The doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania provides students with broad training in the history of art and its critical approaches, yet also focused training in their selected fields. Students completing the Ph.D. are well prepared for teaching positions at the university and college level and for curatorial positions in museums and galleries. Faculty work closely with Ph.D. students to outline an appropriate course of study and mentor students while preparing them for assistantships, curatorial internships, and other career orientations.
Admission to the program is by application to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, which administers full fellowship packages to all admitted students. (See the "Admissions" page on this site.) Both B.A. and M.A. students are eligible to apply. Students normally pursue coursework over their first three years and, once admitted to Ph.D. candidacy (following their area exams), devote their time thereafter to dissertation research and writing. Students entering the program with an M.A. may chose to accelerate their coursework at Penn to gain candidacy to the Ph.D. more quickly.
Students generally take three seminars in each semester; some of that coursework includes also pedagogical instruction when the student serves as a Teaching Assistant. To ensure a broad understanding of art's history, the Department asks students to follow two general distribution guidelines:
- students should take courses with at least eight members of the Graduate Group, four of which will be pre-1750 and four post-1750.
- students should take two courses with at least three members of the Graduate Group to ensure close mentoring with several professors.
Further details regarding the graduate program may be found in the Graduate Group Bulletin.