Art History, PhD

College of Fine Arts

Program Description:

Degree Requirements

Also see the Ph.D. degree general requirements described in the Graduate Program section of this Catalog. Those admitted to the Ph.D. program without an M.A. in art history may be required to take additional graduate courses beyond the minimum Ph.D. requirement of 48 credit hours of course work; in all cases they must take and pass the M.A. Comprehensive Examination.

 Course Work 
A.A minimum of 48 credit hours of course work beyond the bachelor's degree, exclusive of dissertation:48 
 •   A maximum of 30 credit hours from the M.A. degree, if approved, may be counted toward the 48 credit hour requirement
 •   ARTH graduate courses in the concentration and graduate courses in supporting fields
 •   Minimum course work
 ARTH Dissertation18
B.Within the context of courses listed above: 
 A minimum of 18 credit hours of 500-level courses or above completed at the University of New Mexico 
 At least 18 credit hours completed in residence at the University 

Because of the specialized nature of the Doctoral degree in Art History, emphases at the Master’s level are concentrations at this level.

Ph.D. Concentrations:
19th and 20th Century Western Art History
Art of Colonial America – Art of the United States
Built Environment (see below for concentration specific requirements)
History of Architecture
History of Graphic Arts
History of Photography
Modern Latin America / Latino Art History
Native American Art History
Pre-Columbian Art History
Spanish Colonial Art History

The 18 credit hours in Art History graduate courses in the concentration and graduate course in supporting fields can be taken from the course listing under the Master’s section.

Time Limit to Complete Requirement

A doctoral candidate has five years for completion of all degree requirements from the date the student is formally Advanced to Candidacy by the Dean of Graduate Studies.

Students seeking the Ph.D. degree must demonstrate, beyond a general mastery of the discipline, comprehensive knowledge of their fields of study and the ability to conduct original research. Required course work outside the Department of Art and Art History are determined by the student’s particular needs and shall be undertaken only with the advice and approval of his/her Committee on Studies.

Committee on Studies

The doctoral program is governed by a system of mentorship. Students seeking the Ph.D. must form a Committee on Studies, in consultation with the proposed Chairperson of the Committee and the Department Director of Graduate Studies, and with the approval of the Department Chairperson, during their first semester in residency. Changes in membership are also made in this manner. Dissertation committees consists of at least four members approved for graduate instruction (normally regular, full-time University of New Mexico faculty appointments). The external committee member, must hold a regular, full-time faculty appointment outside the student’s unit/department at the University of New Mexico or another accredited institution. The fourth committee member may be a regular University of New Mexico faculty member or non-faculty expert in the student’s major research areas. The chairperson must be a regular University of New Mexico faculty member from the department, and the dissertation committee must be approved by the Department.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students admitted to the doctoral program with an M.A. from another institution must meet the following general requirements before advancing to candidacy: ARTH 500, and Spring Symposium (Spring semester) (see M.A. Degree Requirements). Doctoral students admitted with an M.A. in a field other than Art History must also pass the Department M.A. Comprehensive Examination. Advancement to Candidacy usually takes place during the semester in which the student completes the minimum of 18 credit hours of course work (500-level and above) beyond the M.A. In addition to those listed in the Graduate Programsection of this Catalog, the requirements for advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. are:

  1. Evidence of proficiency in at least two foreign languages appropriate to the student's area of concentration (see Department Graduate Advisor for methods of fulfilling this requirement).
  2. Successful completion of the Doctoral Comprehensive Examination, administered by the student's Committee on Studies; this written examination tests the student's comprehensive knowledge of the field of specialization.
  3. Fulfillment of residency requirements.
  4. Acceptance of dissertation proposal. A preliminary outline of the proposed dissertation subject and research must be approved by the student's Committee on Studies prior to beginning enrollment in Dissertation.

Dissertation and Defense

The dissertation demonstrates the student’s ability to undertake original research and to write a readable, scholarly argument of book length. The student is expected to have complete knowledge of the historical, critical, theoretical, and methodological issues raised by the subject. The student defends the dissertation in an oral examination administered by the Committee on Studies.

The student must notify Graduate Studies at least two weeks before the date of the dissertation defense on the forms available. Results of the defense are recorded on the reverse side of the final examination announcement form. The student is responsible for initiating the procedure and making sure that the original notice is sent to Graduate Studies.

Concentration in Built Environment

Admissions Committee

An admission committee formed of the Art History faculty and members of the School of Architecture and Planning review applications to this program.  Members of the committee meet after the application deadline to discuss and decide.  

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have earned an M.Arch., M.L.A., Master's in Planning, or M.A. in Art History, or equivalent as judged by the admissions committee. These degrees may provide up to 30 credit hours towards the PhD. The admissions committee may require additional courses and activities depending on the applicants’ previous education and experience.

Committee on Studies

In the first semester the student chooses a Committee on Studies that assist in course selection and act as advisors and evaluators of requirements to degree.  The committee consists of two Art History faculty (one of whom is the chair of the committee), and two School of Architecture and Planning faculty (one of whom acts as the Built Environment mentor responsible for advisement regarding that discipline).  All tenured, tenure-track, and Professors of Practice in Art History and the School of Architecture and Planning are eligible to serve on committees.

Course Work Requirements

  • 48 credit hours (minimum) are required, of which 24 must be completed at UNM.
  • 30 credit hours (maximum) from the M.A., M.Arch., M.L.A., or M. Planning degree may be counted towards the 48 credit hour requirement on approval.  A minimum of 6 credit hours of UNM graduate-level Art History or History of Architecture (offered by School of Architecture and Planning) are required to fullfill the residency requirement (if the master's degree was not granted by UNM or there were insufficient credit hours).
  • 14-15 credit hours in Art History graduate-level courses including ARTH 500 Philosophy and Methods of Art History, and 12 credit hours from Art History, School of Architecture and Planning History of Architecture courses, or other courses chosen in consultation with the student’s committee.
  • 4 credit hours in the School of Architecture and Planning including ARCH 619 Teaching Colloquium (1 credit hour), and a research course selected from ARCH/CRP/LA 590 History Research Methods, ARCH 551 Research Methodology, and CRP 513 Qualitative Research Methods (3 credit hours).

Admission Requirements:

In preparing an application for admission to the doctoral program, the potential candidate is urged to state aims clearly and to specify the field of art history to be investigated. A candidate is not accepted unless these aims fall within the scope of the University’s program and unless the Department believes these aims can be realized. Field work and travel are inevitably be necessary in support of research at the doctoral level.

Applicants for admission to the Ph.D. program should have an M.A. in art history or, in exceptional circumstances as approved by the admitting faculty, in such cognate disciplines as history, anthropology, archaeology, or American Studies. Those admitted to the Ph.D. program without an M.A. in art history may be required to take additional graduate courses beyond the minimum Ph.D. requirement of 48 credit hours of course work; in all cases they must take and pass the M.A. comprehensive examination.

As part of the application for admission to graduate study, the student must submit materials as follows:

1.  Application for Admission, Registration Information and application fee.
2.  Two sets of official transcripts from all institutions previously attended.
3.  Three Letters of Recommendation.
4.  Statement of Intent. A clearly written statement of intent describing in detail reasons for wishing admission. In evaluating this written statement, both its form and content are carefully considered. This statement, no more than three pages in length (typewritten), should include the following:

• the proposed field of concentration;
• a self-evaluation of current work;
• an account of any special experiences which might indicate a background in art more extensive than most students with a B.A. degree;
• a statement of goals while attending and after completing graduate study;
• reasons for choosing the University of New Mexico as a place for graduate study.

5.  Writing Sample. A recent example of creative scholarship in the form of an academic paper or article must be submitted for evaluation. This material is not returned unless accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

All items mentioned above should be mailed directly to the Graduate Office, Department of Art and Art History, MSC04 2560, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001.

Career Opportunities:

 “The art history program emphasizes the study of visual art as a means of understanding the intellectual and cultural history of humanity. The program provides a firm grounding in both western and non-western art history within the context of a liberal arts education. Undergraduate work covers the broad range of art history” (from UNM Art History website).  A bachelor's degree is the minimum formal education required. Some areas may require a graduate degree, or may assist employment in highly competitive areas. Art history is a broad degree that can lead to job opportunities in many diverse fields. Therefore, it is critical that students gain related experience and skills through internships, part-time work, or volunteering in their field.  Students develop wide-ranging skills in visual/data analysis, communication, human relations, and research/education. 

Contact Information:

Kat Heatherington: Academic Advisor
(505) 277-6672