Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree
The Direct Ph.D. student is required to be in continuous residence at the University of Delaware and pursue a full-time program of study for a minimum of one year (two connected semesters or consecutive spring and fall semesters).
A minimum of 36 credits of graduate course work is required, with at least 27 of these credits to be in Art History seminar courses and the other 9 to be selected from additional seminars, graduate lecture courses, or independent study courses, or a combination of these. In addition to the 36 credits of graduate course work, 3 credits of ARTH870 Master’s Paper and 9 Dissertation Credits are required.
The Department believes that students should be broadly conversant in the diverse geographic as well as chronological areas and the diverse methods of the discipline. Students are strongly advised to take courses that will prepare them for professional work in art history.
Students enrolled in the Direct Ph.D. Program must take at least one graduate seminar or graduate-level lecture course (600 or 800 level) in each of the following four time periods (if a course cuts across boundaries between time periods, it will count as one period only at the judgment of the faculty and in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies):
Before the year 1400
Students must take at least one course in three of the following five areas (if a course cuts across boundaries between areas, it will count as one area only at the judgment of the faculty and in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies):
Art of the Americas
Art of Islam
N.B. A single course may fulfill both a chronological and a geographical area distribution requirement.
At the beginning of each semester, all Department of Art History courses will be identified as satisfying the requirement in one (or none) of these areas. Students who wish to satisfy the distribution requirement with courses taken outside the Department of Art History must petition the Director of Graduate Studies in writing before enrolling in such a course, and must receive approval for the satisfaction of the distribution requirement by that course from the Director of Graduate Studies.
The Department of Art History considers the ability to read scholarly works in languages other than English essential. All graduate students entering the Ph.D. Program are required to have upon enrollment or to gain at the earliest possible moment the ability to read works in the history of art in two languages other than English, as approved by their faculty adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies and as appropriate to their course of study.
Expected course of study for the Direct Ph.D. Program:
Year 1: coursework; pass one language exam
Year 2: coursework (complete at least 27 credits + 3 cr. ARTH870); complete Master’s Paper
Year 3: complete coursework; pass second language exam; pass one of two Ph.D. exams
Year 4: pass second Ph.D. exam; submit dissertation proposal by February 1*; dissertation research
Year 5: dissertation research and writing
*Note: The fifth year of funding in the Direct Ph.D. Program is contingent upon completion of the dissertation proposal by February 1 of the fourth year and advancing to candidacy by the spring semester of the fourth year.
Upon the successful completion of 27 credits of coursework and 3 credits of ARTH870, a language exam, and the Master’s Paper, students will be awarded an M.A. degree.
The Master's Paper (research essay) is intended to be a concise demonstration of the student's ability to carry out independent research and present his or her findings in a systematic and professional manner. The Master’s Paper may be, indeed most commonly is, an amplification of a research paper initially undertaken as part of one of the regular seminars. It could also be developed as a separate project. The Master’s Paper should be approximately 25-35 typed pages of text (6,250-9,000 words), including notes and bibliography, and must be of excellent quality. The completed Master’s Paper should conform to the latest edition of
The Chicago Manual of Style.
The Master’s Paper topic should be such that it can be researched and written within a three- month period or less. In order to complete the Master’s Paper in a timely manner, each student should select a topic by the end of the second semester of graduate study, at the latest. It is the responsibility of the student to propose a topic to a member of the faculty, and to secure the agreement of that faculty member to serve as first reader/adviser for a Master’s Paper on that topic. It is also the student’s responsibility to secure the agreement of a second reader. At least one of the readers must be a member of the Department of Art History at the University of Delaware. After identifying a research topic and finding two qualified readers, a brief prospectus should be composed by the student and presented to the primary faculty adviser and, if she or he approves, to the Director of Graduate Studies. The student will be notified by the Director of Graduate Studies of the approval of his or her research topic and proposed readers, or may be asked to revise the topic or proposal or seek a different reader or readers.
The Master’s Paper must be submitted no later than February 1 and approved by a departmental committee no later than March 1 within the student’s second year of the program. Failure to meet these deadlines is an indication that a student is not making adequate and timely progress toward the degree. In order to be accepted as satisfying the requirement for the M.A. degree, the Master’s Paper must be evaluated and approved by a departmental committee of three members: the adviser, second reader, and the Director of Graduate Studies.
The Master’s Paper is circulated to faculty and discussed as part of the general review of the student’s work in the fourth semester. This review is intended to ensure that students are making satisfactory and timely progress toward the Ph.D. and to provide appropriate feedback to students.
Satisfactory and timely progress includes: passing at least one language exam by the third semester; completion of at least 27 hours of coursework and 3 hours of ARTH870 hours by the end of the fourth semester with the majority of grades being A- or higher; and acceptance of the Master’s Paper by March 1 of the second year in the program. Students who do not satisfy these requirements in a timely and satisfactory manner will be notified that they are eligible to receive the M.A. degree only.
All students in the Direct Ph.D. Program must advance to Candidacy by the end of their fourth year in order to remain eligible for funding from the University.
After consultation with the student, the Director of Graduate Studies will assign the student to a member of the faculty, normally someone familiar with the student’s area of special interest, who will serve as a temporary adviser. After having successfully completed all course requirements and foreign language examinations, the student will seek to secure the agreement of one member of the faculty to serve as her or his adviser for the remaining degree requirements, the comprehensive examinations, and the dissertation. The faculty adviser should be someone familiar with the general area in which the student intends to take the major field examination and to write the dissertation. It is the responsibility of the student to secure the faculty member’s agreement to serve. No faculty member is obligated to serve a student in this capacity. After an advisement agreement has been established between the student and a faculty member, the Director of Graduate Studies will be notified by both, and will thereafter assist both in the formation of committees for the comprehensive examinations and the dissertation.
(Approved by the University Graduate Studies Committee on March 11, 2005, and effective for all students entering the Ph.D. Program in Fall semester 2005 and after.)
The Ph.D. student is required to take the Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination (including both major and minor field examinations) no later than the end of the second week of the second semester following the completion of Ph.D. course work, but not before having completed Ph.D. course work and having satisfactorily completed the foreign language requirements. Successful completion of both parts of the comprehensive examination is required for admission to Doctoral Candidacy.
Both the major and minor field examinations are assessed as either passing or failing. An affirmative vote for a passing grade by a majority of the examiners is necessary for the examination to be considered passing. Should the student fail either the major field or the minor field examination, the student will be given an opportunity to take that portion only for a second time. (The part already passed need not be retaken.) The second attempt to pass the examination must be made not later than the end of the first semester after the first attempt to pass that portion. That is, for example, if an examination is failed at any point during the fall term, it must be taken again by the end of the following spring term. Failure to pass the examination on the second attempt will result in termination from the program effective at the end of that term. No third attempt will be permitted.
A student’s major and minor fields should be reasonably distinct from one another, separated by some combination of geography, time period, media, or other factors as appropriate. Definition of the major and minor fields, although proposed by the student, must have the approval of the primary faculty adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies.
Students should indicate their intention to take the comprehensive examination at least four weeks in advance, using a special form available in the office. The major and minor examination may be taken with a computer by arrangement with the Business Administrator in the Department.
A. Major Field
The major field exam comprises written and oral components, both administered by an examining committee. The members of this committee will be determined by the primary faculty adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies after consulting with the student. Typically, the examining committee will include the primary faculty adviser and two or three other members. At least two (of the total 3 or 4) must be faculty in the Art History Department or in another Department at the University of Delaware; one member of the committee should be a member of the Art History faculty who is not a specialist in the field being examined.
The written component of the exam is designed to test the student’s knowledge of the field (including works of art and significant themes and issues in the scholarship) and critical thinking. After consulting with the student the examining committee will define five to eight broad areas or themes that will guide preparation for the exam. Each area should encompass a broad segment of the field and command a substantial bibliography (e.g. the reception of antiquity in the Renaissance; nationalism in modern art; word and image in medieval art; portraiture and group portraiture in Dutch art; transcendentalism and American art). A bibliography usually containing 25 to 40 items (a mix of books and articles) for each theme will be prepared by the student and approved by the committee. The exam itself will consist of six questions designed by the examiners to engage the prepared areas. The student will be expected to answer three such questions within a period of six hours.
The oral component, a two-hour exam, will be held no more than one week after the written exam is completed. It may return to the questions posed in the written exam but is not restricted to them, and the student may be asked to relate particular works to themes addressed in the written exam.
B. Minor Field
The minor field examining committee will contain two members of the department faculty determined by the primary faculty adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies after consultation with the student. Students should have taken seminars in the area of the minor field as part of the preparation for the exam. Unlike major fields, minor fields may be defined in a variety of ways that may be distinct from the major fields. The scope of the minor field may be proposed by the student but must be approved by the primary faculty adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies.
The minor exam is designed to test the student's knowledge of the field (including works of art and significant themes and issues in the scholarship) and critical thinking. Three to five broad areas or themes will be defined by the examining committee after consulting with the student. A bibliography containing 10 to 15 items for each theme will be prepared by the student and approved by the committee. The exam itself will consist of two parts and last for five and one- half hours. The first part will contain six questions designed by the examiners to engage the prepared areas. The student will be expected to answer three questions within a period of three and one-half hours. In the second part of the exam, the student will have two hours to answer three of six questions based on specific works or groups of works which may be visual or textual.
Admission to Candidacy for the Ph.D. Degree (for students in the Direct Ph.D. Program)
Upon the recommendation of the student’s primary faculty adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies of the Department, a student may be admitted to Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree if he or she has (1) satisfactorily completed 36 credits of graduate course work, including two connected semesters of full-time graduate work, (2) demonstrated a reading knowledge of two languages other than English, (3) passed his or her Comprehensive Examination (both major field and minor field), and (4) had a dissertation proposal accepted by his or her primary faculty adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies. A student should request admission to Candidacy prior to the appropriate deadline announced by the Graduate College.
Ph.D. candidates are required to register for Ph.D. sustaining after the completion of all other degree requirements until the dissertation is submitted to the Graduate College. UNIV999 Doctoral Sustaining (0 credits) is used for this purpose. This registration is designed to ensure that the student is active until he or she completes the degree requirements.
Application for Ph.D. Degree
An application for the Ph.D. degree should be completed by the student and submitted to the Graduate College at the beginning of the term in which he or she expects to receive the degree, prior to the appropriate deadline announced by the Graduate College. The Application for Advanced Degree form can be obtained at the Graduate College, 234 Hullihen Hall.
Students can begin investigation on a dissertation topic at any time, but she or he can register for the 9 Dissertation Credits (ARTH969) only after having been admitted to Candidacy. The student can register for 9 credits of ARTH964 (Pre-Candidacy Research) during the semester when he or she is studying for the Comprehensive examination, but this will only be converted by the Graduate College to the required Dissertation Credits (ARTH969) if the student passes into Candidacy (as described above) either during that semester or by the last day of the free add-drop period of the following semester.
Students should confer with the primary faculty adviser and other faculty members, as appropriate, on the selection of a dissertation subject. If the subject appears to be suitable, the student will be invited to submit a dissertation proposal to his or her adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies. Such proposals are usually 5-10 pages in length, and include major bibliography for the topic. If approved by the adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies, the student will be notified. If not approved, the proposal may be either rejected, or returned for revision. If approved, the student should then notify the CAA of the topic of the dissertation and its approval (see Listing with CAA).
For the Ph.D. dissertation, there are at least, and usually, four readers: (1) the student's adviser, (2) a second reader chosen because of his or her familiarity with the subject, and (3) third and fourth readers. In addition, the dissertation must be approved by the Department Chair. If the Chair is one of the four readers, then three other readers will be a sufficient number. After consultation with the student, the committee for the Ph.D. dissertation and dissertation defense will be selected by the faculty adviser in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. The committee for the Ph.D. dissertation and dissertation defense will comprise at least, and usually, four members, of whom at least half will be faculty members of the University of Delaware, and at least one on the faculty of the Department of Art History. At least one member of the committee will be a specialist from outside the Department of Art History; this member may be from a different Department at the University of Delaware or from outside the University. It is understood that for purposes of serving on such committees, individuals who hold either a secondary appointment or an adjunct appointment in the Department of Art History will be considered to be members of the Department, regardless of their primary appointment elsewhere.
The adviser will work with the student to prepare the dissertation. Candidates should follow closely the regulations published by the Graduate College, as well as conform to the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. The second reader may be brought in toward the later phases of preparation, reading the dissertation when it is in its final form, or nearly so, depending on the wishes of the adviser and the second reader. It is advisable for the remaining readers and the Department Chair (or her or his designated representative) to read the penultimate copy of the dissertation before its final typing, in the event of possible minor errors, but they should normally not be expected to read copies that are not in final form nor free of obvious corrections. In order to be accepted as satisfying the requirement for the Ph.D. degree, the thesis must be approved by all readers, whose signatures on the thesis constitute the necessary approval. The dissertation must also be signed by the Chair of the Department, whose signature signifies approval on behalf of the Department.
Only after the Chair has signed the dissertation can it be submitted to the Graduate College. Two copies should be submitted to the Department and then, after approval, one will be forwarded to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The completed Ph.D. dissertation should conform to the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. The University of Delaware’s Thesis and Dissertation Manual is available online at:
https://grad.udel.edu/policies/step-by-step-guide-to-graduation/ or it may be purchased in the University Bookstore. The form of submission must follow University guidelines.
Oral Defense of the Dissertation
Upon completion of the dissertation, a Ph.D. final oral examination must be passed, consisting of a defense of the dissertation and a test of the candidate’s mastery of the area in which the dissertation was written. Candidates should deliver the completed work to the Department office and to examiners at a date mutually agreed upon to assure adequate time for review. That oral dissertation defense must take place not less than one week before the deadline date established by the Graduate College for the submission of dissertations.
Normally, the oral defense of a dissertation is based on the dissertation draft approved by the adviser. All readers of the dissertation will participate in the oral dissertation defense. The defense, moreover, will be open to all members of the Department or to any other interested person, although only members of the candidate’s committee will be permitted to pose questions or make any statements. The examination will normally last approximately two hours.
The dissertation may be approved conditionally at the final defense, subject to required corrections being made by the candidate. If corrections or changes are suggested at the final defense, and if the committee approves them, the adviser will check to see that the changes have been made in the final copies submitted by the candidate.
Listing with College Art Association
Every year the Art History Departmental office requests information from Ph.D. candidates and submits the following information to the College Art Association office: (1) approved dissertation topics; (2) changed dissertation topics, if applicable; and (3) dissertations accepted. This information will be published annually by the CAA in the June issue of
The Art Bulletin.