art-history

The Department of Art History offers programs leading to the master of arts and the doctor of philosophy in art history. Our faculty includes specialists in, to name a few: African and African Diaspora art; American art and architecture; American material culture; contemporary art and theory; Chinese art; curatorial studies; early modern European art; Islamic art and architecture; Japanese art; Medieval European art; print culture; photography, film, and video; vernacular architecture; Victorian art and material culture; and visual studies and critical theory. The department encourages the study of the global history of art, and material and visual culture while investigating works in all media from a wide range of periods and a variety of world cultures.

Students enjoy close interaction with their mentors and profit from superb resources for interdisciplinary research. Faculty members have international reputations in their specialties, regularly receive prestigious awards, lecture widely, and serve on major professional boards. Graduates of the department teach at the postsecondary level or pursue careers in museum and curatorial professions, private galleries and auction houses, library or archival work, architecture and historical preservation, and conservation.

The department is housed in the Conrad A. Elvehjem Building with the Chazen Museum of Art, which has a broad historical collection with several areas of particular strength, an active acquisitions program, and facilities to host major traveling exhibitions and exhibition courses. Graduate students use these collections for research and publishing projects. They may also have the opportunity to work on exhibitions in special classes or as project assistants. The building is also home to the Kohler Art Library, which contains an excellent collection of published materials and full range of periodicals. The department possesses a large image collection and access to ArtStor.

While students may pursue a stand-alone M.A., those who wish to pursue a Ph.D. should apply directly to that program. Admission to either program is offered to applicants who have an outstanding undergraduate record of academic achievement.  The successful applicant typically presents both a compelling statement of purpose for graduate studies and an advanced research paper.  To be considered for admission, applicants must have taken the GRE recently (within five years of their application deadline).  To be competitive in some subfields, applicants should have training in at least one foreign language. Applicants are encouraged to contact prospective faculty advisors for more details. Non-native English speakers must present TOEFL or IELTS scores.

Graduate School Admissions

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic degree programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet requirements of both the program(s) and the Graduate School. Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.  

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and processes related to funding.

Program Resources

Financial aid is normally reserved for students in the Ph.D. program. The department awards a small number of fellowships for an academic year or a semester’s support at different stages in the graduate career. The department awards the Margaret Davison Shorger Fellowship for the study of Italian art, the Charles C. Killin Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in East Asian Art, and the Chipstone/James Watrous Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in American Material Culture. Research travel is also supported by the Shirley L and Dr. William Fritz Mueller Art History Graduate Student Fund and the Ray Reider Golden Art History Fund, and the Joan Mirviss Fund for Japanese art. The department awards travel grants for students delivering papers at major conferences and annually appoints five to six graduate students as teaching or project assistants. Individual faculty may also offer one- or two-semester project assistantships in connection with specific research projects. In addition, the department nominates candidates for fellowships administered outside the department and the university.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements 

MODE OF INSTRUCTION

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

CURRICULAR REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (26 credits out of 51 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements No other grade requirements.
Assessments and Examinations Doctoral students must submit a dissertation prospectus.

Doctoral students must pass a written and an oral exam prior to becoming dissertators.
Language Requirements Reading competency in at least two languages (additional language requirements may pertain to some fields).
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements All doctoral students are required to complete a minor.

Required Courses

Coursework
ART HIST 701 Practicum in Art History: Bibliography, Historiography, Methods3
10 art history classes, four of which may be lecture courses, but students are strongly encouraged to take as many seminars as possible. In special circumstances up to two independent studies (ART HIST 799) - one at the MA and one at the Ph.D. level-may be substituted for lecture courses
Breadth
At least one course in two of the following five following areas:
Cross-Cultural/Diaspora
Africa/Middle East
Asia
Europe
The Americas
At least one course in two of the following four following periods:
Ancient to Medieval
Early Modern (Circa 1400–Circa 1800)
Modern (Circa 1800–Circa 1945)
Contemporary (Post 1945)
Language
Two foreign languages. If you satisfied language requirements at the M.A. level within the past 5 years these languages count toward your two required languages.

Named Options (Sub-Majors)

A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral. 

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Graduate Program Handbook

A Graduate Program Handbook containing all of the program's policies and requirements is forthcoming from the program.

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 21 credits of graduate work from other institutions. Coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to the doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

Allowed up to 7 credits numbered 700 or above, and graduate level courses ART HIST 601 Introduction to Museum Studies IART HIST 602 Introduction to Museum Studies II, and ART HIST/​HISTORY/​JOURN/​L I S  650 History of Books and Print Culture in Europe and North America .

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count up to 15 credits of coursework numbered 600 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a master's degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Probation

A semester GPA below 3.0 will result in the student being placed on academic probation. If a semester GPA of 3.0 is not attained during the subsequent semester of full time enrollment (or 12 credits of enrollment if enrolled part-time) the student may be dismissed from the program or allowed to continue for one additional semester based on advisor appeal to the Graduate School.

ADVISOR / COMMITTEE

All students are required to conduct a yearly progress report meeting with their thesis committee after passing the Preliminary Examination.

CREDITS PER TERM ALLOWED

12 credits

Time Constraints

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may be required to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Other

Priority for assistantship funding is given to Ph.D. students.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

1. Shows professional-level mastery of the skills acquired at earlier stages (visual analysis, contextual interpretation, research methods, evaluation of arguments, application of varied theoretical perspectives).

2. Articulates research problems, potentials, and limits with respect to theory, knowledge, or practice within the field of art history (including visual culture and material culture).

3. Formulates ideas, concepts, designs, and/or techniques beyond the current boundaries of knowledge within the field of art history/visual culture/material culture.

4. Conducts research and produces scholarship that makes a substantive contribution to the field and to interdisciplinary enquiry.

5. Demonstrates breadth within their learning experiences.

6. Shows advanced skills in effective and impactful communication in both written and oral form in ways that acknowledge diverse audiences in an increasingly global society.

7. Fosters ethical and professional conduct.

8. Prepares to be an educator who uses the latest pedagogies such that one can compellingly and thoroughly teach, motivate, and shape the next generation of global citizens in the arts and sciences with a focus on the visual.

9. Foster skills in public engagement such that our students are able to effectively communicate complex ideas about art, visual culture and material culture to a lay public in written, oral, and digital form in keeping with the Wisconsin Idea.

10. Is able to prompt and participate in interdisciplinary dialogue with scholars and the public about the power of images and objects both historically and in the present‚ to persuade, critique, and even coerce.

Faculty: Professors Andrzejewski (Chair), Cahill, Casid, Chopra, Dale, Drewal, Marshall, Martin, and Phillips; Associate Professors McClure and Phillips-Court; Assistant Professors Brisman, Li, and Pruitt