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Degree Types: PhD
The Department of Art History offers a full-time doctoral program that is designed to prepare our graduates for professional lives as art historians and theorists of visual and spatial cultures. Coursework is for students with a solid undergraduate grounding in the field, and moves from a general, introduction to the methods and philosophies of the discipline to a more specific exploration of the student's chosen field. Graduates are primarily trained for teaching careers, but many alumni have had considerable success in the museum field.
The faculty is renowned for its forward-looking, often transregional scholarship, with particular strengths in Black Visual Culture in the United States and African Diaspora; Modern and Contemporary art and architecture across the globe; Middle Eastern and North African art and visual culture; and European art and architecture from the early modern period through the 19th-century.
The department's comparative and transdisciplinary orientation offers ample opportunity for innovative research, which is amplified by programs and clusters across the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (WCAS) and within The Graduate School (TGS). Students in this program are encouraged to participate in TGS’s Interdisciplinary Cluster Initiative program.
Our highly ranked program is designed to make the most of our local resources, from courses at neighboring universities to holdings in Chicagoland libraries including the Newberry and Ryerson Libraries. The Chicago Objects Study Initiative, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, brings together scholars from Northwestern, the University of Chicago, and the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) via shared programming that includes first-year graduate student coursework, internships and fellowships, and symposia open to a wider Chicago audience. Graduate students also garner experience working within departments at other local museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Northwestern’s own Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art.
The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide.
There is no terminal MA in the Department of Art History. The MA is awarded to all students who successfully complete the first and second year requirements in good standing and apply for the degree with The Graduate School. All students entering the program, whether with or without a master’s degree from another institution, are required to complete the qualifying paper at the end of their second year to verify their readiness to complete major and minor doctoral field requirements.
Students are expected to take courses with a wide range of faculty members. Students must take 8 courses the primary field, and 4 courses in 3 major fields other than the student's own major field. Two of these courses must be in a geographic area that is different from the student's primary field. 300-level courses approved by The Graduate School may be taken with permission of the graduate advisor and instructor.
Total Required Graded Courses: 18
|ART_HIST 401-1||Methods and Historiography of Art History (Proseminar)|
|ART_HIST 403-0||Objects and Material Seminar|
|ART_HIST 405-0||Art Historical Research (Summer Seminar Abroad)|
|Other courses in primary field and to fulfill breadth requirements (8 units)|
|Courses in primary field and to fulfill breadth requirements; or independent studies as approved by advisor (at least 9 units)|
|ART_HIST 406-0||Dissertation Prospectus (Prospectus)|
|ART_HIST 499-0||Independent Study (in preparation for the Qualifying Exam, over the 3rd year, students register for 1 credit with each field examiner, and typically also register for 1-2 addition credits with the dissertation advisor)|
|Other courses in primary field and to fulfill breadth requirements (as necessary)|
|See PhD Degree Requirements below|