PhD in the History of Art and Architecture

The Department of the History of Art and Architecture offers fully funded PhD fellowships for competitive candidates.

Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies for further details.

PhD Requirements

PhD students in the Department of the History of Art & Architecture (HA&A) are expected to fulfill the following departmental requirements, as well as those of the UO Graduate School, to receive the doctoral degree in art history. HA&A faculty members are scholars and teachers, easily accessible to all students and dedicated to mentoring graduates from the first year of coursework to post-PhD career guidance. The HA&A faculty holds an annual review to ensure students are making satisfactory progress toward the degree.

Projected Time Table for Completing the PhD


Completion Deadline

Language 1

end of spring in year 1

Declare major and minor fields

end of spring in year 1

Language 2

end of spring in year 2


end of spring in year 2

Qualifying paper

end of spring in year 2

Major and minor field exams

end of winter in year 3

Dissertation prospectus

end of spring term in year 3

Dissertation and defense

anytime between years 5 and 7

Language Requirement

Students should acquire a research capability in two foreign languages appropriate to their area of study as soon as possible in their academic program, unless otherwise approved by the student’s advisor. All chosen languages must be approved by the student’s advisor.

Language proficiency is typically demonstrated in one of several ways: (1) by passing a written language exam given by the department; (2) by providing an official transcript from the University of Oregon or elsewhere that shows satisfactory completion of the second or third year of the language, as determined by the student's primary advisor; (3) or by presenting evidence of having achieved equivalent results on a standardized foreign-language placement test. (NOTE: This requirement may be waived for a student who has completed a high-school or higher degree that employed the target language as the primary language of instruction.)

Students are expected to satisfy their first foreign language requirement by the end of their first year in the program. It is highly recommended that they complete the second language requirement by the end of their second year in the program.


HA&A Course Requirements

To fulfill the HA&A course requirements for the PhD, students are expected to take a total of 72 credits, selected in consultation with the student’s advisor. Of the 72 credits, at least 36 credits must be in HA&A and taken for a letter grade. Of the 36 graduate credits required, a minimum of 12 must be in graduate seminars (600-level), including ARH 611 (Graduate Studies in Art History). Students are required to complete all required coursework before taking their field exams. Credits in Reading 605 or Dissertation 603 cannot count towards the 36 credits required in HA&A.

Major and Minor Requirements

Students are expected to declare major and minor fields of study by the spring quarter of their first year. Students are required to take a minimum of 12 credits in their major field and at least 8 credits in their minor field at the graduate level (500- or 600-level) prior to taking their field exams.

The major field must be in HA&A; the minor field may be another area in HA&A or in another discipline (e.g. classics, history, comparative literature, etc.).

Students entering the PhD program with an MA in hand may petition to waive some coursework requirements to more quickly progress through the program.

University policy specifies that at least one full-time academic year—the residency year—must be completed following admission into the doctoral program. During this year of residency, the student is expected to make progress toward the degree by completing course credits and satisfying doctoral degree requirements. The residency year consists of three consecutive terms of full-time University of Oregon coursework toward the degree, with a minimum of 9 completed graduate credits a term. Courses in Research (601), Reading and Conference (605), and other individualized study options may be a part of the 9 credits, but the majority of the year of residency is expected to consist of regular graduate course work.

Qualifying Paper

A qualifying paper is an approximately 30-page paper that demonstrates the student’s ability to conduct independent research on a topic in her/his major field. It should show the student’s command of pertinent bibliographical and reference materials as well as her/his ability to critically evaluate and synthesize the current state of research on the subject.

Students must submit the qualifying paper by the end of the spring term of their second year. The qualifying paper must be approved by the student’s primary advisor and a secondary HA&A faculty reader. All students may suggest potential secondary readers; however, the DGS will balance the student’s request against equity of faculty workload. The approval form is available in the HA&A administration office and should be signed by both readers.

In the unusual case that the qualifying paper fails to satisfy the standards of the two readers, the student will not be recommended to proceed in the doctoral program. In consultation with his/her main advisor, a student who is not recommended to proceed into the doctoral program may receive a terminal MA degree by revising and submitting his/her qualifying paper in accordance to the Graduate School’s standards for an MA thesis and by completing all requirements for terminal MA degree.

Major & Minor Field Exams and Advancement to Candidacy

Students are required to complete all required coursework before taking their field exams. Students are officially advanced to PhD candidacy the term after they have completed two written field exams: one in their major field in HA&A and one in a minor field in HA&A or another discipline with departmental approval. The major field examiner must be the student’s primary advisor in HA&A. The minor field examiner must be another faculty member, either in HA&A or in an outside department.

The department currently offers field examinations in the following categories:

  • Greek
  • Roman
  • Latin American
  • North American
  • Medieval
  • Renaissance & Baroque
  • Modern
  • Contemporary
  • Chinese
  • Japanese

Dissertation Committee Selection

The student selects the dissertation committee in consultation with her/his advisor. The committee is subject to approval by the Director of Graduate Studies, and must follow the UO Graduate School’s Dissertation Committee Policy.

The dissertation committee typically consists of four members: the advisor and two “core” members who are regular members of the department, and one “institutional representative” from a UO department other than HA&A.

The committee should be formed within one month after advancement to candidacy and its first function is to approve the dissertation proposal.

Dissertation Prospectus & Prospectus Approval

Before beginning her/his dissertation research, the student must submit a written prospectus approved by her/his committee. The prospectus approval form is available at the HA&A administration office, and should be signed by all members of the dissertation committee.

Dissertation Research, Writing & Defense

Following the successful prospectus defense, students enroll in dissertation credits with their primary advisor and focus on research and writing. Students are expected to make regular appointments with their primary advisor to report progress.

An oral defense is scheduled when the student has completed the dissertation to the satisfaction of her/his main advisor and committee members. The student should bring to the defense the dissertation approval form (available in the HA&A administration office) to be signed by the committee members. The dissertation defense is open to all students and faculty members who wish to attend.

The format of the final version of the PhD dissertation must follow the UO Graduate School guidelines.

The UO Graduate School imposes a limit of seven years for completion of the PhD degree.