PhD in Art History and Archaeology

The PhD program in this department is considered one of the foremost in the country. The doctoral degree is offered in a wide range of fields from Ancient West Asian (Near Eastern) art and archaeology to contemporary art and critical theory, with most of the major fields in between strongly represented: Greek and Roman; western Medieval and Byzantine; Italian, French, and British Renaissance and Baroque; eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth- and twenty-first-century European art; and the history of photography.

There is considerable strength in the history of architecture, as befits a university with the foremost architectural library in the country. The Department is also proud of its strengths in art outside of Europe and offers degrees in art and architecture of the Americas until 1550 (“Pre-Columbian”), American art, and in the arts of China, Japan, India, the Lands of Islam, and sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, courses are regularly taught in Native American art.

About fifteen students are accepted each year for the PhD program. All admitted students receive full funding, including tuition and stipend. Standard fellowships are for five years, and involve teaching or other types of department service during at least three of the five years. Students are very often successful in obtaining further support from competitive fellowships offered by Columbia, as well as from the various national fellowship competitions.  In addition, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences makes summer stipend support available for up to five years to students who maintain good academic standing.

Students intending to study for the doctoral degree should apply directly to the PhD program. (The MA and MPhil degrees are awarded en route.) However, there are also several independent MA programs of approximately two or one and a half years duration.