Department Handbook

Last updated: October 5, 2015

Click here for the Department Handbook for entering classes prior to Fall 2007

Table of Contents

Graduate Program

1. Getting Started
1.1 Advising and Registration
1.2 Time Schedules
1.3 Departmental Communication
1.4 Residency Status
1.5 Pro Forma Status and Leaves of Absence
1.6 Tracks
1.7 Fields
1.8 Faculty Advisor
1.9 List of Departmental Requirements
1.10 Charting the Program
1.11 Foreign Languages
1.12 Which Languages?
1.13 Supplemental Language Contract
1.14 Pre-first Year Summer Language Study
1.15 How to Meet the Language Requirement
1.16 Course Credit for Language Courses
1.17 Required Number of Courses and Distribution
1.18 Methodology (ARTH 40100), Historiography (ARTH 49900), Proseminar (ARTH 40200)
1.19 COSI Objects & Materials seminar
1.20 Types of Courses within the Department
1.21 Two-quarter Course Sequences
1.22 Research Courses
1.23 Courses outside of the Department
1.24 Taking or Auditing Additional Courses
1.25 Courses outside the University
1.26 Advanced Studies course
1.27 Defining the Major Field
1.28 Defining the Minor Field
1.29 Distribution Requirements for Students Concentrating in a Field of Western Art
1.30 Distribution Requirements for Students Concentrating in a "Non-Western" Field
1.31 Qualifying Paper
1.32 Summer Stipend Holders
1.33 Summer Reading Lists for First and Second Summers
1.34 Grades
1.35 Exceptions and Petitions
1.36 Incompletes
1.37 Department Policy on Working during Full Fellowship Years
1.38 M.A. Degree
1.39 Students Entering with an M.A. from Another Art History Program
1.40 Form of the Preliminary Ph.D. Exam
1.41 Content and Scope
1.42 The Need for Breadth and Diversity in Defining Areas
1.43 How to Select a Committee and Define the Areas of Concentration
1.44 Evaluation and Grading
1.45 The Preliminary Exam Reading Course
1.46 How Long Should You Prepare for the Exam?
1.47 Defining the Dissertation Topic
1.48 Dissertation Proposal Workshop (ARTH 50200)
1.49 Pre-dissertation Grants
1.50 The Dissertation Committee
1.51 The Proposal
1.52 Admission to Candidacy
1.53 Applying for Dissertation Research Grants
1.54 Departmental Nominations
1.55 Departmental Grant Opportunities
1.56 Writing the Dissertation
1.57 Help for Dissertation Writers, including Workshops
1.58 Dissertation Write-Up Grants
1.59 Time Limitations on the Ph.D. Program
1.60 Scheduling the Defense
1.61 The Defense
1.62 Annual Dissertation Prize
1.63 Final Copies
1.64 Proquest
1.65 Illustrations and Copyrights
1.66 Graduation

Grant Opportunities

2. Scouting out Grants


3. Why and When to Teach
3.1 Teaching Inside the Department
3.2 Course Assistantships
3.3 Writing Internships
3.4 Lecturerships
3.5 BA Preceptorships
3.6 Teaching Fellowships in the College for 200-level Lectureships
3.7 Art History Department Teaching Colloquium
3.8 Center for Teaching and Learning
3.9 College Writing Program
3.10 Teaching Opportunities in Other Units of the University
3.11 Chicago-Area Art History Positions

Museum, Internship Opportunities

4. Positions at the Smart Museum
4.1 Rhoades Internship and Curatorial Course

Career and Placement Services

5. Career Advancement

University Resources for Students Needing Special Accommodation or Assistance

6. Counseling Center
6.1 Disability Services
6.2 Other Emergencies

Graduate Program

1. Getting Started: Your first year of graduate work may be a bit overwhelming. Getting used to a new place, to the rigors of graduate school, and (for some) to the fast pace of the quarter system is all very demanding. Take time before school begins to absorb the information below, which is designed to walk you through the Ph.D. program and its requirements. Once you arrive on campus, you can ask for help with matters you don't understand from the faculty member serving as Director of Graduate Studies and from the Department Coordinator.

1.1 Advising and Registration: In late summer, you will receive information from the Department Coordinator concerning course offerings and online registration procedures to help you begin planning your program of study for the first year. Beginning on the Monday of the week before the fall quarter starts, you'll be invited to attend various social and practical orientation meetings organized by the Department. At that time, you'll also meet individually with the Director of Graduate Studies, who is responsible for answering your questions about the program requirements and guiding you through the program. The Department Assistant will send you a program of study worksheet, which you should bring to your meeting with the DGS where you will make a tentative plan of your first year's course of study, in order to be sure that you'll meet all the distribution requirements.

You will repeat this process of advisement and registration before each quarter of coursework. You may also wish to consult with individual faculty members regarding their courses or your course selections. You are able to add and drop courses freely until the third week of the quarter. Courses dropped after the third week will remain on your transcript and will be graded with a “W,” indicating that you have withdrawn.

1.2 Time Schedules: The Time Schedules, found at, are the most up-to-date listing of course meeting times and locations. Course descriptions are available on the department website,

1.3 Departmental Communication: Official departmental announcements and important deadlines are posted on our department email listserves, and you will be added to these listserves the summer before you begin the program. Additionally, information regarding events, deadlines, and other department business can be found on our internal web calendar. It is important that you check your email regularly and respond to messages from staff and faculty in a timely manner.

1.4 Residence Status: Students must be registered in one of the University's two residence statuses: scholastic or advanced residence. Please see for more information on the residence system.

Tuition and fees are determined by residence status. Full-time students (i.e. Scholastic and Advanced) may enroll in courses as approved by the Department. Check with the Dean of Students regarding residence status policies.

1.5 Pro Forma Status and Leaves of Absence: Pro Forma registration is a limited privilege granted for a maximum of six quarters and designed to provide full-time status to doctoral students who must reside a substantial distance from Chicago, usually abroad, to conduct preparatory field research, archival research, or data collection required for completion of the dissertation. Pro Forma is a full-time registration status and it counts as a regular year in determining a student’s number of years in residence in the program. Students apply for Pro Forma status by completing an Application for Pro Forma and an Absentee Student Information Sheet, both available from the Dean of Students Office. For more information, please see

Leaves of absence may be granted to help students with difficult personal circumstances or medical conditions, including childbirth, or to allow them to take advantage of opportunities for intellectual development elsewhere. Leaves of absence should not be considered for reasons of convenience or leisure. The amount of time that can be taken depends partly on your residence status and partly on the reason for the leave. Talk to the Director of Graduate Studies, Department Coordinator, and Dean of Students about your situation. Applications for a leave of absence should be submitted to the Dean of Students. Once a student enters Advanced Residence, leaves will be granted only for medical emergencies. Approval of the Dean of Students is required. For more information, please see

1.6 Tracks: The Department has two tracks, or schedules of deadlines for meeting requirements. The basic requirements for the Ph.D. degree are the same for both tracks; Track II allows students to pace their courses differently because of their need to study foreign languages.

Track I will serve many students, including all those specializing in the study of modern Western Europe and North America. Track II is for those students who must begin one or more non-modern or non-Western European languages during their coursework. They take these language classes as part of a normal three-course load per quarter. Because the three quarters of an introductory language sequence cannot count toward graduate course credit, this will push the student's completion of coursework into the third year, when three additional courses must be taken to make up for the language sequence. The qualifying paper must be completed at the same time as for Track I students. Intermediate- or higher-level language courses in non-modern/non-Western European languages will count as graduate classes (see 1.16).

1.7 Fields: While most basic requirements hold across all of the different fields of study in the Department (for a description of these fields, see 1.27), there are different distribution requirements between those designated "Western" and "non-Western" (African, East Asian, Islamic, and Latin American). Thus, it is important that you identify as early as possible the field in which you intend to concentrate your work.

1.8 Faculty Advisor: All entering students should identify a faculty advisor in their primary area of interest as early as possible and consult with that person about their program of study, minor area, and languages needed for their projects. It is understood that occasionally students may change advisors later in their studies. In winter quarter of their second year at the latest, students need to determine a primary advisor. Students should consult as needed with, and notify, the Director of Graduate Studies. For spring quarter of their second year, students enroll in a preliminary exams reading course with their advisor.

1.9 List of Departmental Requirements:

  • Eighteen courses, including Methodology, Historiography, a preliminary reading course, and at least seven other Art History courses (for students entering in 2014, Methodology and Historiography are consolidated into one course, ARTH 40200 Art History Proseminar. These students must also enroll in the COSI Objects & Materials seminar.
  • One qualifying paper, approved by two readers, for which most students will enroll in two reading courses, one of which may be with a second reader, who may be outside Art History
  • Foreign language proficiency as outlined in sections 1.11–1.16
  • Completion of the Teaching Colloquium (ARTH 50100) in the fall of the third year (see 3.7)
  • Completion of the Dissertation Proposal Workshop (ARTH 50200) typically in the spring of the third year (see 1.47)
  • Preliminary exams passed
  • Dissertation proposal approved by three readers
  • Dissertation approved by three readers
  • Dissertation defense approved by those committee members present and the Chair

1.10 Charting the Program:

Year 1Fall3 courses, including Methodology seminar (or Proseminar for students beginning fall 2014)Orientation Week: Register for language exam and courses, including Methodology.
Registration can be changed up until the end of Week 3 without fee (same schedule holds for every following quarter)
Week 7: Advising meetings for winter registration
Week 8: Registration
Winter3 courses, including COSI Objects & Materials seminar for students beginning fall 2014)Week 7: Advising meetings for spring registration
Week 8: Register for courses, including language course if language exam was not passed.
Spring3 courses 
SummerLanguage study and reading lists 
Year 2Fall3 courses including Qualifying Paper Course IWeek 1: Register for foreign language exams as needed.
Week 1 or 2: Meet with faculty advisor to discuss summer reading.
Winter3 courses including Qualifying Paper Course IISubmit approved qualifying paper by last day of exam week.
Spring3 courses including Preliminary Exam Reading Course, HistoriographyApply for course assistant and/or writing intern positions for following year. Finish putting together fields and reading lists for prelims.
SummerLanguage studyStudy for preliminary exams.
Year 3Fall 

Weeks 1 and 2: Meet with faculty advisor to discuss summer reading.
Begin formulating dissertation ideas.
Serve as course assistant or writing intern in two or three courses this year.
Take the teaching colloquium (ARTH 50100).

Winter Take prelims. Begin formulating dissertation proposal.
SpringParticipate in the Dissertation Proposal Workshop (ARTH 50200)Submit pre-dissertation trip proposal for department approval.
Submit Ph.D. proposal for faculty committee approval.
SummerPre-dissertation research trip if applicable
Work on dissertation proposal and grant applications
Advance to candidacy
Year 4FallDissertation research and writing, abroad as necessary.
Apply for dissertation research grants.
SpringApply for teaching positions for fifth year.
Year 5FallDissertation research and writing.
Serve as course assistant or writing intern and/or teach as an independent instructor, if not done in fourth year.
Apply for external dissertation write-up fellowships.
WinterPossibly apply for University of Chicago write-up grant.
Year 6FallDissertation research and writing.
SpringDissertation defense. Submit final copies of dissertation to the Dissertation Office in quarter of graduation.

Description of Departmental Degree Requirements

Continuing fellowship support and enrollment are contingent on satisfactory progress towards the Ph.D. degree. Individual student progress is reviewed at the annual spring progress review and a summary is sent to each student by the Director of Graduate Studies. Satisfactory progress is based both on timely completion of degree requirements as outlined in this handbook and on the quality of coursework, qualifying paper, preliminary exams, dissertation prospectus, teaching performance, and dissertation.


1.11 Foreign Languages: Becoming proficient in the foreign languages that have been and continue to be important for art history and for the particular culture that you study is essential for graduate-level scholarship. Before beginning graduate school you should brush up on your foreign languages and begin to acquire the new ones that you will need for your graduate work. Being behind on languages may make your first year much more difficult than it needs to be, and may prevent you from doing the type and quality of work that you would like to do. All incoming students are eligible to enroll in an intensive language course at the University in the summer prior to their first year (see below 1.13).

1.12 Which languages? All students must be certified in at least two foreign research languages and are encouraged to meet this requirement in the first year.

For all students, except specialists in African, Islamic, and Latin American art, one of these must be one of the following modern research languages: Chinese, French, Italian, or Spanish. African art specialists must be certified in French. Islamic art specialists must be certified in German, French, or Italian. Latin American art specialists must be certified in Spanish. The language selected for proficiency examination must correspond to the student's research plans and the student must achieve a grade of high pass on the language exam. Students whose secondary and/or college/university education was primarily conducted in a required language may petition the Director of Graduate Studies for exemption from the language exam.

All students, except specialists in African, East Asian, Islamic, or Latin American art, must also be certified in German by achieving a grade of pass or better on the German language exam. Students studying East Asian art must be certified in Japanese by achieving a grade of pass or better on the Japanese language exam. Students studying African art must be certified in an indigenous language. Students studying Latin American art must be certified in Portuguese or an indigenous language. Students whose field of study requires them to learn one or more languages that are not modern or not Western European may opt for Track II.

In addition to the requirements listed above, each field will have its own expectations for languages. The level of proficiency for these additional languages should be determined by the faculty advisor (see 1.13, below) and noted on the supplemental language contract. Below is a list of what fields typically require:

Western: German and a modern research language (generally French or Italian), plus:

  • Ancient: Greek and Latin
  • Medieval: Depending on the area, Medieval Latin and/or Greek and modern language of the country of specialization
  • Renaissance: Latin and modern language of the country of specialization
  • Baroque: Latin and modern language of country of specialization


  • Chinese Pre-modern: Modern Japanese, classical Chinese, modern Chinese
  • Chinese Modern: Modern Japanese, Modern Chinese
  • Japanese Pre-modern: modern research language and Classical Chinese, modern Japanese, classical Japanese
  • Japanese Modern: modern reserach language and Classical Japanese and modern Japanese


  • German, French, or Italian, and, depending on area of specialization, Arabic, Persian, and/or Ottoman Turkish


  • French and one indigenous language; depending on area of specialization, one or more additional European and/or African languages

Latin American:

  • Pre-Columbian: Spanish, and, depending on area of specialization, one or more indigenous language and/or modern language of the country of research
  • Colonial: Spanish, and, depending on area of specialization, Portuguese and/or one or more indigenous language, and/or Latin, and/or Italian, Dutch, or German
  • Modern: Portuguese and Spanish

1.13 Supplemental Language Contract: Each student schedules a meeting with their faculty advisor no later than the first quarter, to discuss which, if any, supplemental languages are necessary for the student's academic plans and the level of proficiency needed. This language plan must be recorded on a Supplemental Language Contract. Complete the form with your faculty advisor, co-sign and date it, and return it to the Department Assistant, who will place it in your department file. This form will help the Director of Graduate Studies work with you to fit language study into your program of study. The language plan recorded on the supplemental language contract is usually completed by the end of the third year and must be completed for the student to advance to A.B.D. status. If the language contract includes language study after the third year, this should be stated explicitly. Language study beyond the third year will not be required to obtain formal admission to candidacy.

1.14 Pre-First Year Summer Language Study: All students, but especially those working in premodern fields and fields outside Europe and North America are encouraged to work intensively on language study the summer before their first year. Students may register to take a condensed year-long language course in the University’s summer session. The Department will make available what funds it can to support students in fields with extensive language study requirements engaged in pre-first year summer language study. For foreign students, this will entail early planning in collaboration with the University in order to allow sufficient time to obtain a student visa. Information will be given to students early in the acceptance process.

1.15 How to Meet the Language Requirement: You should register to take the appropriate University language exam (listed in Time Schedules) when you register for courses. You can access copies of previous exams here. The language requirement in modern European research languages may be met by passing the University's language exam or by successfully completing the third quarter of the introductory language sequence. 

If you don't achieve the necessary "High Pass" or "Pass" on the exams for your research languages, you will be expected to enroll in a University-directed language course. In the unlikely event that you have no background in one of the languages that can meet the requirements for the degree, you should enroll in a University language sequence beginning in the fall. Neither an independent course nor a language exam other than the University's can serve as a substitute. An introductory or intermediate-level language course in one of the modern European research languages cannot be counted towards the degree and is expected to be a fourth course, on top of the usual three-course load. For the language in which you need a High Pass, you'll be expected to continue enrolling in language courses each subsequent quarter until the exam is passed with a High Pass or the substitute (a grade of B+ or better in the third quarter of the introductory sequence) is achieved. For the language in which you need a Pass, you'll be expected to continue enrolling in language courses each subsequent quarter until the exam is completed with a Pass or the substitute (a grade of B or better in the third quarter of the introductory sequence) is achieved. For the modern Western European research languages, the introductory one-year sequence is appropriate. For additional languages you may need for your field, one year of study is often not sufficient. Consult your faculty advisor about the number of years you’ll need and record your individual requirements on the supplemental language contract.

1.16 Course Credit for Language Courses: The University does not allow graduate students to receive course credit for beginning-level language courses. Credit is given only for intermediate- or higher-level language courses. Track II students are allowed to take one beginning-level language course sequence (in a non-modern or non-Western language) as part of their three-course load during their first year, but these language courses are not counted towards the 18 courses required for the degree. During their second year, Track II students may wish to count three intermediate or higher-level language courses towards the course requirements for the degree. Any student who wishes to take additional intermediate or higher-level languages may include them among the non-departmental courses that count toward the required total of 18, with the exception that intermediate-level modern Western European language courses cannot be counted towards the 18 courses required for the degree.


1.17 Required Number of Courses and Distribution: Eighteen courses are required for the Ph.D. degree. Usually students take 3 per quarter, which typically constitutes full-time enrollment. In the first year, students take Methodology and at least 5 additional courses in art history; the other courses may be outside the department. In the second year, students take Historiography, two qualifying paper courses, and one reading course with their advisor to begin study for their preliminary exams. In total, a maximum of 8 of the 18 courses may be taken outside the Art History Department.

If you're specializing in a field of Western Art, then you must take 1 course in non-Western art (defined as non-European and non-North American) and one course in Western Art providing chronological breadth (pre- or post- 1600). If you're in African, Asian, Islamic, or Latin American art, then you must take 1 course outside of your geographical area. Students also define a minor field, in which they must take at least 2 courses. It is expected that by the second year, the bulk of the coursework and paper writing will fall in the major field.

1.18 Methodology (ARTH 40100): Offered each fall quarter and required for all incoming students, this seminar is designed to introduce you to various methods in art history and the approaches of department faculty; Historiography (ARTH 49900): This required course is usually taken in the second year of coursework. It is designed to give in-depth consideration to the history of the discipline and its methods. Proseminar (ARTH 40200): For students beginning fall 2014, How do we do art history? What is it? What are its premises and where does it come from? This seminar will explore the historical foundations, formulations and applications of current art historical methods, as well as the foundations of the art historical discipline as it emerged from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Both theory and practice will be considered through select texts, with special focus on art history as a distinct scholarly discipline today. Rather than attempting to cover a comprehensive history of the methodological and historiographic traditions, the readings will attempt to present a coherent, if highly complex and conflictive, narrative that remains open to continued interrogation by its practitioners.

1.19 COSI Objects & Materials seminar: For students beginning fall 2014.

1.20 Types of Courses within the Department: The Department offers several types of courses: lectures and introductory seminars (which have ARTH 300 numbers); advanced seminars (ARTH 401-499); and graduate independent research courses (ARTH 49800). Most courses in the department do not require faculty permission for registration, but you should make arrangements with the specific faculty member before you register for an independent study course with him or her.

Lecture courses and introductory seminars may include advanced undergraduates and are ordinarily combinations of lecture and discussion. Often they cover a larger body of material in a more survey-like fashion than do seminars. Requirements in lecture courses and introductory seminars vary widely from one faculty member to another and may include papers and/or exams. Advanced seminar courses are more intense, research-oriented classes. Students typically make seminar presentations and write in-depth papers for these classes. Some graduate seminars rely heavily on non-English language reading and research, so be sure of the requirements before you enroll.

Most students balance their workload between 300- and 400-level courses during each quarter. There is no requirement regarding the number of 300- or 400-level courses that must be counted toward the 18 courses needed for the Ph.D. degree, but it is expected that you will want to take at least one 400-level course each quarter so as to develop the skills in critical analysis, independent research, group discussion, and public presentation that this format encourages.

1.21 Two-Quarter Course Sequences: Among the course offerings, students will occassionally find pairs of linked courses offered sequentially over two quarters. There may be one or more such sequences per year in each field. These paired courses enable a student to do more sustained work in a particular area than the quarter system generally permits, and are a valuable way to develop research paper skills and expertise. Students may take the first course alone, but may not take the second course without the first.

1.22 Research Courses: These courses are "independent studies" and will vary widely in format and requirements depending on the individual faculty and student. At the beginning, you should establish with the faculty member how often and when you will meet, what materials you will cover and how they are to be covered (joint discussion, written report, etc.) and what you will be expected to produce by the end of the quarter (a paper, annotated bibliography, etc.) Update: Starting in 2015-16, students can only take two of these independent study courses in addtion to the QP and prelims reading course.

1.23 Courses outside of the Department: Because 8 courses may be taken outside the Department, you're encouraged to investigate the offerings in history, literature, religion, anthropology, music, philosophy, and other disciplines that might complement your art historical studies. Other departments often have descriptions of courses like the ones prepared by our Department. Contact the department in question for this information, or check the University’s Time Schedules website. You may also want to consider taking courses at other area universities. See 1.25 for more information.

Note that DOVA courses must be graduate-level (300) in order to count among the 18 degree courses.

1.24 Taking or Auditing Additional Courses: Eighteen is the typical and minimum number of courses required for the Ph.D. You and your advisor may decide that you should enroll in more courses during your second or third year, or that you should audit courses of special relevance to your dissertation work.

Students are encouraged to officially audit a survey course in their primary field, registering for the course for audit or "R" credit. Auditing or serving as a course assistant in a particular survey is a prerequisite for subsequently teaching a version of that survey as a lecturer in the Department. While auditing a survey, students may wish to take an independent study course to enlarge their knowledge of the material.

1.25 Courses outside the University: In choosing courses, you may wish to consider supplementing the University offerings through study at other Chicago-area graduate colleges and universities, such as Northwestern University. A convenient vehicle for doing this is the CIC program which permits University of Chicago students to register officially for courses at a number of Midwestern universities, including Northwestern. Fellowship aid can be used for this purpose, and credit is automatic. However, you should be aware that university calendars do not always coincide and that registration deadlines may be earlier than ours. For more information:

1.26 Advanced Studies courses: Students taking fewer than three courses per quarter or who have completed coursework are automatically enrolled in an “Advanced Studies” course (ARTH 70000) each quarter.  These courses are graded “satisfactory” (S) or “unsatisfactory” (U) or “unofficial withdrawal” (UW) by the Director of Graduate Studies on the basis of the annual spring progress review. Students who receive a grade of “U” will be placed on academic probation; the DGS will explain what they need to do to recover good academic standing. If a student does not meet those expectations, the faculty will determine whether the student should withdraw from the program. A grade of “UW” is assigned if a student’s faculty advisor tells the Director of Graduate Studies that the student has lost contact  with the advisor or ceased working on the dissertation but has not officially withdrawn from the program. In such cases, the Dean of Students office follows up with the student to determine the circumstances. 

This course will show up on students’ transcripts and is used by the Student Loan Administration to make sure students are eligible for federal loans. More information on the Humanities Division’s enrollment and satisfactory academic progress policy can be found here:


1.27 Defining the Major Field: Normally, you'll define a major and minor field in accord with the following list.


  • Ancient: The art, architecture, and material culture of Greece and Rome, Bronze Age to 330 C.E.
  • Medieval: The art, architecture, and material culture of Europe and the Mediterranean, 300 C.E. to 1500 C.E.
  • Early Modern: Art, architecture, and material culture with primary focus on Europe from 1300 to 1750 C.E.
  • Modern: The art, architecture, and material culture of Europe from 1750 to the present
  • American: The art, architecture, and material culture of North America



  • Pre-Imperial Period: The art, architecture, and material culture of pre-historic to Qin dynasty, ca. 5000 to 221 B.C.E.
  • Early Imperial Period: The art, architecture, and material culture of Qin to Tang dynasty, 221 B.C.E. to 907 C.E.
  • Middle Imperial Period: The art, architecture, and material culture of five Dynasties to Yuan dynasty, 907 to 1368
  • Late Imperial and Modern Period: The art, architecture, and material culture of Ming dynasty to the present, 1368 to present


  • Early Japanese: The art, architecture, and material culture of Japan, to 1200
  • Medieval Japanese: The art, architecture, and material culture of Japan, 1200 to 1600
  • Later Japanese: The art, architecture, and material culture of Japan, 1600 to present


  • Early Islamic: The art, architecture, and material culture of the Islamic lands, 632 to 1100 A.D.
  • Middle Islamic: The art, architecture, and material culture of the Islamic lands,1100 to 1500 A.D.
  • Pre-Modern Islamic: The art, architecture, and material culture of the Islamic lands, 1500 to 1900 A.D.
  • Modern Islamic: The art, architecture, and material culture of the Islamic lands,and of artists from those lands in global diaspora, 1900 to the present

Latin America:

  • Pre-Columbian: The art, architecture, and material culture of the Americas, to ca. 1500
  • Colonial: The art, architecture, and material culture of Latin America and the Caribbean, ca. 1500 to the 1820s
  • Modern: The art, architecture, and material culture of Latin America and the Caribbean, and of artists from those lands in global diaspora, 1820s to present


  • The art, architecture, and material culture of Africa and the African diaspora

Historiography, Theory, and Criticism:

  • Literature on art and representation, its philosophical traditions and historical contexts.

1.28 Defining the Minor Field: Give careful thought to the selection of a minor field and discuss it with your faculty advisor. Ideally, it should intersect with the interests you pursue in your major field, but also provide breadth in your perspectives. It may be important, too, for establishing the attractive profile you will want to present as a job candidate.

The minor field may be drawn from the list of major fields or may be a subsection of a large major field. For example, someone majoring in modern painting might minor in photography and film or in architecture; someone majoring in Buddhist art might minor in European medieval art.

For the minor field of study, you may elect to do an outside minor, that is, a minor in another department or departments. Normally, the outside minor complements the major by providing additional study in the period, area, and civilization of choice. Careful attention should be given to the composition of the outside minor in consultation with your advisors. Courses in the minor field can count toward distribution requirements.


Distribution requirements are designed to ensure that you become familiar with different methods and areas of art history. All students have course distribution requirements that should be met during the first year. In addition, all students are expected to declare a minor field, with the goal of taking at least one of the two required courses in that field by the end of the year. Students with a good rationale for postponing one or more of these requirements to the second year may petition the DGS to do so, but must in any case complete their distribution requirements by winter quarter of second year. 

1.29 Distribution Requirements for Students Concentrating in a Field of Western Art:

Courses: You must take at least one non-Western course in the Art History Department (defined as non-European and non-North American). You must take at least one course on pre-1600 European material, and one on European or North American post-1600 material. There is no required number of seminars that you must take, though it is expected that you will take a mixture of seminars and lectures each quarter.

If you want to meet a distribution requirement by time period with a course that spans ancient to modern periods or in a cultural area with a course spanning multiple cultures, you may do so by writing a paper on a topic in the appropriate period or culture. The point is to gain familiarity and experience with material outside your specialty. Thus if an East Asian specialist takes a course on ancient Greek art but writes the course paper on Chinese ancient art, that course will not fill the distribution requirement for a course outside the East Asian specialty.

1.30 Distribution Requirements for Students Concentrating in a Non-Western Field:

Courses: You must take at least one course outside of your specific geographical field. Thus, for example, students of Asian art must take at least one non-Asian art history course. There is no requirement regarding the number of seminars you must take.

1.31 Qualifying Paper: During fall and winter quarters of second year, students will research and write a qualifying paper under the guidance of a principal advisor, who must be a faculty member in the Art History Department. Students will arrange for a second advisor at the University, who need not be in Art History, no later than the beginning of winter quarter. Students will typically enroll in an independent research course with the primary advisor, or with the primary and secondary advisors, in both fall and winter quarters, to accommodate the research and writing within the course load. These two courses count toward the 18 required for the degree. The complete draft is due to both readers by Friday of the seventh week of winter quarter. The form approving the final version must be filled out by the student, signed by both readers, and submitted to the Department by Friday of exam week in winter quarter. Students need to confer with their readers about an appropriate deadline in order to meet the approval deadline. The approval form is available for download on the department website. Students do not need to submit a copy of the approved paper to the Department.

1.32 Summer Stipend Holders: Summer stipends are intended to enable students to continue their training and research through the summer by supporting their expenses.

The first priority for summer work is to take care of language skills, whether acquiring or improving them. The University offers the equivalent of one-year introductory and more advanced courses in many languages in a condensed format during summer quarter, without tuition charge to continuing graduate students. The Department requires students to take these courses for a letter grade and to enroll in regular three-quarter courses, not the research-for-reading courses. The goal here is to get solid language training that will stay with you.

First- and second-year students are expected to develop a summer reading list with the help of your faculty advisor (see 1.33). In the third summer, students tmay continue language study, develop dissertation proposals, and/or take a pre-dissertation research trip. See the separate section describing pre-dissertation grants.

All students receiving summer stipends should include, in the work plan you file early each spring for the upcoming year of study, a description of their plans for the upcoming summer (language study, research/travel plans, summer reading plans).

1.33 Summer Reading Lists for First and Second Summers:

First- and second-year students are expected to develop a summer reading list of several books and/or substantial articles, with the help of your faculty advisor. You should make an appointment to discuss your list by the middle of spring quarter and should have agreed on the list by the end of exam week. The first summer list should be directed toward identifying the qualifying paper topic. The second summer list may be directed toward the preliminary exam fields or the dissertation topic. You should make an appointment with your advisor to discuss the reading list at the start of fall quarter.

1.34 Grades: The official grading scale used by the Department is A, B, C, D, and F, including pluses and minuses. In general, however, graduate student grades range from A to B-, and grades of B or B- indicate seriously inadequate work. A+ is not an official grade in the University, but may be used within the Department.

By the second year, it is expected that grades for art history courses should be mostly, if not entirely, in the A range. Graduate research courses may be graded Pass/Fail. The Qualifying Paper courses, ArtH 49808 and 49809 (first and second quarter) will be graded after the final paper is submitted to the faculty advisor. Both courses will receive the same letter grade, which will be the same as the grade for the paper.

A blank grade indicates that the student has completed the coursework but for some reason the instructor has not yet filed the grade. (For example, the grade for the first quarter of the Qualifying Paper course will remain blank until the paper is completed later in the year.) A grade of I (Incomplete) indicates that the student hasn't yet completed requirements for the course but will do so in the future. When requirements for the course are completed, the student should ask the faculty member to send in a grade. The final grade is entered next to the I. Accordingly, the Department strongly discourages students from taking I's. It is important to understand that a grade of I remains on the transcript forever. See the policy on incompletes and the schedule for completing them below, section 1.36.

The Humanities Division’s grievance procedure for academic matters can be found here:

1.35 Exceptions and Petitions: If you wish to have the Department consider other options for completing requirements, you may petition the faculty by addressing a letter to the Director of Graduate Studies describing, explaining and justifying the changes you request. It will be presented to the faculty and voted upon by them.

1.36 Incomplete course work, the grade of "I" and the completion deadline: The Department follows the policy of the Division of the Humanities, which you need to consult: Any updates to the policy will appear on that URL.

For convenient reference, here is the divisional policy as of 6/2013:

For various reasons, students may find themselves unable to complete their coursework by the end of the quarter and may need to make arrangements with the instructor to take a grade of “I”, Incomplete, in that class. If the instructor agrees to grant a grade of “I” to reflect that the course work is incomplete, the instructor will indicate what work remains to be completed, the deadline to complete the outstanding work, and what the grade will be if the student fails to complete that work by the deadline. Instructors are not required to grant a grade of “I” and will adhere to program specific policies about granting an incomplete.

A grade of "I" cannot be carried from one academic year into the next academic year. If no specific deadline for the course work to be completed is set the default deadline for completion of the work is the start of the autumn quarter of the next academic year. Faculty will evaluate the work as quickly as feasible upon receipt of the completed work. After the work has been completed and a grade recorded with the Office of the Registrar, the grade of “I” will permanently precede the final grade on the transcript.

The Incompletes policy conforms to other divisional and university requirements. In particular note: All full-time students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in their program of study. Satisfactory academic progress is determined annually by the department in the spring quarter. For more information see the Enrollment and Satisfactory Progress policy at Federal Student Aid policy limits the maximum time for incomplete course work to be completed. For more information see the Federal Student Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards at:

The University’s grading policies can be found at:

Note: The Department strongly discourages Incompletes except in a medical or personal emergency. If a student cannot complete course work by the end-of-quarter deadline, it is his or her obligation to promptly contact the instructor or the Director of Graduate Studies with an explanation and request an incomplete. This is important because instructors are expected to file grades at the end of the quarter, not to leave them blank. If the instructor grants an Incomplete, s/he will file a grade of “I”, confirm with the student what assignments need completion, and set a deadline that normally falls at 9 am of the Monday two weeks before the start of fall quarter.

When a student finishes an Incomplete, s/he should send a copy of the completed coursework to the Department Coordinator as well as the instructor. (If a student submits coursework on time and the instructor is late in grading it, or if a student submits work for an Incomplete by the September deadline, the grade will remain blank until the instructor files it. In such cases, the instructor, rather than the student, is responsible for the lack of grade. The student’s completion of the work is attested by the copy s/he sends to the Coordinator, and which is added to the student’s file.)

If a student on fellowship does not complete work for Incompletes by the September deadline, the student will be unable to register for the Fall quarter. Continuing fellowship funds will not be available without registration. 

1.37 Department Policy on Working during Full Fellowship Years: Graduate students are expected to devote their time primarily to their studies during their full fellowship years. They will teach at the University to meet the teaching obligations associated with their fellowship starting in their third year, but they should not undertake teaching at other institutions or other major employment that could delay the completion of their studies. They may, however, take jobs entailing ten hours of work per week or less without consulting the department. Any job involving more than ten hours per week requires the approval of the student’s faculty advisor, who will communicate approval in a brief email to the Director of Graduate Studies for the student’s file. Non-compliance could have consequences for a student's annual spring progress review, on which basis fellowships are renewed.

1.38 M.A. Degree: The objective of the program is the Ph.D. degree. However, students may apply for the M.A. degree along the way to achieving the Ph.D., or in the rare event that they choose or are advised to leave the Ph.D. program after the first- or second-year review. Any student is eligible for the M.A. degree after completing the following requirements: one foreign language required for the student’s field; nine one-quarter courses at the University of Chicago, which include Methodology and meet the first-year distribution requirements; and approval of the qualifying paper by both readers.

1.39 Students Entering with an M.A. from Another Art History Program: Students entering the program with an M.A. in art history in a field other than the one in which they anticipate writing a dissertation, or with an M.A. in another discipline, or with an M.A. from an art history program based outside North America or Britain will follow the regular program, taking 18 courses.

Special provisions apply to students entering the program with an M.A. from an art history program in North America or Britain in the field in which they anticipate writing a dissertation:

1) In the spring of their first year, these students have the option of petitioning the Department to grant course credit toward the departmental requirements for courses taken in their previous program. The Department considers petitions on a case-by-case basis, and may approve anywhere from one to five credits. If the courses in question were taken at the University of Chicago, however, it may consider a larger number. The student should give the Director of Graduate Studies a brief cover letter requesting the credits, including the course titles, descriptions, and instructors, accompanied by: a transcript, the course syllabi, and a copy of the paper or other major written assignment for each course. The Director of Graduate Studies will present the petition at a faculty meeting for discussion and vote, and will report the decision to the student.

2) These students write the qualifying paper on the same schedule as other students. If, however, they and their faculty advisor feel they have written a course paper during the first year that is suitable for the qualifying paper, they have the option of expanding that paper over the summer and completing it in the fall of the second year.


The Preliminary Examinations (Prelims) are an important turning point in your graduate career. They simultaneously bring to a close your formal coursework (they are, quite possibly, the last exam you'll ever have to take), and they help to prepare you for work on the dissertation and for a career of teaching and research.

1.40 Form of the Preliminary Ph.D. Exam: The exam is a written, closed-book exam, paced over the course of three days spread over a time period of no more than one week. You should decide on a time with your examiners, who may or may not be identical to your dissertation committee members, after you have completed the courses required for the Ph.D. degree. The exam consists of three "areas of concentration," each assigned to a day. The exam is administered at the Department. You should decide on the exact three days no less than four weeks prior, consulting with your examiners and scheduling an examination room with the Department Assistant. It is your responsibility to remind examiners to email questions to both the Department Assistant and Coordinator by 4:00 pm the day prior to the exam. The exam period on each day should not be any longer than three hours. The essays are written on computer. The grading system is pass/fail. Other details, such as the number and kinds of questions to be asked, will be decided by your faculty committee.

1.41 Content and Scope: You will take the exam in one of the "fields of study" defined by the Department [see list above]. You will not be examined on the entirety of this field, but rather on three "areas of concentration" within it. Some students choose to do two areas within their major field, and one within their minor.

An "area of concentration" is defined according to two criteria:

  • It should be a subject broad enough to be the topic for an upper-division undergraduate lecture course (thus, for example, "Modern Landscape Painting," but not "American Landscape Painting 1850-1900").
  • It should be a subject that has already generated a substantial body of scholarly literature so that preparing for the prelims is not a research project, but rather a process of mastering a readily available body of literature and key art works.

For most students the three areas of concentration will fall within the chronological and geographical bounds of their field of study, but this need not be the case. For instance, you might want to pursue an area that does not begin or end neatly within a field; or you might want to develop an area that is principally defined around a methodological approach that has not been widely developed in your field of study and will thus require reading in depth in another field.

1.42 The Need for Breadth and Diversity in Defining Areas: In defining your three areas of concentration, you should keep in mind that studying for the prelims is a process through which you should begin to make a transition from the highly structured and fast-paced coursework of the quarter system to the different sorts of intellectual demands that lie ahead. Thus, in developing areas of concentration, you should look forward to what you expect will form the subject of the dissertation, and aim to prepare a broad intellectual foundation to support that more specialized work. You should also aim to develop a range of expertise that will provide bases for teaching. The three areas of concentration are ones that you should expect to list on the C.V. as subjects that you'll feel prepared to teach.

These two goals—preparing a broad foundation for the dissertation and developing diverse areas of expertise for teaching—are not identical and require that you and your committee discuss carefully how to strike a productive balance between the two.

1.43 How to Select a Committee and Define the Areas of Concentration: The prelims committee will consist of three or four faculty members, two of whom must be in the Department. One faculty member in a different department of the university may be included without special permission. Alternatively, one member may be at another university if you hope to include that person on your dissertation committee and your advisor supports the intellectual rationale for including him or her. In this case, your advisor should explain at the outset that the Department cannot offer any compensation to outside examiners. Your faculty advisor serves as the committee chair and is responsible for coordinating the committee, the areas of concentration and their bibliographies, and the exam questions, and for arranging a meeting with you and, whenever possible, the entire committee to review the results of the exam. You and your advisor should put together the committee during the second year, subject to the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. Often the prelims and dissertation committees have the same members but that is not required and you should have explicit conversations with committee members about their roles. If you have a four-person committee, make clear arrangements for how the fourth person will participate in one of your three areas of concentration. Expanding the exam to four areas could undesirably delay your completion. If any of your commitee members are on leave while you are preparing and/or taking your exams, or if that time falls in summer, be sure to ask in advance when and how you will be able to reach them. 

You should arrive at the definition of the three areas in consultation with your committee. Ordinarily, each committee member will have expertise specific to one of the areas, and will work especially closely with you in developing that; however, the possibilities for this sort of correlation may vary widely from one field to another in the Department, owing both to the limited number of faculty in some fields and to the special needs of individual students.

The length of the bibliographies varies by student, depending on the field, the student’s needs and previous familiarity with the area, and other factors. Normally they should be of a length that allows you to complete your preparation in the equivalent of about four months of full-time work.

You should prepare an extensive bibliography for each area, which the faculty will help to condense, ensuring that the list has both historical depth and methodological breadth. No publication should appear on more than one of your three bibliographies. Some faculty may prefer to give you a pre-established bibliography, with the goal of making sure you are familiar with the fundamental texts. In some areas, the committee may also help the student to develop a body of visual material to be studied. It should be clearly understood that the bibliography (and accompanying compilations of visual materials) will be the basis for the exam.

The student gives a copy of all three bibliographies to the committee chair at an early stage in their development and in final form, so the chair may review them and help ensure that they are complementary and avoid overlap among them. The student should also give preliminary and final copies of all three lists to the other committee members. While studying, you should discuss your reading with the committee members several times during the preparation period to ensure that the faculty remains in touch with your developing interests. Some faculty will ask you to draw up a list of issues and themes you have considered while working through the list or to suggest exam questions. These will not necessarily be the questions you are asked to answer in the exam, but preparing and discussing them will help you to prepare for the exam.

1.44 Evaluation and Grading: The committee will usually meet together to evaluate the exam. Each area will be graded "P" or "F." In the case of an excellent exam, a special note may be written and placed in the student's file. If you should fail an area, you will be required to re-take that area in order to advance in the program and pursue dissertation work. Should you fail the area a second time, or should you fail more than one area, you must petition your examiners and the Department in order to continue in the program.

1.45 The Preliminary Exam Reading Course: Students begin studying for their preliminary exams in the spring quarter of their second year in a preliminary exams reading course with their advisor. In this course, students develop, and make significant progress in reading, the preliminary exams bibliography in their primary area of research, with regular guidance from the advisor. 

1.46 How Long Should You Prepare for the Exam? Students continue to study for their exams during the summer following their second year and into their third year. While the length of time a student will need to study for the exam will vary with the individual, four months of full-time work should, on average, be sufficient preparation. Thus the winter of the third year is likely to be the earliest time at which a student can sit for the exams; students should have completed exams by fall quarter of the fourth year, since failure to advance to candidacy (ABD status) by spring of the fourth year jeopardizes a student's satisfactory standing in the program.


1.47 Defining the Dissertation Topic: Over the course of your third year, you should define the area of your dissertation and the intellectual problems with which you'll be engaged. You should, of course, stay in close touch with your principal advisors during this year about your thoughts concerning the dissertation. By winter quarter students ideally will be ready to engage in sustained research directed towards establishing their dissertation topic. Such research would then be continued over the course of the spring quarter, and, if needed, over the course of the summer of the third year. Track II students may be on this same schedule or one that is roughly one quarter later.

1.48 Dissertation Proposal Workshop (ARTH 50200): The Dissertation Proposal Workshop (ARTH 50200) is conducted by a faculty member every spring to introduce third-year students to the tasks of preparing grant proposals and applications. Grant proposals are typically much shorter than the departmental proposal. Here you will read and critique each other's proposals. The aim of the workshop is to help you produce a finished proposal by the early fall of your fourth year and to prepare you to apply for grants at that time. Second year students who have room in their schedule and have a dissertation topic defined may enroll in their second year, with permission of their advisor and Director of Graduate Studies. You should register for the workshop for course credit. Grading is Pass/Fail. The time demands of the workshop will depend on how far along you are in developing your departmental proposal. If you are early in that process, working on a short grant proposal will help you define what you need to develop in both versions over the summer. Failure to satisfactorily complete the teaching colloquium and/or proposal workshop on schedule will result in an "I" and the requirement of retaking the class the next time it is offered. This "I" will not prevent the disbursement of regular GAI stipend funds, but will delay any department fellowship funding (for research travel, etc.) until the course is completed.

1.49 Pre-Dissertation Grants: It is generally in the spring of your third year that you will plan a pre-dissertation trip and submit a trip proposal to the department for approval. These trips, typically a month or so long, are designed to conduct preliminary research on the dissertation. On this trip you might canvass archives and works of art abroad, consult with foreign-based scholars, and approach one of them about the possibility of directing your research when you go overseas to work on the dissertation. The primary purpose of a pre-dissertation trip is to help you prepare more specific, and thus stronger, grant applications for dissertation research.

The third year summer money that the Department guarantees to each student from its endowed and other funds is typically to be used to fund this pre-dissertation trip. In any given year, the Department may be able to supplement a particular student's third year summer money for travel purposes. These decisions will be made on the basis of the Department's financial situation and the student's need to travel. Students should also look for other sources for pre-dissertation funding.

After consulting with your advisors, you should submit your pre-dissertation trip proposal in time for the Department's deliberations about student travel awards in the spring. A form is available in the Department office that must be submitted with the proposal.

1.50 The Dissertation Committee: The dissertation committee normally consists of three faculty members but may include up to five. It is chaired by your faculty advisor, who must be a member of the Department. Your other two readers may be based in other University departments. The majority of the committee members must be University of Chicago faculty; any exception has to be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Department Chair.

Before considering non-departmental and extra-University committee members, study the requirements regarding readers' attendance of dissertation defenses, 1.61. Consult with your advisor on the constitution of the committee and be sure to make explicit invitations to potential members to serve on your committee, including the role you would like them to fill (e.g., second reader, third, etc.) and your mutual expectations for the level of their involvement. At a minimum, second and third readers provide feedback on work approved by the advisor. The committee is officially appointed by the Department Chair.

The committee is usually constituted during the third year, but at the latest, it should be formalized just after you pass the preliminary exams and before you begin serious work on the departmental proposal. If, at a later date, the second or third reader should leave the University or for any reason withdraws from the committee, the Chair may appoint a new member in consultation with you and the remaining members.

1.51 The Departmental Dissertation Proposal: You are expected to complete your departmental dissertation proposal within four months of completing your preliminary exams. To remain in good academic standing, you must complete your proposal within ten months of completing your exams. Prepare your proposal in close consultation with all of your committee members, especially your advisor. The entire committee will review and approve it. Ask in advance whether any members will be on leave or away for the summer during the time you will draft your proposal and consult them about their availability to give advice or read drafts during that time.

The proposal should be presented in a concise, clearly written form that begins with a definition of the topic. Length varies considerably according to project but a good guideline is around twenty pages. Although proposals vary according to topic, most proposals contain sections on the current state of the question, the contribution to scholarship that the dissertation will make, the specific questions and problems to be considered and the expected results, both immediate and far-reaching. Writing the proposal should also help you plan the materials you will need to consult and in what order, so the discussion of the topic may be followed by a schedule of future travel, research, and writing. If appropriate, any restrictions in the scope of the topic should be noted and explained. If the research is sufficiently advanced, you may sketch or describe the organization of the dissertation. You should include an extensive bibliography.

Circulate the proposal among your committee members and convene a meeting of your committee members to discuss its merits and any need for revisions. This meeting should take place during the academic year. The Department Assistant is available to assist you with the logistics of scheduling. You must submit the final revised version of your proposal no more than three weeks following this meeting. When the committee members agree that revisions are sufficient, fill out the Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Form (downloadable from the department website) and ask your committee members to email their approval to the Department Assistant, who will give the form, emailed signatures, and proposal to the Chair for final approval.

The faculty strongly encourages you to present your proposal at one of the University's graduate student workshops. Here you can often get very useful interdisciplinary feedback and can begin to establish a local community of students and faculty that will be interested in and supportive of your work over the coming years.

Be sure to send your name, advisor, topic, and area to the Department Coordinator by November 30th for inclusion in the Art Bulletin's list of dissertations in progress. It is imperative to inform the professionals at large of your research and topic so that students elsewhere do not work on identical material and approach. (Check the CAA website for how to describe your area.)

1.52 Admission to Candidacy: When you have completed coursework, paper requirements, language requirements, and prelims, and your dissertation proposal has been approved, you are admitted to candidacy and become what is called A.B.D., "all but the dissertation." A.B.D. status is frequently required for fellowship awards. Under no circumstances should you draft or complete a chapter of your dissertation before advancing to A.B.D. status. You must be admitted to candidacy by June of your fourth year in residence. Exceptions are made only with the approval of the faculty. (It is a requirement of the University that the student be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy at least 8 months prior to the awarding of the degree; it is a requirement of the Humanities Division that the student be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy by the end of their fifth year in residence, at the latest.) When you are ready to be admitted to candidacy, make an appointment with the Department Coordinator to check that all requirements have been fulfilled and that all necessary forms have been signed and filed. If everything is in order, the Department Coordinator will circulate the paperwork admitting you to candidacy. The University requires that you, the Chair of the Department, and the Registrar or Dean complete an official form marking your admission. Once the form has been signed, you will receive a letter from the Dean approving your new status. Official copies of your transcript will also include the date of your admission to candidacy.


1.53 Applying for Dissertation Research Grants: Generally it is during the fall of your third year that you begin to apply for outside grants to support your dissertation research. Note that dissertation fellowships are due surprisingly early during the academic year. The Fulbright, for example, usually requires application by the beginning of the fall quarter, at which time students must demonstrate appropriate language skills.

Grant applications take a lot of time to prepare and they fall at a very busy time of year for the faculty. Thus, you'll want to plan well in advance. It is especially important that you keep in close touch with your advisor, so that he or she knows your plans, and you have the benefit of his or her advice. Work carefully with your advisor on your project description, by far the most important part of any grant application. Strongly consider writing a brief note to your advisor outlining the grants for which you plan to apply.

1.54 Departmental Nominations: For some dissertation grants, departmental nomination is required. Lists of these fellowships may be obtained from the Department Coordinator. The principal ones are:

  • (a) Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), National Gallery, Washington: A variety of grants, each with particular requirements.
  • (b) Samuel H. Kress Foundation Fellowships: Some are based at foreign institutions and some are travel fellowships.
  • (c) Dedalus Foundation: Dissertation grants available for work on modern art and modernism.

To be considered for nomination for most of these grants, you need to have advanced to A.B.D. status by the time you apply for nomination. You should submit your application to the Director of Graduate Studies by mid-October (check for posted deadlines). Your advisor must approve your project description before you can submit an application for the faculty committee's consideration, so be sure to have him or her sign the appropriate approval form (available in the Department office) and include it with the materials you submit. Departmental decisions are usually made in early November.

1.55 Departmental Grant Opportunities: Endowments within the department support graduate student research travel, summer language study, and, when possible, dissertation completion. The amount available varies from year to year, depending upon the condition of the national economy and on the success of the Department’s fundraising initiatives. Preference is given to students who apply for outside funding but are not successful. In general, the Department’s priorities are ranked as follows:

  • The support of primary dissertation research travel for students who have not succeeded in securing outside grants, or who are not adequately supported by the grants they obtained.
  • The support of pre-dissertation research trips of two to six weeks that are essential to preparing a dissertation prospectus and/or external grant proposal. Except in very rare cases, students are limited to one. Those with summer stipends may apply for top-up funding if their travel needs exceed their stipend amount. Students should also apply for external funding whenever possible.
  • Limited funds for summer language study: Students without summer stipends may apply for support for living expenses and fees in order to take a condensed three-quarter language sequence during the University's summer quarter. (Recently, these grants have been for $2,500.) Students may also apply for funding for language courses at other institutions, preferably in Chicago or other North American cities, if the language is not taught at the University of Chicago at any point during the year, or if significant academic circumstances make it strongly preferable for the student to take the language in summer quarter and the language is not taught in that quarter at the University of Chicago. In addition, students taking year-long language courses abroad in languages taught at the University may apply for the same subvention as students doing summer language study on campus. Those with summer stipends may apply for top-up funding if their study needs exceed their stipend amount. Students should also apply for external funding whenever possible. Courses must be taken for letter grades and a copy of the transcript submitted to the Department Assistant at the end of the summer. Courses in reading for research are not supported.
  • After these needs have been met, funds may be available to support partial or complete write-up grants for advanced students who are unsuccessful in winning University or external grants. Students are eligible for departmental write-up funding only if they have applied for University-wide write-up grants. Please note that these have special eligibility requirements and that advance planning is therefore essential. In most cases, students need to have a completed and approved dissertation chapter and may not be beyond their eighth year in residence.
  • After these needs have been met, and on rare occasions, funds may be available to support small trips for dissertation writers who need to do a final round of follow-up research.
  • We do not, alas, have sufficient funds to support such purposes as research trips before the pre-dissertation trip, secondary source research in US libraries for dissertations or early stages of dissertation writing, or conference travel. If you are uncertain as to what constitutes an appropriate request, check with your advisor and/or the Director of Graduate Studies.

Note that the Department does take into account a student’s fellowship income for the year in question and how much travel money it has given to a student in previous years, and it expects and appreciates frugality in the calculation of living expenses. An announcement describing the funds and their purposes and the application form are circulated late winter quarter. Applications are due in April; the faculty reviews them and the Director of Graduate Studies notifies students of the results in mid- or late May.

Checks are available around the start of summer quarter. Outstanding work for incompletes, including any from spring quarter, must be submitted to the Department Coordinator and the instructor(s) before a check for summer language study or research travel will be released. Exceptions are courses that require a summer fieldwork component (courses in classical archaeology) and courses taken in other departments for which the instructor gives all students a later due date. In these cases, the Department Coordinator will need an email from the instructor stating the due date for the class. Students who receive awards for primary dissertation research must be A.B.D. by the time the award is to be given, or the money will be withheld until this status is obtained. If the student has not moved to A.B.D. status by the end of the academic year (June 30) for which he or she applied, the award will be rescinded. As always, if you have questions, you should feel welcome to consult the Director of Graduate Studies.

1.56 Writing the Dissertation: Different topics, students, and advisors require different strategies for the submission of part, or all, of the dissertation for approval; you should therefore consult often with your committee and devise a plan and a schedule for your work. It is typical that the first chapter takes the longest time to write, and it is generally advisable to make sure that your entire committee weighs in on it before you proceed further. This way you will know that you are on the right track with each faculty member. Be sure also to consult, early in your research, the University's requirements for finished dissertations, especially those regarding photographs.

1.57 Help for Dissertation Writers, including Workshops: Working on a dissertation is often a long and lonely experience. To alleviate the pressures of this situation, which can cause normally productive students to fall into the doldrums, the University sponsors graduate workshops, one of the primary purposes of which is to provide a supportive intellectual environment for the dissertation writer. Graduate students often present chapters of their dissertations here for constructive criticism. You are strongly encouraged to begin participating in one or more of these workshops even before you start the dissertation. Through the process you will become acquainted with the forms of Ph.D. proposals and chapters. The University also sponsors dissertation-writing support groups. For information on these, ask the Department Coordinator or the Office of the Dean of Students.

1.58 Dissertation Write-Up Grants: Special fellowships for writing the dissertation are usually designed to support students in their final year. Indeed, evaluation of applicants for such grants usually includes some careful assessment of whether the student can truly finish his or her dissertation within a year. Most often, you will be asked to submit a letter of application, an abstract, and one completed chapter of the dissertation.

Most University write-up grants require Departmental nomination. Students should submit letters of application, abstracts, and completed chapters to the Department Coordinator by the posted deadline, which usually falls in the middle of February. Departmental nominations are usually made by early March.

Look for other grants. The AAUP and other agencies offer write-up grants for which no nomination is required.

1.59 Time Limitations on the Ph.D. Program: The University requires students to complete all requirements for the Ph.D. degree within twelve years of beginning the program. This means that you must plan on defending your dissertation, filing the fully formatted copy at the dissertation office, and graduating no later than the spring quarter of your twelfth year. This is a firm deadline to which the Department will grant no exceptions. 


1.60 Scheduling the Defense: After you complete the dissertation and it has been approved by your committee, you should arrange for the defense. Contact the members of your committee and get all to agree on a day and time; be sure to clear this time with the Department Chair and Department Assistant. Once everything is arranged, notify the Chair with this information.

You should present one copy of the dissertation and an abstract to the Department at least three weeks prior to the scheduled oral defense. For a period of two weeks or more a copy of the dissertation must be made available for the Art History Department faculty's inspection and approval. A copy of the abstract will be sent to the Dean of Students.

Observe that arranging the defense takes time and that if you are trying to schedule it before having actually finished the dissertation, you face a potentially tricky situation. Faculty may be quite reluctant to agree to a defense before approving the dissertation in its entirety. A defense cannot be scheduled with the Dean of Students unless the dissertation is complete. Especially if you will have to fly in for the defense, your best strategy is to plan to finish the dissertation and to submit an entire copy to each committee member at least three months before you hope to defend it. If the faculty takes six weeks to review and approve the text (not an unreasonable amount of time), you'll then have four weeks to make final plans for the defense. (Remember that everything must be settled three weeks before the actual date.)

If you are under considerable pressure to finish the dissertation (because of the demands of your newly secured employment, for example), be sure to discuss the situation carefully with your committee and be aware of the considerable difficulties you face in trying to accelerate the last stages of your graduate career.

1.61 The Defense: The entire Art History faculty is invited to attend the defense. You have the option of opening the defense to your fellow students at the University, and you should inform the Department Chair of your decision about whether the defense will be open or closed well in advance of the date. Your committee is required to be present, as is a faculty member designated by the Chair to represent the Art History Department. One faculty member, selected by the Dean of Students, comes from another department, and is called the "Dean's Representative."

No more than one committee member may be absent from the defense. Note that neither the Department nor the University has funds to bring readers to the campus for dissertation defenses.

The Chair of the Art History Department usually opens and concludes the proceedings. During the defense, you will be examined about the dissertation and closely related matters. You should be prepared to summarize and evaluate your conclusions, and to position your achievements within the scholarship of your fields of inquiry. All faculty present may ask questions, but students are only present as observers. Defenses usually last from one and one-half to two hours.

Possibly the greatest value of the defense for the student is the opportunity to have your work critiqued and evaluated from different perspectives, and to defend and clarify your ideas accordingly. This process should help to show you the sorts of research and revision that will be required to turn your dissertation into a book or series of publications. Thus, while the defense is the culmination of your graduate career, it should also serve to prepare you for your future work.

At the end of the defense, you (and any students who have attended) will be asked to step outside. The faculty will discuss the defense and with the approval of a majority of the examiners, you will be recommended for the Ph.D. degree. In the event that the faculty should vote not to award the degree, the Chair and dissertation committee will consult with the Dean of Students to consider the possibility of a second oral examination.

1.62 Annual Dissertation Prize: The Department awards an annual prize of $2000 each spring for the best dissertation defended in the previous calendar year. (For example, dissertations defended during the calendar year 2012 are eligible for the prize awarded in the spring of 2013.) The award is recorded by the University Registrar and is included in the list of student awards on the department website. The process works as follows: faculty members nominate exceptional dissertations for consideration by letter; nominated dissertations are read by a faculty committee; and the committee's recommendation is presented, discussed, and voted on at a faculty meeting.

1.63 Final Copies: You must submit your completed, properly formatted dissertation electronically to the University’s Dissertation Office in Regenstein Library. The Dissertation Office will send this copy to Proquest to place in its database, limited by any embargo for which you have received permission. The University Library does not retain a copy independent of Proquest’s electronic service. Well in advance of filing, familiarize yourself with the Dissertation Office’s formatting requirements, most of which concern legibility and reproducibility. (The office no longer prescribes the academic style for aspects like citing references; those are decided by you and your committee.) Attend especially to all comments on images and copyright permissions, to avoid last-minute surprises. See

Changes may be suggested at or immediately after the defense, and should be entered before uploading the final copy to ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing. ProQuest processes dissertations for the University and notifies the Dissertation Office once it has received all required materials, which include a PDF of the dissertation text, a separate PDF of your illustrations or other supplemental materials, a publication agreement, copyright permissions where applicable, an abstract meeting ProQuest's rather strict formatting demands, and a dissertation processing fee. Following that, the Department Coordinator submits a departmental approval form to the Dissertation Office.

1.64 ProQuest: The University requires submission of the dissertation to ProQuest/UMI Dissertation Publishing in order to confer the Ph.D. degree, thus making dissertations available to the scholarly community at the University of Chicago and elsewhere. However, you may choose to “embargo,” i.e. block access to, your dissertation with ProQuest for up to two years without special permission. The policy is outlined at You will still submit your dissertation to ProQuest as outlined in section 1.63, selecting the embargo option as part of your electronic submission, and the Dissertation Office will process the embargo with ProQuest on your behalf. If you embargo your dissertation, ProQuest will still include an abstract in its database. For information on how ProQuest may publish and sell your dissertation after the period of the embargo, see To embargo your dissertation after submission or to request an extension, contact the Dissertation Office. 

1.65 Illustrations and Copyrights: Images and unpublished source materials may form an essential and original component of your dissertation, but they are subject to complex national and international laws governing their use. For a basic summary of copyright laws in the United States, you may turn to the guidelines provided by ProQuest/UMI at

You must submit illustrations essential to an understanding of your dissertation to your committee members, but you may choose to omit some or all of these in the copy you submit to the Dissertation Office/ProQuest, especially if you have not secured permission in writing (as required by ProQuest) to publish them. To remove only a few illustrations but include others, you should substitute insert blank boxes for the deleted images where they originally appeared on your pages but retain their captions below the boxes. To remove all illustrations, include the original list of illustrations but add a note stating that illustrations are not included for copyright reasons; in this case, omit the entire section of pages with illustrations. Likewise, in the case of unpublished source materials such as manuscripts, correspondence, or other archival papers, you may choose not to quote from them directly for a variety of reasons, including that publication permission in writing (required by ProQuest) has not been secured for their citation.

You should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of including illustrations and/or unpublished source material for publication with ProQuest and consult your advisor for advice where applicable. The main advantage of inclusion may be that your dissertation will not lack essential evidence and will carry more scholarly weight. The main disadvantage may be that obtaining written copyrights for many or all of your images and/or unpublished source material before submitting your dissertation to ProQuest can be an expensive and time-intensive process. Please note that neither the Department nor the University provides funds for these expenses at this time.

1.66 Graduation: Typically you will need to file an application to graduate in the first week of the quarter in which you plan to receive your degree. Final submission of the dissertation typically must be completed by 4:30 p.m. on the Friday that falls 4 weeks before convocation. Check with the Humanities Dean of Students office before the quarter in which you plan to graduate to get the specific deadlines for that quarter. 

Grant Opportunities

2. Scouting Out Grants: The Director of Graduate Studies and Department Coordinator hold an annual grant information meeting for third-year students and others interested at the beginning of fall quarter. Online information about grants is available from the Division of Humanities at or from the Office of Graduate Affairs at Students are also encouraged to contact the Assistant Dean of Students for more information on available grants.

A file in the Department Assistant's office includes announcements of grants relevant to Art History. This will be extremely helpful, but you should not expect it to include every grant for which you should consider applying. Visit the International Affairs Office and the Graduate Affairs Office; talk to your friends in other departments; be sure to look at the Career and Placement Services (second floor of Ida Noyes), which has a library of grant directories and information; look on the web, including the College Art Association site. Don’t be passive when it comes to finding grants—no one person or place will have all the information you need!

Grants vary in the documents required. These may include transcripts, curricula vitae, budgets, itineraries, autobiographies, proposals, statements of progress, and letters of reference. No application will ask for all of these, but the list is a fair representation of what you may be called upon to provide.


3. Why and When to Teach: Why should graduate students teach, besides the financial opportunity or to fulfill fellowship-based teaching obligations? Teaching at this stage provides experience that will prove valuable in your future career, should you become a professor, and it allows you to learn to teach in an apprentice-like situation that should be supportive and encouraging. Teaching experience is essential in the job market. Practice in balancing teaching and research develops a valuable skill. And you may well find that your own work will benefit from trying to justify and make accessible to non-specialists your field of art history.

It is generally expected that graduate students will teach in the third and fifth years and will be free to travel for research in their fourth year. Typically, during their third year, students serve as a writing intern or course assistant for two courses. Then, during their fifth year, they serve as a writing intern or course assistant for one course, in addition to teaching their own stand-alone course. Students often continue, intermittently, to teach throughout their graduate career, either at the University or elsewhere in the area. It is important to realize that there may well be times in your graduate life when it is advisable not to teach, an endeavor that has a tendency to become all-consuming.

3.1 Teaching Inside the Department The Department has four types of positions that contribute to students' teaching credentials. Each year the Department seeks Ph.D. students to fill positions as Course Assistants for the undergraduate lecture survey courses and as Writing Interns for smaller, discussion-based thematic introductory courses, both offered as part of the College Core Curriculum. These positions differ significantly in responsibilities but are open to first-time as well as experienced student teachers; they carry about the same level of remuneration. The Department also employs more advanced students as Lecturers who teach Art History 101 sections on their own or offer 200-level courses. Lectureship appointments presuppose prior experience as a departmental course assistant, writing intern, or preferably both. B.A. Preceptors mentor the majors writing B.A. papers in their fourth years; two are appointed each year to co-teach the Senior Seminar in the fall and to work with faculty advisors in guiding the majors to the completion of their papers early spring quarter. Each position offers students a salary and, for those in Advanced Residence, tuition remission, in return for job performances described below and at The positions are advertised late in winter quarter. Appointments are made by a faculty committee that reviews applicants' credentials and academic progress and seeks to match skills and needs across the Department. Notification is usually late in spring quarter.

Most graduate student fellowships entail the requirement that students teach in some of these positions. The particulars are stated in the fellowship letter. To meet this obligation, you need simply apply for departmental teaching positions in the appropriate year, following the standard system described below. More advanced students who have completed any fellowship-related teaching or have fellowships that do not require teaching (such as the Javits) may also apply. Students with teaching obligations are generally expected to fulfill those obligations by teaching for courses offered by faculty in the Department of Art History. You must let the Director of Graduate Studies know if you are applying to teach for courses offered at the University but outside of the Department of Art History.

3.2 Course Assistantships: Course assistants will be appointed for all art history surveys with 25 or more students. Surveys are generally taught in lecture format and may have large enrollments. To complement the lectures, each course assistant teaches a supplementary, weekly section with a group of roughly 25 students to discuss course topics, readings, etc. Course descriptions for available assistantships are listed below. Course assistants teaching for the first time are expected to attend the Department's teaching colloquium (ARTH 50101) in fall quarter and should consider making use of the University's Teaching and Learning Center programs. Course assistant responsibilities may include but will not necessarily be limited to the following:

  • Assisting the faculty in planning course outlines, preparing syllabi, and planning paper assignments and exams
  • Attending all course lectures
  • Conducting discussion or review sessions and /or leading field trips to local museums and buildings
  • Evaluating and commenting on student papers and exams.
  • Holding weekly office hours
  • Time commitment averages about 15 hours per week, including attendance of lectures or classes

Course assistants should not be asked to teach lectures or primary course meetings, except on limited occasions, for their own professional development, and under faculty supervision.

Faculty responsibilities to course assistants: While these positions require you to engage with undergraduates in particular ways, they are also opportunities for you to think about pedagogy in general and to consult with the faculty member in charge of the course. Although each course is likely to proceed a little differently from the others in its details, the faculty has drawn up a general checklist of things that you can expect as part of the working relationship in any course:

  • to discuss the course with the professor before it begins; a good guideline is to discuss the general plans for the course a month ahead (or as soon as you both return to campus in the autumn), and the syllabus a week ahead
  • to have a clear idea at the start of the quarter of your responsibilities and the dates when you will have special duties (e.g., grading, writing seminar, discussion sections)
  • to have discussion sections identified on the syllabus as a course requirement
  • to be introduced and to have your role explained to the students at the start of the course
  • to discuss the grading policy and its rationale
  • to meet with the professor on a regular basis as the course proceeds
  • to have supervision of, and receive feedback on, your contributions from the professor

If you feel that your working relationship with your professor or with your students is not effective in some way, it is expected that you will point this out and seek to resolve it with the professor. If there is a problem doing so, the Director of Graduate Studies is the appropriate resource for helping you define and resolve such issues.

Compensation: $3,000 (plus tuition remission if in Advanced Residence) per quarter-long appointment.

Application materials typically include:

  • a completed application form
  • a vita

Undergraduate catalog text description: 14000 through 16999. Art Surveys. May be taken in sequence or individually. Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any ARTH 14000 through 16999 course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts. The major monuments and masterpieces of world painting, sculpture, and architecture are studied as examples of humankind's achievements in the visual arts. Individual objects are analyzed in detail and interpreted in light of society's varied needs. While changes in form, style, and function are emphasized, an attempt is also made to understand the development of unique and continuous traditions of visual imagery throughout world civilization. Courses focus on broad regional and chronological categories.

3.3 Writing Internships: Writing interns coach undergraduates in how to write about art, assisting in faculty-taught sections of Art History 10100 and Art History 17000- and 18000-level courses (aka Art-in-Context courses). Limited to approximately 18 students, Art History 10100 and Art-in-Context courses are taught as discussion courses introducing undergraduates to visual art. As discussion-taught courses, these do not have supplementary weekly discussion sections; instead, they are typically complemented by a series of small-group writing seminars taught by the intern to develop the students’ skills in writing about art. While each instructor handles these courses differently, all share the goals indicated in the generic course description; see the generic and specific descriptions appended at the end of this section. The writing internship requires some training (described below, under Qualifications) that is valuable for any kind of future teaching.

Job Description: The chief responsibility of the writing interns is to assist faculty in teaching writing in our discipline and in the humanities more broadly. Because faculty will define that responsibility in different ways, the duties of each intern will vary somewhat. However, interns are expected to read the assigned texts and attend every class. They evaluate and comment on all student papers and meet with students who need extra help, holding weekly office hours. (It should be noted, however, that they do not replace the instructor as the sole evaluator of papers, but rather collaborate with the instructor.) Their typical role is to lead 80-minute writing seminars of about 6 students each (e.g., 3 per class group of 18) to discuss the student papers. Normally they conduct 2 to 3 sets of writing seminars per quarter. The time commitment averages about 15 hours per week but the time required varies considerably from week to week, depending on the schedule of writing assignments and writing seminars. Interns are not required to teach in class sessions, but are typically asked if they would like to prepare and teach one session, with the faculty member's involvement.

Faculty responsibilities to writing interns: While these positions require you to engage with undergraduates in particular ways, they are also opportunities for you to think about pedagogy in general and to consult with the faculty member in charge of the course. Although each course is likely to proceed a little differently from the others in its details, the faculty has drawn up a general checklist of things that you can expect as part of the working relationship in any course:

  • to discuss the course with the professor before it begins: a good guideline is to discuss the general plans for the course a month ahead (or as soon as you both return to campus in the autumn), and the syllabus a week ahead
  • to have a clear idea at the start of the quarter of your responsibilities and the dates when you will have special duties (e.g., grading, writing seminars)
  • to discuss whether you can hold a writing seminar by the third week to help you establish a relationship with the students. This could be a session reviewing a short diagnostic writing assignment or preparing students for a later writing assignment.
  • to have writing seminars identified on the syllabus as a course requirement
  • to be introduced and to have your role explained to the students at the start of the course
  • to discuss the grading policy and its rationale
  • to meet with the professor on a regular basis as the course proceeds.
  • to have supervision of, and receive feedback on, your contributions from the professor

If you feel that your working relationship with your professor or with your students is not effective in some way, it is expected that you will point this out and seek to resolve it with the professor. If there is a problem doing so, the Director of Graduate Studies is the appropriate resource in helping you to define and resolve such issues.

Compensation: $3,000 (plus tuition remission if in Advanced Residence) per quarter.

Qualifications: Applicants are expected to have taken the Little Red Schoolhouse course, Humanities 50000, Pedagogies of Writing in spring or summer preceding their first appointment, or to take English 50300, Principles of Teachin Writing in the fall quarter of the year they are first appointed.

Application materials typically include:

  • a completed application form
  • a vita
  • for first-time applicants only, your evaluation of a sample undergraduate paper, provided by the Department

Undergraduate catalog text description applicable to all 101 and art-in-context courses, although art-in-context courses also have individual, more specific descriptions:

17000 through 18999. Art in Context. Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. For nonmajors, any ARTH 17000 through 18999 course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts. Courses in this series investigate basic methods of art historical analysis and apply them to significant works of art studied within definite contexts. Works of art are placed in their intellectual, historical, cultural, or more purely artistic settings in an effort to indicate the origins of their specific achievements. An informed appreciation of the particular solutions offered by single works and the careers of individual artists emerges from the detailed study of classic problems within Western and non-Western art.

10100. Introduction to Art. For nonmajors, this course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts. Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and appreciation when dealing with a variety of visual art forms. It encourages the close analysis of visual materials, explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given work of art, and examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study of art. Most important, the course encourages the understanding of art as a visual language and aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Examples draw on local collections. Autumn, Winter, Spring

3.4 Lecturerships: Lecturers are advanced graduate students, finished with coursework and preferably the preliminary exams and dissertation prospectus, who teach (1) their own one-quarter sections of the discussion-format Introduction to Art (Art History 10100) or (2) a small-class-size version of a one-quarter 100-level introductory survey lecture course that they have helped teach or audited in the past, or (3) a one-quarter 200-level course on a topic of their choice appropriate for upper-level undergraduates. The 100-level courses fulfill the undergraduates' general education requirement in one of the “dramatic, musical, and visual arts,” and must be planned to serve the undergraduate with no prior experience in art history. They equip undergraduates with the basic skills and a sense of the types of questions and evidence that enable a critical reception of non-verbal expressions, particularly of art and visual culture. These courses may inspire undergraduates to major or minor in Art History. The 100-level survey courses also fill requirements for undergraduates majoring or minoring in Art History. The 200-level courses serve Art History majors and minors, as well as any interested undergraduate with at least one prior course in Art History.

Art History 10100: See the generic course description below for all sections of the course, from the College catalog. To create more consistency among the different sections while allowing a certain degree of instructor choice, the Department has designed a set of course “modules” from which faculty and lecturers may choose when establishing their individual syllabi. A module is a unit to be taught over 2 to 4 class meetings, designed to explore, through discussion as well as lecture, a single basic issue using particular works of art, readings, and possibly assignments. It may center on art from any culture and period (or combination) but must be accessible to beginning undergraduates and should be teachable by non-specialists. When possible, it incorporates works that can be seen firsthand in local collections, from the University's Smart Museum and Oriental Institute to the Art Institute and other Chicago resources. 101 lecturers have access to the 101 CHALK website with relevant course materials. They will be required to sit in on selected sessions of a faculty-taught 101 section and to participate in occasional staff meetings.

Surveys and 200-level courses: We especially welcome applications for surveys that will not be offered by faculty in the next year (a list is supplied with the call for applications). Applications are also welcome for any of the surveys usually offered by faculty, for any quarter in which faculty will not be teaching them. 200-level courses need not require the writing of a research paper but should allow for it, to enable Majors and Minors to meet a research paper requirement. The Department may announce a special interest in 200-level courses in areas related to those of faculty who will be on leave each year.

All these courses have a maximum enrollment of 20 undergraduates and meet twice a week for a total of three hours. Lecturers are responsible for all aspects of their course. Time commitment averages about 19.5 hours per week. While the course is being taught, a faculty member is assigned to mentor each lecturer, and will visit and discuss a class session by arrangement with the lecturer. The mentor also prepares a confidential teaching assessment for the lecturer's file, to be of help when the lecturer needs a recommendation addressing teaching qualifications.

Undergraduate catalog text description: 10100. Introduction to Art. For nonmajors, this course meets the general education requirement in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts. Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment. This course seeks to develop skills in perception, comprehension, and appreciation when dealing with a variety of visual art forms. It encourages the close analysis of visual materials, explores the range of questions and methods appropriate to the explication of a given work of art, and examines the intellectual structures basic to the systematic study of art. Most important, the course encourages the understanding of art as a visual language and aims to foster in students the ability to translate this understanding into verbal expression, both oral and written. Examples draw on local collections. Autumn, Winter, Spring

Compensation: $5,000 per course (plus tuition remission if in Advanced Residence)

Application materials typically include:

  • a completed application form
  • a vita
  • for a survey course or a 200-level course, a one-page course description outlining the themes and goals of the course; your pedagogical approach for communicating them; and types of assignments and your rationale for them. Should your course be selected, you will be required to submit a complete syllabus, including session titles, readings, and assignments, for approval to the Director of Graduate Studies by the end of the summer quarter. Your syllabus should be reviewed and approved by your advisor or other appropriate faculty member in your field prior to submitting it to the Director of Graduate Studies.

3.5 B.A. Preceptorships: Two advanced graduate students will be selected to co-teach the Senior Seminar autumn quarter and will continue to work with the students through winter and early spring quarters to facilitate completion of art history majors' B.A. papers. The expected upper limit in the number of students that preceptors should supervise is 15. Time commitment averages about 15 hours per week. Preceptors will inherit and may adapt the previous syllabus and are responsible for all aspects of the course. They will be mentored by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Undergraduate catalog text description: 29800. Senior Seminar: Writing Workshop. Required of fourth-year art history majors. This workshop is designed to assist students in researching and writing their senior papers, for which they have already developed a topic in the Junior Seminar. Weekly meetings target different aspects of the process; students benefit from the guidance of the workshop instructors but also are expected to consult with their individual faculty advisers. At the end of the course, students are expected to have completed a first draft of the senior paper and to make an oral presentation of the project for the seminar. Autumn

Compensation: $7,500, disbursed over 3 quarters (plus tuition remission if in Advanced Residence)

Application materials typically include:

  • a completed application form
  • a vita

3.6 Teaching Fellowships in the College for 200-level Lectureships: (salary: $5,000/course) Every year, the Art History Department invites advanced Ph.D. students to submit proposals to teach a new undergraduate course of their own design and nominates 1 or 2 applications for a Teaching Fellowship in the College. These fellowships are awarded through a division-wide competition. Fellows offer an upper-level undergraduate course on a topic of their own choice with a syllabus of their own design, teaching in their home department. The course may be taught in any of the three academic quarters. Successful proposals often offer an area or theme not normally available in faculty course listings and likely to have broad appeal to a diverse student body; they combine an exciting, teachable topic with thoughtfulness about how it will be taught. Applications require a course title, course description, and syllabus with readings, together with a vita, an approved dissertation chapter, and the name of a faculty member prepared to recommend your proposal. These syllabi can, of course, become the basis for courses you may apply to teach in the Art History Department or elsewhere, or items you may wish to include in teaching job applications. The Department's nominees have done well in these competitions. An announcement is made late in autumn quarter and applications are usually due to the department in early January. To be eligible, students must achieve A.B.D. status by January 31 of the academic year in which they apply.


3.7 Art History Department Teaching Colloquium (ARTH 50101): Led by a faculty member each fall, this seminar meets weekly for 80 minutes, to address various topics through discussion with visitors (especially department faculty members) and occasionally through discussion of assigned readings. On the premise that one learns the most about teaching not well in advance but rather by reflecting with peer and senior colleagues on techniques and problems when one is in the midst of the challenge, this forum is meant to address participants' specific concerns and experiences, especially those related to art history. The quarter's topics are determined with student input and may include: the structure of the art history college core course program in which all faculty and students teach; the jobs of course assistant and writing intern; instructor authority and classroom dynamics; leading discussion; effective lecturing; strategic use of pictures in classroom teaching; small-group class projects; designing and grading assignments; designing syllabi. From year to year, the colloquium may address similar topics but the emphasis and tips will change depending on the participants. The department requires third-year students to participate fully in the colloquium, register for credit, and earn a Pass. More advanced students who have previously taken the colloquium are welcome to return on an occasional or regular basis to share experiences, strategies, and to seek advice on new teaching challenges. Failure to satisfactorily complete the teaching colloquium and/or proposal workshop on schedule will result in an "I" and the requirement of retaking the class the next time it is offered. This "I" will not prevent the disbursement of regular GAI stipend funds, but will delay any department fellowship funding (for research travel, etc.) until the course is completed. Autumn Quarter. Required of third year students.

3.8 Center for Teaching and Learning: The Center for Teaching and Learning   ( helps new and experienced instructors increase their practical and theoretical knowledge of university teaching. The Center serves faculty and students teaching courses in the College and across the four Divisions.

The Center provides support to the University teaching community primarily through workshops, seminars, and conferences that address a variety of topics, ranging from theories of education to hands-on application of techniques, from basic teaching strategies to the use of new technologies. These programs focus on aligning theory and practice with the roles required of teachers in lecture halls, seminar rooms, and labs, across disciplinary and pedagogical settings. The Center also provides a number of resources, including a lending library of educational books, articles, and videotapes, a website which collects an assortment of useful information (related both to teaching at this University, in particular, and to post-secondary teaching, more generally), and the opportunity to receive feedback on one's teaching.

The Center offers an annual two-day workshop to orient new teachers to the University and discuss teaching skills and strategies. It is held in the week before fall classes begin, and it is strongly recommended for all students with first-time teaching appointments in the upcoming academic year. Details are available from the website. Be sure to check the schedule when making your plans to return for the new academic year in September.

3.9 College Writing Program: Students applying for writing intern positions are expected to have taken the Little Red Schoolhouse course, Humanities 50000, or Pedagogies of Writing, or to take the training seminar for art interns in the fall quarter of the year they are first appointed. A complementary source of teaching guidance is the course on the teaching of writing skills to college students, offered every spring quarter through the English Department as English 33000, Academic & Professional Writing. Details are available from the office of the College Writing Program. The email address is:


3.10 Teaching Opportunities in Other Units of the University: The most valuable experience for a prospective teacher of art history will be within the Art History Department. However, good opportunities are also available elsewhere in the University. You must let the Director of Graduate Studies know if you are applying to teach for courses offered at the University but outside of the Art History Department. Art History students have served as writing interns in the Humanities Core program, teaching in two- to three-quarter sequences of Core courses in the Humanities (see the annual College handbook entitled Courses and Programs of Study). These interns teach under the auspices of the College Writing Program, which also trains Art History Department writing interns. In addition, Art History students have worked as preceptors for degree candidates in the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH), working with MAPH candidates in small groups and individually as they prepare their M.A. theses.

Another source of opportunities is the University's Graham School of General Studies, which administers both continuing education courses for (mostly post-B.A.) adults and the Summer Session courses for undergraduates. With the approval of the Department Chair, you may propose an Art History 101 course for Summer Session or propose a course on a topic of your choice for the continuing education program. In either case, the offering depends on the registration that the course draws; if the minimum number of students does not register, the course is cancelled. The continuing education courses usually hold ten or so students who are older than typical college students, often with interesting work experience to bring to bear in discussions. Classes are intended to be discussions of readings. There are no papers or exams, so this is a course that gives you the chance to practice leading discussion. It is also a chance to teach “non-traditional” students, a valuable skill to cite in some job interviews. A good time to apply for these positions is around the middle of winter quarter. General information is available from the website:


3.11 Chicago-Area Art History Positions: For advanced students who are no longer on fellowship, teaching outside the University may offer financial support and broaden teaching experience. Frequently throughout the academic year, full-time and part-time teaching positions are available in Chicago-area art history programs. Watch the bulletin boards and artdepart listserve for postings or ask advanced students who have secured these positions for advice. Advanced Ph.D. students have been hired to teach introductory, survey, or upper-level art history classes in several departments that need short-term or temporary lecturers to fill in for full-time faculty away on leave or sabbatical.

In applying for these jobs, be sure to address your cover letter to the appropriate department chair (call the school to find out who that is) and include your C.V. Your letter should indicate when you will be available to teach, what your teaching experience to date has been, and why you are interested in teaching at the school (possibilities include wanting to keep in touch with teaching while you work on your dissertation, wanting teaching experience in a different environment and having a strong interest in teaching, which may have motivated you to go to graduate school in the first place).

You should try to send out applications of this sort in the spring. Most schools make their scheduling decisions in the spring and will know by June how many courses they will offer and if they will have openings. You should also consider making a follow-up call in the summer, or at the beginning of September. Finally, make another follow-up call in December, since it is typically at this point that schools realize they need people for the spring. Bear in mind also that some schools in Chicago are on a quarter system similar to ours, so there may be opportunities in spring quarter, as well.

Be careful when accepting part-time or adjunct teaching positions. You should carefully weigh the benefits of the teaching experience against the time it will take away from your dissertation. First-time teaching is stressful and often much more time-consuming than you might expect. Ask about what is really involved in planning and teaching the course and, if possible, contact a student who has taught the class before. He or she will be able to give you a better sense of the actual time required for preparation and grading.

The Chicago-area institutions where our students have taught include:

  • The American Academy of Art
  • Columbia College
  • De Paul University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Lake Forest College
  • Loyola University
  • Northwestern University
  • Roosevelt University
  • The School of the Art Institute
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Wheaton College

A list of Chicago area colleges and universities is available at CAPS.

Museum, Internship Opportunities

4. Positions at the Smart Museum: As part of its teaching mission, the Smart Museum offers several paid internships in the curatorial, education, and registration departments to University of Chicago students. These internships offer an excellent opportunity for students to become more acquainted with museum work, and to gain experience in preparation for a museum career. Interns generally work 10-15 hours per week. Intern positions are posted in the Department of Art History and on the Museum's website.

4.1 Rhoades Internship and Curatorial Course: The Rhoades Internship is an endowed position at the Art Institute that is held annually by an advanced graduate student in our department. During the Internship, the student is appointed to an appropriate curatorial department and works on a project related to his or her scholarly interests. The Internship carries compensation for 10 hours of work per week through the academic year. A call for applications for the Rhoades Internship is issued during spring quarter.

The Rhoades curatorial course is taught annually in our department by a curator at the Art Institute. It often involves class sessions at the Art Institute to study works firsthand.

Career and Placement Services

5. CAPS: The Career and Placement Services office (CAPS) offers programs and services designed to assist graduate students, graduate alumni, and postdoctoral fellows in career exploration and finding both academic and non-academic employment. A staff of full-time graduate counselors provides confidential help with everything from C.V. and resume review to self-assessment for a job search within or outside academia during one-hour counseling appointments and walk-in hours. See for more information.

University Resources for Students Needing Special Accomodation or Assistance

6. Counseling Center: The Student Counseling Service (SCS) provides mental health care to students. This care includes needs assessment, psychotherapy, psychiatric consultation, academic skills assessment program, support groups, referrals, emergency services, and health promotion. For more information, please see

6.1 Disability Services:

6.2 Other Emergencies: