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PhD Art History

Prof Byan Wolf's Class "Rethinking American Art"

The doctoral program in the History of Art at Stanford is relatively small, affording graduate students the opportunity to work intensively with individual members of the faculty.

Program Overview

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is taken in a particular field, including Film & Media Studies, supported by a strong background in the general history of art. Doctoral candidates also undertake collateral studies in other graduate departments, or in one of the University's interdisciplinary programs. The Department of Art & Art History offers MA and PhD degrees, although the MA is only granted as a step toward fulfilling requirements for the PhD.

The Department does not admit students who wish to work only toward the MA degree.  However, Stanford undergraduates have the option to apply for a Coterminal MA in Art History.

Size of the Program

The Department admits approximately 4 to 7 students each year to the PhD program. 

Time to Completion

The PhD student's formal progress to degree is reviewed at the end of the second year (first year for those entering with an MA). By the end of the third year, a dissertation topic should be selected and a proposal written. After all course requirements are met and the proposal is approved, the student begins research and writing of the dissertation. The dissertation must be completed within five years from the date of the student's admission to candidacy for the PhD degree.

Financial Aid

Art History PhD students normally receive a financial support package covering five years of graduate study.  Funding sources include departmental fellowships, teaching assistantships and research assistantships. Additional funding covers summer language study as well as summer research.  Students manage an individual research and travel fund provided by the department.  Advanced students are encouraged to apply for outside grants and fellowships as well as for assistantships and other professionally valuable opportunities at Stanford's Cantor Arts Center, Anderson Collection and elsewhere on campus. Information on language study grants, pre-doctoral grants, and funds for special research and travel connected with the writing of the dissertation may be obtained from the Student Services Officer. Additional information about graduate financial aid, including a student budget and tuition calculator, is available at

More Information

PhD Admission
Degree Requirements
Campus Visit