George Washington by Hiram Powers

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Art History PhD Degree Requirements

Language Requirements

All doctoral students are required to demonstrate a knowledge of French, German, Italian, or Spanish, or of Chinese or Japanese where appropriate; to demonstrate a research capability in a second language appropriate to the student’s area of study as determined by the faculty advisor; and to demonstrate a knowledge of any further languages judged necessary by the advisor.

All PhD candidates are required to demonstrate knowledge of two languages to be determined in consultation with the faculty adviser or supervisor, and a knowledge of any further languages judged necessary by the faculty. As a general rule, TA/teaching assistant appointments will not be awarded to students who have not yet passed a language exam. Language requirements may be satisfied by passing departmental graduate proficiency examinations in the relevant languages or by completing the third quarter of the second year of the appropriate languages as a graduate student at the University of Washington with a minimum grade of 3.2 for Western languages. For Asian languages the requirement may be satisfied by passing the third quarter of the third year of classes in the relevant languages with a minimum grade of 3.0. The first two examinations should be passed before the conclusion of the first year in residence in this program; students failing to do so will be expected to limit their art history coursework and concentrate on language training until these examinations are successfully completed. All language examinations shall be passed before the student begins work on the General Exam.

Course Requirements

Minimum of 90 credits, as follows:

  • A minimum of 60 credits of art history in numerically graded courses numbered 500 and above, beyond the MA. Of these 60, at least 30 credits must be in graduate-level art history or approved non-art history seminars.
  • A maximum of 20 credits in related fields (in numerically graded upper division courses) may be approved for credits in place of art history courses.
  • A minimum of 10 credits must be taken in an area other than areas to be tested by the General Examination.
  • Finally, at least 30 dissertation credits must be taken.

The program for the PhD degree in art history requires a minimum of 90 credits. Of these, a minimum of 60 credits in art history must be in numerically graded courses numbered 500 and above, beyond the Master of Arts degree and exclusive of dissertation credits. A maximum of 20 credits in related fields, in numerically graded upper-division courses, may be approved for credit in place of art history courses. (Note: Art History topics courses numbered in the 520s do not count as seminars.) A minimum of 10 credits must be taken in an area other than the ones tested by the General Examination (see below). At least 30 credits must be in 500-level art history seminars or approved non-art history seminars. ART H 501 (TA seminar, 5 credits) may be counted once toward the degree as a course credit but not as a seminar credit. Numerical grades must be received in at least 18 quarter credits of coursework taken at the University of Washington in 500-level courses taken within the major or in any 500-level courses; this requirement is considered fulfilled if already satisfied during the student’s Master of Arts program. Finally, at least 30 dissertation credits must be taken in ART H 800.

Scholarship + Satisfactory Progress Requirements

To be eligible for a degree in the Graduate School, a student must have an average of B (3.00) in numerically graded courses numbered 400 and above and comply with other Graduate School performance guidelines. Read complete list of Graduate School doctoral degree requirements. Students will receive annual evaluations of their work from the faculty as part of their progress towards the degree.

Admission to the Graduate School allows students to continue graduate study and research at the University of Washington only as long as they maintain satisfactory performance and progress toward completion of their graduate degree program. For more information, read Memo 16: Unsatisfactory Performance and Progress.

Residency, Registration + Time Limitation

To maintain graduate status, a student must either be enrolled full or part time or in an official on-leave status until completion of the Final Examination/dissertation and awarding of the degree. The student must be registered the quarter the degree is conferred. Of the 90 credits required for the Ph.D. degree, 60 must be completed at the University of Washington. All work for the doctoral degree, including the dissertation itself, must be completed within ten years. This includes quarters spent on leave as well as applicable work from a UW Master's degree or a Master's degree from another institution. A doctoral student must petition the Graduate School for additional time that exceeds the ten-year rule.

Supervisory Committee + General Examination

A General Examination, written and oral, will be taken when in the opinion of the student’s supervisory committee the student is deemed ready. The fields to be covered will be determined in accordance with the student’s research areas and the faculty’s supervisory capabilities.

As soon as it is appropriate, but not later than four months prior to the time the warrant (application) for the oral component of the General Examination is presented for approval to the Dean of the Graduate School, the Director of Graduate Studies (Graduate Program Coordinator) in consultation with the student and the student’s faculty advisor will appoint a Supervisory Committee to assume general sponsorship of the graduate student. The Supervisory Committee must include two current members of the Art History faculty, including the chair, and a representative of the Graduate School. GSR/Graduate School representatives (who must be outside the Art History Division and a member of the graduate faculty) are selected by the student in consultation with the committee chair and the Director of Graduate Studies. A General Examination, written and oral, will be taken when in the opinion of the Supervisory Committee the student’s background is sufficient to justify its undertaking. A warrant for the General Examination must be presented to the Graduate School at least three weeks prior to the oral examination. This examination covers three specific fields of art history chosen from the following general areas: 1) Indigenous, 2) South Asian, 3) East Asian, 4) Ancient, 5) Medieval, 6) Renaissance, 7) Baroque and 18th century, 8) Modern, 9) Contemporary. No more than two fields may be selected from the same area. For example, in the Ancient area a student might select Greek and Roman art as two of the fields; the third would have to be selected from another area. The fields to be covered will be determined in accordance with the student’s interests and the faculty’s supervisory capabilities. The format of the examination will be determined by the Supervisory Committee in consultation with the student. It is recommended that the examination in each field shall include at least one question in breadth (covering aspects of the field as a whole) and one question in depth. The chair of the Supervisory Committee shall keep written records concerning any formal agreements or stipulations regarding the student’s program of study and General Examination. The chair of the Supervisory Committee will supervise both the General Examination and the dissertation. Read Graduate School policies regarding supervisory committees.

General Examination: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Performance

In accordance with the Graduate School doctoral dissertation policies, a student must satisfactorily pass all qualifying examination questions in order to proceed to the next level of the PhD program. The supervisory committee may allow minor deficiencies to be corrected and decide what course of action to recommend to the Dean in case of poor performance. If a student fails one or more of these exams, s/he will be placed on probation, but permitted the opportunity to constitute a new committee and take a new set of exams. These would occur after an appropriate time for additional study, as agreed upon by the student’s advisor and committee in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of Art History. The student would be bound by the schedule and terms stipulated by the supervisory committee, and would ordinarily be expected to complete the new exams during the next quarter of enrollment. Specific dates and conditions for completion would be issued once the enrollment period is confirmed. Students are only permitted to retake exams one time. If a student fails these new exams, s/he will not be allowed to continue in the Art History Program. Read Graduate School policies for general examinations and their memo about unsatisfactory performance and progress.

Candidacy

Following successful completion of the General Examination, and after all Graduate School requirements for the degree except the dissertation and Final Examination have been satisfied, the student will be admitted to formal candidacy for the doctoral degree.

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