Expand your advanced training in the study of art history as you critically address recent developments in areas as varied as feminism and gender studies, postcolonial theory, cultural studies, and socio-political analysis. Benefit from unparalleled access to Montreal’s cultural institutions, as well as a research network that spans four universities in the greater Montreal area.
The PhD in Art History is a bilingual interuniversity program that is jointly administered by Concordia University, Université de Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal and Université Laval. With more than 50 research-active faculty members to work under and exceptional inter-library resources, you will undertake rigorous methodological and theoretical training to cover the historical, modern and contemporary periods.
Join a dynamic cohort of students that enjoy great success as researchers. Our commitment to fostering critical and interdisciplinary modes of interpretation has led many students to publish in a variety of distinguished periodicals, including:
Cahiers métiers d’art – Craft Journal
Journal of Eastern Townships Studies
Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada
Revue du Bibliotèque et Archives nationales du Québec
Journal of Modern Craft
Textile: Journal of Cloth and Culture
Opportunities for professional development are also available to complement your innovative research projects. By taking advantage of occasions to develop and teach undergraduate courses, work on museum projects, edit journals, and organize conferences, our alumni have gone on to establish successful professional careers within and outside of academia.
Those applying for either full-time or part-time admission must possess a Master of Arts degree or its equivalent in Art History. Applications must include a thesis research project accompanied by a letter of support from the proposed supervisor in the department. Prospective students should therefore contact individual professors, or the Graduate Program Director, to find the right supervisor for their doctoral research project.
Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.
Language Requirements. Since this is a bilingual program, applicants must demonstrate a level of competence that would allow them to read and to follow lectures and discussions in both English and French. The ability to speak and write with facility in both languages is not required; students may participate in discussion, and may write reports, examinations and theses in English or French, as they choose.
Credits. A fully qualified candidate entering the program with a Master’s/Magisteriate degree is required to complete 90 credits. These are apportioned as follows: courses and seminars, 12 credits; research tutorial, 6 credits; doctoral forum, 3 credits; comprehensive examinations, 9 credits; and thesis, 60 credits.
Typical progress for a full-time student in the program would consist of:
First Year: Block A seminar (6 credits), one seminar from Block B (3 credits), one elective seminar, approved by advisor (3 credits), research tutorial (6 credits).
Second Year: Comprehensive examinations (before fifth semester) (9 credits), doctoral forum (3 credits).
Third Year: Thesis (60 credits).
Courses. The courses offered through the inter-university program are open to all students, regardless of the university at which they are enrolled. All students must take the Block A seminar (Art History and its Methodologies), one Block B seminar selected from one of six thematic categories under the general heading Art History and its Object, and either another Block B seminar or a graduate seminar offered by one of the four universities and approved by the thesis supervisor.
Comprehensive Examinations (ARTH 808). Before the fifth semester each full-time student must successfully complete one oral and two written examinations, which are evaluated by the three professors constituting the student’s thesis committee. These examinations are based on a pre-established list of readings focused on the theoretical and methodological issues which inform the student’s specific area of research. The exams are intended to verify whether the student is sufficiently prepared to undertake the writing of a thesis. Students who fail these examinations must take them a second time during the following semester. Those failing the second attempt will be withdrawn from the program.
Research Tutorial (ARTH 820). This tutorial is directed by the thesis advisor and is oriented to the student’s thesis topic. Its objective is to allow the student to articulate a detailed research project, define its corpus, and develop its theoretical and methodological hypotheses with a view to obtaining the approval of the thesis committee. This project, including an activity calendar, must be submitted at the end of the student’s first year. Students should register once work is completed and a grade has been assigned.
Doctoral Forum (ARTH 807). In the interests of promoting the development of an intellectual community within the program, a forum consisting of professors from the program and students engaged in their course work will be invited to present their ongoing research. The forum will be held once each semester during the academic year. Each student, at some point in his/her coursework, must give a paper based on his/her thesis research. This paper will be evaluated by a committee consisting of three professors and accorded a pass or fail grade.
Thesis (ARTH 830). The doctoral candidate must submit a thesis which makes an important and original contribution to knowledge in Art History. The thesis is defended orally before a committee composed of five individuals: the thesis advisor, the two other members of the thesis committee, one examiner from a department or program within the university other than the candidate’s, and one external examiner from outside the four universities.
A letter of support from the applicant's proposed supervisor at Concordia University
Statement of purpose (5-8 pages) should discuss why the applicant has chosen to pursue a Doctorate in Art History at Concordia University. Like a detailed research proposal, the letter should indicate the project that the applicant aims to develop, the contribution to scholarship it will make, and how the applicant's academic and professional background has prepared him/her to undertake the proposed research.
A writing sample (15-20 pages), usually a chapter from the applicant's MA thesis
Transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended
The Department of Art History is home to the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canada Art, and houses the Journal of Canadian Art History, and the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative, Graduate students benefit from these academically-rich environments and, through the Faculty’s Visual Collections Repository, have access to 300,000 circulating slides and digital images that range from the pre-historic to the contemporary.
Our program offers a uniquely bilingual seminar environment and enables students to develop a cross-cultural awareness of different art historical traditions and approaches.
Students must be able to participate in a bilingual seminar environment. This requires strong comprehension of both written and oral French and English, and superior communication skills in one of the two languages. Knowledge of a third language may be required if the supervisor regards it as necessary to the proposed research.
Our alumni find success in a wide range of professional art careers. Graduates pursue careers in museums, galleries, and artist-run centres, arts writing and criticism and university and college teaching.