Concordia's PhD in Art History is offered through the Interuniversity Doctoral Program in Art History, jointly administered by Concordia University, Université de Montréal, Université du Québec à Montréal and Université Laval. The program offers research and scholarship at the highest level, through training in empirical research, theoretical debate, and methodological inquiry. It encompasses the full spectrum of historical, modern, and contemporary periods, while also fostering critical and interdisciplinary modes of interpretation.
Within this interuniversity context, Concordia's Department of Art History has a reputation for its intellectually lively community of graduate students, who fully participate in the research profile and innovative teaching of the Department. Our faculty and graduate students actively contribute to fields such as:
The history of photography
Feminist traditions of art history
Inuit art history
Cross-cultural studies and globalization
Visual culture studies
Material culture history
New media studies
Anthropological approaches to art
The historiography of the discipline
Professional training is an integral part of Concordia's approach to doctoral studies. Students have the opportunity to work as teaching assistants, and beginning in their second or third year of study, may be invited to develop and teach courses in the Department of Art History’s undergraduate program.
To learn more about the Interuniversity Doctoral Program in Art History, and its specific configuration at Concordia, please visit the program website.
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).
Residency. The minimum required residency is three consecutive semesters.
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.
Admission Requirements. 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.
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.
Admission Procedures. The interuniversity admissions committee reviews all applications.
A letter of support from the applicant's proposed supervisor at Concordia University.
Letter of Intent (5-8 pages). The letter 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 and how the applicant's academic and professional background has prepared him/her to undertake the proposed research.
Sample of Writing (15-20 pages), usually a chapter from the applicant's MA thesis.
Priority will be given to those who apply within the official deadlines listed above. Some programs may continue to accept applications after these deadlines. For more information, please contact the department.
ARTH 809 Art History and Its Methodologies I (3 credits)
Students from across the interuniversity program explore the epistemological foundations of the discipline of art history in this required methodology seminar. The goal of this course is to investigate the tools and mechanisms that govern the practice of art and art history, placing them in their context of emergence and in relation to the students' own thesis projects. Methodological concerns are at the heart of this reflection on the state of the discipline. Note: Students who have received credit fro ARTH 800 may not take this course for credit.
ARTH 810 Art History and Its Methodologies II (3 credis) Prerequisite: ARTH 809.
Students from across the interuniversity program explore the epistemological foundations of the discipline of art history in this required methodology seminar. The goal of this course is to explore the tools and mechanisms that govern the practice of art and art history, placing them in their context of emergence and in relation to the students' own thesis projects. Methodological concerns are at the heart of this reflection on the state of the discipline. Note: Students who have received credit for ARTH 800 may not take this course for credit.
Block B Seminars: Art History and Its Object
B1: ARTH 801 Periods and Territories (3 credits) B2: ARTH 802 Classification - Genres, Artistic Disciplines (3 credits) B3: ARTH 803 Thematic Questions (3 credits) B4: ARTH 804 Writings on Art (3 credits) B5: ARTH 805 Critical Examination of Artistic Context (3 credits) B6: ARTH 806 Formal and Semantic Studies (3 credits)