Requirements: Art History Ph.D Program

Degree Requirements

The requirements are set according to the general Requirements for Degree Programs specified in the Graduate Calendar. Students in the Art History Ph.D. program are required to complete three term-length courses at the 800 level, one of which must be outside the candidate's special area of interest and another with their thesis supervisor; then they prepare for the Doctoral Field Essays to be examined in Comprehensive Exams. After the successful completion of the Doctoral Field Essays and Comprehensive Exams, students take a Research Seminar with their supervisor and prepare a Thesis Proposal for submission to the Art History Graduate Committee.

Evidence shall be required of a reading knowledge of those languages other than English which are deemed necessary for a candidate's particular field of study as determined by the Graduate Committee; this must be demonstrated prior to submission of the Thesis Proposal. Once the committee has approved the Thesis Proposal, research for the doctoral thesis officially begins. Completed theses are submitted to the School of Graduate Studies for oral examination by committee. Residency and other requirements, as specified in the General Regulations, also apply. The program should be completed in 4 years.

Language Requirements

Reading knowledge of one language other than English and if necessary, a minimum of one additional approved language related to the area of thesis research.


Year 1:

  • 3 half courses at the 800-level (2 in one term, 1 in the other)
  • Pass any needed language requirements
  • Establish topics for the Doctoral Field Essays by the end of the Winter term
  • Read for Doctoral Field Essays over the summer

Year 2:

  • Prepare Doctoral Field Essays and study for Comprehensive Exams in the fall
  • In the Fall term or in January: Submit Doctoral Field Essays and take Comprehensive Examinations
  • Winter term: preparation of the thesis proposal, submitted and approved by the end of the term (before May 1)
  • Summer - begin dissertation research/ prepare for traveling to do on-site research

Year 3:

  • Dissertation research, begin writing, often on-site

Year 4: 

  • Finish writing and defend the thesis


Students normally register in two art history seminars each term, in addition to any language courses that may be needed. Selection of courses shall be made in consultation with the supervisor or Graduate Coordinator. Requirements are:

  • Completion of the three required term-length courses at the 800-level
  • The Field Essays consisting of ARTH 904 and ARTH 905
  • The Research Seminar (ARTH 908)


After successfully passing the Comprehensive Examinations, students register in ARTH 908 (Research Seminar) directed by their thesis supervisor(s) and read in the area of their thesis research in order to define a topic. The student then submits a Thesis Proposal to the Art History Graduate Committee. Proposals are normally presented at the end of the term following completion of the comprehensive Field Essays. Students must have completed any language requirements, as determined by the supervisor and Graduate Committee, before submitting the proposal. After the Thesis Proposal has been approved by the Art History Graduate Committee, research for the doctoral thesis (ARTH 999) shall officially begin. Several Bader Fellowships are available every year for doctoral research abroad. The completed thesis, which can follow a traditional format, or manuscript, project, or portfolio format, shall be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies. Students must obtain the publication "General Form of Theses" from the School of Graduate Studies. Once it has been passed by the Oral Examining Committee and any required changes made, the thesis must be submitted electronically to QSpace, and up to 2 hard copies may be sent to be bound. The student may graduate at the next convocation.


The School of Graduate Studies and Research at Queen's University offers graduate students four years of guaranteed funding ($18, 000 per year). The funding package may be comprised of Queen's Graduate Awards, Teaching Assistantships, and named internal fellowships, which are awarded by the department on a competitive basis.  

Upper-year Ph.D. students may be awarded a teaching fellowship. Employment as teaching assistants helps to familiarize students with the skills and duties of a teaching career; teaching fellowships, competitively awarded usually after completion of the Comprehensive Examinations, allow students to design and teach their own course.

Students are urged to seek outside funding and students with at least an 80% overall average must apply for SSHRCC or OGS in order to qualify for Queen's funding after their first year. Several Bader Fellowships (up to $30,000) for doctoral research in Europe may be awarded annually to students who have completed course work and language requirements, successfully completed their Comprehensive Exams, and had Thesis Proposals approved.

The amount of the Fellowship is $22,000 for students holding external awards (SSHRCC or OGS), and $30,000 for students without external support.