Ph.D. in Art History

Rhetorics of Art, Space and Culture: Ph.D. Program in Art History


To be admitted to the Ph.D. program, an applicant must have obtained a B.A. or M.A. from a four-year accredited college or university. A minimum of 12 term credit hours of undergraduate art history above the survey level or equivalent is required before a student may begin to accumulate hours for graduate credit. Students who have been admitted without adequate undergraduate preparation will be expected to take the requisite number of undergraduate hours before or during their first term at SMU. The applicant should have a reading knowledge of at least two languages other than English.

Once the applications to the Ph.D program have been reviewed in January, the top candidates will be interviewed via Zoom. Applicants who are offered a place will be invited to visit our campus and to meet the faculty.

All students admitted to the program will receive full fellowship support and close mentorship within a small-program setting. Candidates are ensured professional success through a program featuring:

  • Small graduate seminars.
  • Teaching assistantships for all second and third year PhD students.
  • Fellowships for all doctoral candidates for five full years.
  • Summer research money for five years.
  • Medical benefits, tuition waivers and professional travel support for doctoral students.
  • Close mentoring from matriculation to graduation and beyond.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in art history requires up to 46 hours of coursework, as well as directed readings and dissertation hours. A student must pass a departmentally administered exam to demonstrate proficiency in at least two languages relevant to his or her course of study. Further requirements include oral and written exams and a colloquium in the third year; the fourth and fifth years are devoted to dissertation research and writing.