Art History & Art Conservation

Department of Art History & Art Conservation

Art History Graduate Program

The M.A. and Ph.D. programs offer advanced training in the study of visual and material culture from the Middles Ages to the present. The Queen's Art History program is strongly committed to mentoring and to the training of graduate students in a variety of interdisciplinary approaches, methodologies, and issues, including the technical examination of art, gender studies, critical theory, cultural representation, and the relationships among art, literature, and science. 

Choosing Art History at Queen's University to pursue doctoral studies in Art History was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Attending Queen's was a positive and nurturing experience, made possible because of an advisor and faculty members who were active scholars, thoughtful pedagogues and caring mentors. It provided the best possible environment in which to foster and nurture a young scholar along the daunting steps of the Ph.D. I learnt much from them on how to be a professional academic and of the expectations that awaited me upon convocation. Faculty were generous, enthusiastic and open-minded with me and my work. Today, working in School of Fine Art and Music at the University of Guelph as an associate professor, I am proud to say I am one of three Ph.Ds from the Department of Art employed in the Art History unit. Few Art History departments in this country can boast its track record!

John Potvin, PhD, Queen's University Art History 2005

Now Professor of Art History, Concordia University


While completing my MA in Art History at Queen's, I worked as Assistant to the Chief Researcher Curator at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal - it was my experience at Queen's that helped me secure that position. I returned to Queen's for my PhD and had the opportunity to do primary research in Italy because of the Bader Travel Fellowship and even helped to teach the annual Venice Summer School while I completed my dissertation. As current Director of the School of Fine Art & Music  at the University of Guelph, I am part of a vast network of Queen's alumni in art history and visual culture who work all over the world. Queen's provided the foundation for all of the careers and that shared bond continues to nurture our professional relationships.

Sally Hickson, Queen's University Art History, 2003

Now Associate Professor of Art History, University of Guelph


Hear about the program from current students and recent graduates! 


Nenagh Hathway, Queen's Ph.D. student, documenting a Van Gogh painting with the Queen's Osiris infrared camera

Apply to the program:

Application Deadline: 10 January of each year
(Notification of admission is by mid-March) 

Master's in Art History at Queen's:

The M.A. in art history is a two-year research based program.
Learn more about the Master's Program in Art History.

Ph.D. in Art History at Queen's:

The Ph.D. in art history is a four-year program that requires course work, the demonstration of a reading knowledge of an appropriate second language, two field essays and a thesis.
Learn more about the Ph.D. Program in Art History.


I felt extremely well prepared for the market, and versed in the debates and critical theories of contemporary art practice and visual culture after graduating from Queen's." Kirsty Robertson, Ph.D. Queen's Art History 2006

(After earning her doctorate at Queen's, Dr. Robertson held a postdoctoral fellowship at Goldsmiths and since July 2007 has a tenure-track position in Museum Studies and Contemporary Art at the University of Western Ontario.)


Faculty Advising in Art History:

The graduate coordinator is available to answer questions and advise students on course selection, funding and scholarship opportunities. The graduate coordinator can also help a student identify an appropriate advisor.
Learn more about our professors and your advisors.


Students' Research:

The research activities of Queen's Art History M.A. and Ph.D. students reflect the broad range of their academic interests and their engagement with the current approaches to studying art history and visual culture.
Meet the students and learn more about current research projects.

The Department of Art has been awarding Master's degrees since 1983, and Doctoral degrees since 2000.

View the Art History alumni page here.


Graduate Student Life:

Every year the Graduate Visual Culture Association (GVCA) organizes a two-day conference to showcase the research of graduate students in the Visual Arts and related fields. The conference draws students from universities in Ontario and Quebec, as well as the north-eastern United States.
To learn more about this conference and student life, please click here. 


My experience in the doctoral programme in art history at Queen's University was entirely positive. The graduate seminars offered a broad spectrum of approaches to the discipline as well as an impressive selection of topics, which both complemented my research interests and widened the scope of my art historical knowledge. In both instances, I was grateful for the rich development of my own work and for the material this variety of courses provided, which has subsequently served me well in my teaching career.

While completing my dissertation at Queen's, I was hired full-time in the tenure-track position of Craft and Decorative Art Historian at Concordia University in Montreal. This position, dedicated to craft history, was among the first at a Canadian University. The education and academic mentoring I received in the doctoral programme at Queen's was instrumental in this professional accomplishment.

Elaine Cheasley Paterson, PhD, Queen's University Art History 2004


Image on right of lower block: Rembrandt, Head of an Old Man in a Cap, around 1630, oil on panel
​*Image on right of lower block: Rembrandt, Head of an Old Man in a Cap, around 1630, oil on panel. Gift of Alfred and Isabel Bader, 2003 (46-031). Image courtesy of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.