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Doctor of Philosophy in Art History

Major: ARTH
Degree Awarded: Ph.D.
Unit: GA
Program Webpage:

Program Information

To be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program, students must submit the following credentials:

  1. Application to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies
  2. Transcripts of all colleges attended (undergraduate or graduate)
  3. Three current, substantive letters of recommendation, appended to the recommendation forms
  4. Graduate Record Examination scores (a minimum GRE verbal score of 160 is required by the Art History Program for admission)
  5. A statement of purpose (approximately one thousand words in length) that details academic interests, reasons for pursuing a doctoral degree in Art History, and intended field of study
  6. A writing sample that can stand as evidence of the applicant's intellectual, investigative, and expository skills
  7. International students must meet all criteria, including the TOEFL examination, set forth in the Graduate Catalog 

Coursework required for the Ph.D. in Art History includes completion of the M.A. plus 15 hours ARTH 500-level electives, 15 hours ARTH 600-level electives, 6 hours of Dissertation Research, and 6 hours of graduate level electives outside the Art History Program, for a total of 72 hours. Additional 600-level courses may be substituted for 500-level.

Up to a total of 15 hours of 500 or 600 level electives outside Art History may be substituted for Art History electives of similar level provided they are appropriate and are approved in advance by the student's advisor.

Students are required to demonstrate facility in two foreign languages, one of which must be relevant to the field of dissertation research (for example, Latin or Greek for ancient art). Some areas of Art History require that students have a mastery of epigraphy and paleography. Students in any field in which extensive language study is necessary in order to conduct research must concentrate on the relevant language or languages before taking the comprehensive exam.

Language proficiency is demonstrated in one of two ways: 1) Taking a proficiency examination administered by the department, scheduled in the fall and spring semesters. The proficiency exam is a one hour translation examination with the use of a dictionary. Students are required to demonstrate intermediate level facility in the language. 2) Completing the intermediate level of the language course at the University of Louisville with a grade of B or better.

Through course work, independent study, and directed readings, each student must prepare her/himself to pass a written comprehensive exam before admission to candidacy. Language requirements must have been met and all course work completed before a student may take the comprehensive exam.

After being admitted to candidacy, the student must write a dissertation and defend it in a final oral examination.


General Requirements:

  • Minimum 30 credit hours of coursework at the 500 and 600 level (exclusive of course work earned for the M.A. degree)
  • ARTH 743 and 744: Directed Readings for Comprehensive Exam (3 credit hours maximum for each)
  • ARTH 745: Dissertation Research (12 credit hours maximum)
  • Comprehensive exam (upon completion of coursework and before beginning the dissertation)
  • Dissertation prospectus
  • Dissertation and defense

Course Requirements:

  • 500-level electives: 15 credits (maximum for application to degree requirements). In addition, if an equivalent course was not taken at the M.A. level, Ph.D. students must also take ARTH 541: Modern Perspectives of the Visual Arts
  • 600-level electives: 15 credits (minimum) (note: 600-level courses may be substituted for 500-level courses, with the exception of ARTH 541)
  • Independent Study (ARTH 643/644) may be used to fulfill the 600 level electives above (students are permitted four independent study courses)
  • 500 or 600-level electives: 6 credits outside Art History, preferably courses related to the dissertation
  • ARTH 743 and 744: Directed Readings for Comprehensive Exams (3 credit hours maximum for each)
  • ARTH 745: Dissertation Research (12 credit hours maximum). To be taken only by Ph.D. candidates actively engaged in dissertation research


  1. Students are expected to take any courses necessary in preparation for scholarly research.
  2. Students must continue to enroll for credit each Fall and Spring, including any semesters after coursework has been completed and before graduation. After completing minimum course requirements for the program, doctoral students must maintain continuous registration until the completion of the degree.
  3. A minimum gpa of 3.5 must be maintained in the Ph.D. program.
  4. The Art History faculty periodically review Ph.D. students who have not yet advanced to candidacy and will discourage from further work those students whose progress and performance are deemed unsatisfactory.

Departmental Faculty

Ying Kit Chan, MFA
Chair and Professor, Studio Art

Lida G. Gordon, MFA
Professor, Studio Art

James Grubola, MFA
Professor, Studio Art

Mark A. Priest, MFA
Professor, Studio Art

Steven Skaggs, MSc
Professor, Studio Art

John Whitesell, MFA
Professor, Studio Art

R. Todd Burns, MFA
Associate Professor, Studio Art

Mary Carothers, MFA
Associate Professor, Studio Art

Mitch Eckert, MFA

Associate Professor, Studio Art

Christopher B. Fulton, PhD
Associate Professor, Art History

Barbara L. Hanger, MFA
Associate Professor, Studio Art

Benjamin Hufbauer, PhD
Associate Professor, Art History

Susan Jarosi, PhD
Associate Professor, Art History

Jongwoo Kim, PhD
Associate Professor, Art History

Delin Lai, PhD
Associate Professor, Art History

Scott Massey, MFA
Associate Professor, Studio Art

Gabrielle Mayer, MFA
Associate Professor, Studio Art

Che Rhodes, MFA
Associate Professor, Studio Art

John Begley, MFA
Assistant Professor, Curatorial Studies

Peter Morrin, MFA
Associate in Fine Arts, Curatorial Studies

Donald Anderson, MFA
Professor Emeritus, Studio Art

Thomas Buser, PhD
Associate Professor Emeritus, Art History

Henry Chodkowski, Jr., MFA
Professor Emeritus, Studio Art

Dario A. Covi, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Art History

Robert L. Douglas, Sr., PhD
Professor Emeritus, Art History

Linda M. Gigante, PhD
Professor Emerita, Art History

Jay M. Kloner, PhD
Associate Professor Emeritus, Art History

Stephanie J. Maloney, PhD
Professor Emerita, Art History

Suzanne Mitchell, MFA
Professor Emerita, Studio Art

William D. Morgan, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Art History

Contact Information

Art History - Ph.D.

For further information on the Ph.D. in Art History contact
Janice Blair, Program Assistant Senior
Hite Art Institute
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
Phone: (502)852-5914
Fax: (502)852-6791

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