MA program. These exams are administered by the Department and consist solely of a two-hour translation exercise of two art history passages from two areas of study; only hard copy print dictionaries may be used.

We have a limited number of places for students who wish to complete the MA part-time.  Part-time students have 6 years to complete the degree. A Balance of Degree Fee is calculated at the end of the part-time studies to equal the cost of the full-time MA. If you wish to apply for the part-time MA, you must indicate this on the application form.

New students should attend Orientation to Art Historical Research Methods: a workshop designed to familiarize new students with research resources, led by the Department Librarian.

  • Admission Requirements: Candidates are admitted under the general regulations listed by the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants should have a strong overall grade average in the history of art and closely related subjects, with at least a B+ average in recent senior art history and/or humanities courses. The Department also welcomes applications from outstanding candidates with a background other than art history (with at least 5 art history courses in their academic background). In addition to transcripts, a CV and three letters of reference, applicants must include a statement of intent and a sample research paper. Details on the “Admissions” page.

Doctor of Philosophy

The PhD program is designed to prepare students for college and university teaching, museum work, and other research positions. Students admitted to the PhD program with a MA will be guaranteed minimum five-years of funding (see section on Fellowships) and will be given teaching experience as a teaching assistant and/or as a course instructor.

  • Admission Requirements: Candidates are admitted under the general regulations listed by the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants should have an exceptionally strong academic record with a grade average in the history of art and closely related subjects of at least an A- average in recent senior art history and/or humanities courses. Those applying with a MA in art history should have at least an A- average in their graduate courses. The Department also welcomes applications from outstanding candidates with a background other than art history (with at least 5 art history courses in their academic background). In addition to transcripts, a CV and three letters of reference, applicants must include a statement of intent and a sample research paper.  Acceptance is limited to students who propose theses corresponding to research expertise of faculty.  See faculty research profiles at https://arthistory.utoronto.ca/faculty/

PhD Program Entering with an MA

The basic requirements include a minimum of four seminars, two language exams (unless already completed with the MA), a comprehensive and dissertation-area exam, a colloquium presentation and a dissertation. One of these seminars must be FAH1001H: Methods in Art History (unless an exception has been made by the Director of Graduate Studies). You will be expected to maintain an A- average in your course work and complete your language exams in a timely fashion and before sitting the comprehensive exams; in addition, your progress will be reviewed annually to assure that you have met expectations. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress during the first two years may have their registration terminated. New students should attend Orientation to Art Historical Research Methods: a workshop designed to familiarize new students with research resources, led by the Department Librarian. Here is a typical itinerary through the PhD program for a fully-funded student (as we expect all PhD students to be):

  • Year 1: course work; complete all language requirements; study for comprehensive exams.
    All students must complete FAH5000Y: Mandatory Comprehensive Examinations and Dissertation Topic Reading Course (1.0 FCE; credit/no credit) with the student’s interim supervisor to prepare for the comprehensive examinations.
  • Year 2: Qualifying Year: complete comprehensive exams during fall term; submit dissertation proposal; start dissertation research.
  • Years 3, 4 and 5: dissertation research, writing and a colloquium.
Art Gallery of Ontario © 2014. Bequest of Frank P. Wood, 1955

Art Gallery of Ontario © 2014. Bequest of Frank P. Wood, 1955

Direct Entry PhD Program

This six-year program is designed for students who have graduated with a B.A. in art history or a related humanities major. The basic requirements include a minimum of nine seminars (4.5 Full Course Equivalents [FCE]), two language exams, a comprehensive and dissertation-area exam, a colloquium presentation, and a dissertation. One of these seminars must be FAH1001H: Methods in Art History (unless an exception has been made by the Director of Graduate Studies). You will be expected to maintain an A- average in your course work and complete your language exams in a timely fashion and before the comprehensive exams. New students should attend Orientation to Art Historical Research Methods: a workshop designed to familiarize new students with research resources, led by the Department Librarian. Your progress will be reviewed annually to assure that you have met expectations. Students who fail to make satisfactory progress during the first three years may have their registration terminated or transferred to the MA program. Here is a typical itinerary through the Direct Entry PhD program:

  • Year 1: course work, completing either 2.5 or 3.0 FCEs; pass the first language exam. All students must complete FAH5000Y: Mandatory Comprehensive Examinations and Dissertation Topic Reading Course (1.0 FCE; credit/no credit) with the student’s interim supervisor to prepare for the comprehensive examinations.
  • Year 2: Complete course work to a total of 4.5 FCEs; pass the second language exam.
  • Year 3: Qualifying Year: complete comprehensive exams; submit dissertation proposal; start dissertation research.
  • Years 4 to 6: dissertation research, writing and a colloquium.

Course Requirements:

  1. Distribution. All PhD candidates are required to take courses in three of the following four fields: Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, Modern and Contemporary. Students must also take coursework in at least two geographical areas (Western, East Asian, South Asian, or African). If a course cuts across boundaries between two areas, it shall count as one field only.
  2. Language Requirements. PhD students are required to pass examinations in two languages (normally German, French or Italian) if they have not already done so in the MA program. This requirement must be completed before taking the comprehensive exams. The appropriate languages will be set by the interim supervisor in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.
  3. PhD Comprehensive Examinations. Candidates are required to take the comprehensive examination (one component of which is chosen from the four areas designated above and one chosen from the dissertation area) within one and a half years (or two and a half years in the case of “direct-entry PhD candidates”).

A) Comprehensive Examination procedure:

  1. At the beginning of the study period, the PhD student will meet with the Examination Committee (made up of at least three members of the department –one of whom will be the prospective dissertation supervisor [please see Graduate Supervision Guidelines for PhD Supervision] and chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies or designate) in order to define the areas of the examination, the length of study and such readings and special topics as deemed to be appropriate. The Examination Committee will meet prior to the examination in order to discuss and agree upon the written questions to be submitted to the student.
  2. The comprehensive examination is made up of two components, one written and one oral. The written examination consists of two parts, the general area and dissertation area.
    1. The general area is tested in the Department and consists of two parts covering all media. The student receives two sets of three questions and is required to answer one from each set. The exam duration is 6 hours.
    2. The dissertation area is a take-home exam. The student receives three questions for this examination, answers one of them, and returns it to the Department within 72 hours.
    3. The oral examination for both components of the comprehensive examination (general and dissertation area) is normally scheduled three or four days after the take-home part is completed. The examination is normally two hours in length.
    4. The examination is reported as pass or fail. A member of the Examination Committee will discuss with the student the results of the examination and provide advice.
    5. The comprehensive examination must be completed approximately within one and a half years (or two and a half years in the case of “direct-entry PhD candidates”).
    6. The examinations will be scheduled by the Director of Graduate Studies, during the academic year, from September to April.

B) Area of Coverage: Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern, Modern and Contemporary

  1. The general area examination will be defined at the beginning of the study period
    (see A.1). In all fields, flexibility of area definition will be maintained.
  2. The dissertation area component differs with each student and will be agreed upon by the Examination Committee and the student.

C) Dissertation Proposal / PhD Advisory Committee

Immediately following the successful completion of the Comprehensive Examinations, students are expected to formally establish their PhD Advisory Committees. A faculty member will have already been requested to act as the dissertation supervisor, and two other members of the graduate faculty to serve on their supervisory committee. One member of this 3-person committee may be from outside the Department. Then, working with the Advisory Committee, students develop a detailed proposal for their research. The length and specific nature of the proposal will be determined by the Advisory Committee and the PhD candidate, and the drafted proposal must be approved by the Advisory Committee. The dissertation proposal should be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies within three months after the completion of the comprehensive exams.

D) Graduate Colloquium

At some stage during the dissertation work, the student will present their work to the faculty and students in an appropriate format and at a time to be determined by the supervisor in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.

 

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