PhD in Art History Degree Requirements


A minimum of eight graduate-level courses (32 credit hours) must be completed with regular letter grades and a grade average of B or better, in addition to required registration for dissertation research and preparation. The Art History Graduate Committee may require additional course work as a condition for admission. Students who have not taken the required graduate-level seminar in Theory and Methods as part of their Master's degree must also include this in their doctoral program; others may be required to do so by the Graduate Committee. Students must petition the Graduate Committee, through the DGS, for a waiver for this course.

  Credit Hours
Graduate courses in art history and related subjects (500/600 level)


ARTH 500 Theory and Methods


At least four courses (16 credits) must be taken with different faculty members in art history, including associated and visiting faculty. [For students who entered the program before Fall 2009, the previous distribution requirement of two courses outside your field of study should be substituted.]

ARTH 699 - dissertation registration, as required to maintain registration after admission to candidacy.  


(For courses outside the department and independent studies, students submit a petition to the graduate committee.)  

To view currently offered courses within the department please see the Binghamton University Public Schedule of Classes.

Language Requirements

Doctoral students must pass two examinations demonstrating an ability to read research literature in the student's areas of interest in at least two appropriate languages of scholarship in addition to English. Work in certain fields may require additional languages.

NOTE: Students may seek a waiver of one or more of the language requirements by petitioning the Graduate Committee in writing, and providing appropriate documentation of their competency in the language(s) in question.

Dissertation Committee

In conjunction with the student's supervisor, who chairs the committee, the student chooses two additional members from Binghamton University's graduate faculty, at least one of whom must be a member of the Art History faculty. In extremely rare cases, off-campus specialists in the subject area may be invited to serve, though no honorarium can be offered for such services. This committee is then appointed by the Art History Graduate Committee, who must also approve any subsequent changes.

Dissertation Proposal

The Dissertation Proposal is a description of the proposed research project that serves as the basis for the dissertation. The student must submit a formal, written proposal for dissertation research on an approved topic, outlining in detail the problem, method of inquiry, and relevant literature on the subject. The three-member dissertation committee must accept this proposal. The committee must include the supervisor, as chair, and at least one additional member from the art history faculty.

As directed by the supervisor, the Dissertation Proposal should contain the following:

 §   Title Page

Based on the template in the Graduate School Handbook. (1 page)

 §   Signature Page(1 page)

 §   Abstract

A one-page summary of the aims, purpose and content of the proposed dissertation. (1 page)

 §   Proposed Table of Contents

The Table of Contents of the proposed dissertation itself. (1 page)

 §   The Proposal

The dissertation proposal should be between 25 and 30 pages long. It should map out the scope and approach of the dissertation project, address the frameworks and sources to be used, and locate the project within the context of the relevant literature in the field. (25–30 pages)

 §   Proposed Schedule of Work

A timetable of research, travel, fieldwork and writing, to completion. (Up to 1 page)

 §   Proposed Sources of Funding

A list of prospective external funding sources for the project. (Up to 1 page)

 §   Bibliography

Not more than 20 to 25 pages, broken down into:
        I Primary Sources
        II Secondary Sources (divided into works consulted in writing the Proposal and works 
        yet to be consulted)

A signed copy of the Proposal must be deposited with the department after successful completion of the examination.

PhD Comprehensive Examination

Students must pass a Comprehensive Examination before a committee designated by the Art History Graduate Committee. This examination will focus on: i) the circulated dissertation proposal; ii) professional knowledge and practice, based on a familiarity with broad methodological and historiographical questions in the discipline, as demonstrated by syllabi and/or proposals in the student’s chosen professional field, as agreed with the chair of the examining committee.

Doctoral students (who enter the program in or after Fall 2010) are required to pass the Ph.D. Comprehensive Examinations within 18 months of completing coursework. Students who do not meet this deadline will receive a grade of U (unsatisfactory) for ARTH 698 until the examination has been passed. In clear cases of extenuating circumstances, students may file a petition for an extension.

Dissertation and Defense

When the final draft has been accepted by the student's supervisor and committee, the dissertation is defended in an oral examination that is open to the public and is conducted by the student's dissertation committee and an external examiner, appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. The final dissertation must be submitted electronically in accordance with Graduate School regulations (with hardcopy required by the department). An acceptable dissertation demonstrates the student's ability to handle significant problems in the history of art, architecture, visual culture or the built environment in a critical and scholarly manner and makes a contribution to the discipline.

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Last Updated: 2/6/17