In addition to the entrance requirements of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, admission to graduate study in the history of art normally requires an average of B+ or better in an undergraduate major in the field and a command of either French, Italian, or German. Outstanding students who have majored in another field may be considered but, if admitted, should expect to take a certain number of basic undergraduate courses for which no degree credit will be granted.
Master of Arts
Candidates for the degree of Master of Arts in the History of Art are required to pass a minimum of 30 credits of courses at the 500 level or above and a written comprehensive examinations in two major fields. A master’s essay is also required. Normally this program can be completed in four semesters.
Students who focus on Western art are expected to take at least one course in each of the five major areas-Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Modern, and Non-Western art-as well as ARTH 501, Library Methodology, and ARTH 801, Theory and Interpretation. Students who focus on Asian art are expected to take courses in both South and East Asian art, at least one course in three of the major areas of Western art, as well as ARTH 501, Library Methodology and ARTH 801, Theory and Interpretation. The remaining courses may be spread among the student’s two major fields, or other fields as they and their advisors deem useful.
For students of Western art, reading knowledge of German and either French or Italian is required. For students in Asian studies knowledge of German or French is required. Proficiency in at least one of these languages must be demonstrated during the first semester of study. Proficiency in the second language must be demonstrated early in the second year of study. The student must satisfy this requirement by passing an examination administered by the department.
Doctor of Philosophy
To enter the doctoral program, the student must obtain the permission of the faculty. For students who wish to continue, application is made as work for the M.A. is completed, usually in the second semester of the second year. In exceptional cases, the faculty will review a student’s work after the first year of graduate study and give that student permission to enter the Ph.D. program after completing M.A. course work. Such students do not complete the comprehensive examination and the master’s essay and do not receive a master’s degree. Doctoral candidates are required to complete successfully a minimum of 24 credits of courses at the 500 level or above, beyond those required for the master’s degree. They must also pass a written examination in the major field, write a dissertation, and, after the dissertation has been accepted, defend it in an oral examination.
Each student’s program is to be approved by the Departmental Director of Graduate Studies. A member of the graduate faculty in the student’s field of specialization must approve a dissertation proposal outlining the subject and scope of the dissertation and a research plan. When the proposal has been approved by the advisor and members of a dissertation committee chosen by the student in consultation with the advisor, it will be circulated among the faculty, who may offer comments or suggestions. In addition to the languages required for the M.A. degree, students may be required to have a reading knowledge of other languages necessary for work in their major field.
Graduate Program in Art and Architectural History
Requirements for M.A.
The M.A. Program offers students contact with diverse art historical methods and the opportunity to study the major periods of American, European, and Asian art and architecture. Students are expected to achieve more detailed understanding of one major field and two minor fields within the history of art and architecture. Twelve courses (36 credit hours), as well as a master’s thesis are required. In accordance with University and Departmental regulations, M.A. candidates in the history of art and architecture must fulfill the following requirements:
1. Course Requirements
Thirty-six hours of graduate courses at the 500 level or above are required, with a grade of “B-” or higher in each. The Graduate School allows no transfer credit toward the M.A. Students who receive two failing grades will not be permitted to remain in the program. Four courses are required: ARAH 501 Library Methodology, ARAH 801 Theory and Interpretation, and ARAH 804-805 Master’s Thesis. Each is offered once a year.
No later than the beginning of the second year, but usually at the end of the first year, students choose one major field and two minor fields from among the following: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance/Baroque, Modern, American, South Asian, and East Asian. The Director of Graduate Studies must approve the choice. Students are expected to take a least three courses in the art and architecture of their major field of study. They are also expected to take at least two courses in each of their minor fields. One minor field should be removed in time and/or place from the major field. The remaining courses may be spread among the major and minor fields or other fields as students and their advisors deem useful. Students may receive permission from the Director of Graduate Studies to include in their programs courses offered by other departments. Full-time students are expected to enroll in a minimum of three courses each semester. Course requirements for the M.A. can thus be satisfied in four semesters.
2. Language Requirements
Language preparation is essential to a student’s success in this program and in the profession. Reading knowledge of one foreign language is required for the M.A. This language is ordinarily French, German, or Italian, but it may also be a language that is related to the student’s major field. The language is selected in consultation with the graduate advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies. Proficiency in the language should be demonstrated during the first semester of study and no later than the end of the first year. Students will satisfy the language requirement by passing a test administered by one of the language departments at the University or by the Graduate Program, consisting of the translation (with the aid of a dictionary) of a prose passage. Competence in languages is assumed in all graduate courses.
Language exams are administered at intervals in the academic year and by arrangement with the Graduate Director. While students who fail an exam may retake the test, failure to pass a second exam in a language will affect decisions on financial aid and admission to the Ph.D. program.
Students lacking at least one foreign language will not ordinarily be admitted to the program. Students should also realize that serious scholarship in art and architectural history often requires reading knowledge of a number of languages and that admission to the Ph.D. program will be contingent on demonstrating reading ability in a second language. Students should consult with the Graduate Director and their major field advisor about the languages required for work in their chosen field. In a number of fields three or more languages are essential. Students with a language deficiency should plan either to acquire language background before enrolling or to take language courses at Virginia, which may require their taking more time to finish the M.A. program. Students with foreign language deficiencies are urged to take language courses or an intensive language program prior to entry into the graduate program. This is especially important for students who wish to proceed to the Ph.D. program.
3. Master’s Thesis
Candidates research and write a master’s thesis during their second year, in conjunction with the master’s thesis courses, ARAH 804-805. The master’s thesis should be about 50 pages in length (including footnotes but excluding bibliography and illustrations); and it may be based on a paper submitted for a graduate course. The M.A. thesis is evaluated by a three-person committee. The advisor for the M.A. thesis will serve as the first reader, and the Graduate Committee will approve a second and third reader (one reader may be from outside the program). Students ordinarily defend their master’s thesis orally before their committee in May of their fourth semester.
Requirements for Ph.D.
The Ph.D. in the History of Art and Architecture is an advanced degree for those whose goal is professional scholarship, teaching, and curatorial work. Because of physical and financial limitations and the demanding nature of doctoral course work, especially the writing of a dissertation, we accept into the Ph.D. program only those students who have demonstrated superior abilities in their previous course work.
1. Admission to the Ph.D. Program
Students with an M.A. from the University of Virginia’s program in Art and Architectural History must have the explicit approval of the faculty member who will serve as their dissertation director. They must also submit a letter to the Graduate Director requesting permission to proceed to the Ph.D. program. Ordinarily this letter is due by March 1st of their fourth semester of course work. The Graduate Committee reviews students’ applications and advises them of their standing as potential Ph.D. candidates. A majority of the faculty must approve admission to the Ph.D. program, and their approval is contingent on the completion of all requirements for the Master’s degree.
Students with an M.A. from the Master’s Program in Architectural History from the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia follow the same procedure for admission to the Ph.D. program in the History of Art and Architecture.
Students with an M.A. in Art History or Architectural History from another program may also be admitted to the Ph.D. program, and are welcome to apply. The Program will honor the M.A. as complete, but incoming Ph.D. students should be prepared to take up to two years of Ph.D. coursework, and to make up any aspect of their graduate work that fails to meet the standards set by the Program’s own M.A. requirements. Such deficiencies will be determined by the Graduate Admissions Committee and will be specified upon admission. A visit to the University prior to admission may be required.
2. General Requirements
The Graduate School requires a minimum of three full sessions (two semesters each) of graduate work at full-time enrollment from the beginning of the M.A. A year of full tuition and fees is dropped from this requirement for transfer students whose M.A. from another institution is formally accepted as applicable to their Ph.D. program. Upon admission students with an M.A. should consult with the Dean of the Graduate School to determine the extent of their financial and residential responsibilities.
3. Course Requirements
Candidates for the Ph.D. are required to pass a minimum of 54 semester hours of courses at the 500 level or above (i.e., a minimum of six courses beyond the twelve required for the M.A.). Upon departmental recommendation a transfer student with an M.A. may be allowed credit for up to 36 semester hours toward the fulfillment of this requirement. At its discretion the Graduate Program may require a doctoral candidate to take more than the minimum number of courses required for the Ph.D. This will be specified upon admission to the program.
4. Language Requirements
For Ph.D. candidates, reading knowledge of at least one language in addition to the M.A. language is required. The language is to be appropriate to the dissertation field and is to be defined in consultation with the dissertation director and the Graduate Director. Students should demonstrate their knowledge of the language by passing an examination no later than the end of the first semester of Ph.D. course work; they will not be allowed to take their field examination without successful completion of this requirement. Students will satisfy the language requirement by passing a test administered by one of the language departments at the University or by the Graduate Program and consisting of the translation (with the aid of a dictionary) of a prose passage. Depending on their field of specialization and in consultation with their dissertation director, candidates may also be required to demonstrate a working knowledge of other languages. Funding may be available for study in additional languages. Students lacking a second language will not ordinarily be admitted to the Ph.D. program.
5. Field Examination
Ph.D. candidates ordinarily take the Ph.D. Field Examination in the early Fall of their fourth year after the completion of their course work. This is a three-hour oral examination of the student’s major field and two minor fields. The major field includes both the art and architecture of that field. A committee of at least three members, including the student’s dissertation director, conducts the exam. One member of the committee can be from outside the two departments. The student’s dissertation director and the Graduate Director appoint the committee in consultation with the student.
Students choose the major and minor fields for the Ph.D. Examination from among the following: Greek, Roman, Western Medieval, Byzantine, Italian Renaissance, Northern 15th and 16th Centuries, Baroque, Eighteenth Century, Nineteenth Century, American, Twentieth Century, South Asian, East Asian, Theory and Criticism, and Historical or Disciplinary Topics (e.g. Book Illustration, Perspective, Iconoclasm, etc.). One minor may be in another field or department.
6. Dissertation Proposal
The broad area and subject of the dissertation should to a considerable extent govern the choice of courses in the Ph.D. program, and in general students should begin to think about their dissertation topics as early in their graduate careers as possible. In developing a dissertation topic students should consult closely with the dissertation director. At least one Ph.D. reading course focused on developing the dissertation topic should be taken with that faculty member, as well as the dissertation proposal course (ARAH 810).
In consultation with their dissertation director, doctoral students write a 7 to 10 page dissertation proposal outlining the subject and scope of the dissertation, the state of research, and the issues to be addressed. The proposal is reviewed and edited by the dissertation director and the Graduate Committee. Students ordinarily submit their dissertation proposal to the Graduate Director and the Graduate Committee by the end of their third year. When the Committee has approved the proposal, it will be circulated among the faculty, who may offer comments or suggestions.
The dissertation committee must comprise at least four members: three faculty from the program in Art and Architectural History and one faculty member from another department in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, who serves as the representative of the Dean of Arts and Sciences at the dissertation defense. The dissertation director serves as the first reader and chairs the committee and the oral examination. The dissertation committee is formally appointed by the Department Chairs in consultation with the Graduate Committee, the candidate, and the dissertation director.
7. Dissertation and Oral Examination
In form the dissertation should follow accepted scholarly usage, as stipulated in the MLA Style Sheet, second edition, or standard up-to-date guides to usage (such as the Chicago Manual). The abbreviations should be those prescribed in the Art Bulletin or the American Journal of Archaeology. Other, more specific dissertation requirements, including those of format, are to be found in the Graduate Record of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Strict adherence to them is expected of the final copies submitted to the Graduate School.
After the acceptance of the dissertation by the first and second readers, an oral defense is scheduled. In order to avoid last-minute problems of revision, the defense should be scheduled well in advance of the final submission date of the semester in which the degree is to be conferred. All members of the Department are invited to the defense. Students may be invited at the candidate’s discretion. Five copies of the dissertation and abstract (one for each committee member and one for the Department) must be available not later than three weeks before the date of the examination.
Program in Classical Art and Archaeology
In addition to its regular degree programs, the Department of Art sponsors an interdisciplinary program in classical art and archaeology, leading to the degrees of M.A. and Ph.D. The program encourages the student to acquire a broad understanding of ancient culture. Reading knowledge of Greek and Latin is encouraged; credit is given for courses in ancient studies offered by other departments. Course work outside the Department of Art may lead to the choice of a special field in ancient history, religion, philosophy, or literature. In order that the student be acquainted with the survival and transformation of ancient art in the post-Classical period, course work in early medieval art is also required. At an appropriate stage in their graduate study, students in the program are encouraged to do field work in archaeology at an ancient site.
Although the program is flexible, a course in theory and methodology, such as ARTH 801, is required. The curriculum is determined by students’ preparation, interests, and needs, with about two-thirds of the ten courses needed for the M.A. concentrated in ancient study. Students prepare for the Comprehensive Examination in the two fields of ancient and early medieval art. Language requirements in French and German are met before students take the Comprehensive Examination.
Certain graduate courses are given in alternate years, or once every three years, or are temporarily suspended. New courses may be added after the publication date of this catalog. A more current list of course offerings may be obtained by writing to the secretary of the department.
Note: Instructor permission is a prerequisite for all 500-level courses.