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Applicants to Master’s and Doctoral degrees are not affected by the recently announced cap on study permits. Review more details

Overview

Students in the PhD in Art History program are encouraged to situate art in its historical context, to analyze its impact on the world around us, and to develop theoretical frameworks that contribute to critical thinking and engage with debates in the field. The program involves coursework, two foreign languages, a comprehensive examination, dissertation proposal, roundtable presentation, doctoral dissertation, and oral exam.

What makes the program unique?

The Art History PhD program encourages high scholastic achievement, original research, and a firm theoretical grounding. Alumni of the program have made considerable contributions to teaching and research in universities, museums, and galleries worldwide.

Program Structure

The PhD program opens with the rigorous two-term required Methodology seminar led by two professors who are specialists in divergent areas. Seminar offerings within the Department are broad and diverse, and students are encouraged to take seminar coursework outside the Department as well. This typically provides our students with ways of complementing their art history courses either by pursuing their specialization or by extending the scope of their studies. We have well-established links with Social Geography, History, Anthropology, Women's Studies, the Institute of European Studies, the Institute of Asian Research, the Latin American Institute, and First Nations Studies, amongst others.

A successful PhD thesis is founded on high scholastic achievement, original research, and firm theoretical grounding. At the mid-stage of thesis research, PhD candidates share their findings with peers, faculty, and the public through a Round Table presentation to receive critical feedback.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Admission Information & Requirements

1) Check Eligibility

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement: 100

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 7.0

Reading

6.5

Writing

6.5

Speaking

6.5

Listening

6.5

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is not required.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Prior Degree Requirements

Normally, admission to the Ph.D. requires the completion of an M.A. in Art History, including reading knowledge of one language other than English. Students with master's degrees in related fields may be required to complete additional art history courses for their Ph.D. program.

2) Meet Deadlines

Application open dates and deadlines for an upcoming intake have not yet been configured in the admissions system. Please check back later.

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Art History (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

Citizenship Verification

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$114.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,838.57$3,230.06
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,515.71$9,690.18
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$1,116.60 (approx.)
Costs of livingEstimate your costs of living with our interactive tool in order to start developing a financial plan for your graduate studies.
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Financial Support

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

From September 2024 all full-time students in UBC-Vancouver PhD programs will be provided with a funding package of at least $24,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $24,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 12 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research, academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $33,966.
  • 8 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 8 students was $9,201.
  • 2 students received Academic Assistantships. Average AA funding based on 2 students was $2,735.
  • 12 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 12 students was $24,043.
  • 2 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 2 students was $20,000.

Study Period: Sep 2022 to Aug 2023 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Graduate Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their supervision. The duties constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is considered a form of fellowship for a period of graduate study and is therefore not covered by a collective agreement. Stipends vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.

Graduate Academic Assistantships (GAA)

Academic Assistantships are employment opportunities to perform work that is relevant to the university or to an individual faculty member, but not to support the student’s graduate research and thesis. Wages are considered regular earnings and when paid monthly, include vacation pay.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Estimator

Applicants have access to the cost estimator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Art History (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

ENROLMENT DATA

 20232022202120202019
Applications2020263131
Offers56335
New Registrations23334
Total Enrolment2227282931

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 75% based on 29 students admitted between 2011 - 2014. Based on 10 graduations between 2020 - 2023 the minimum time to completion is 5.34 years and the maximum time is 10.27 years with an average of 7.08 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each registration year, May to April, e.g. data for 2022 refers to programs starting in 2022 Summer and 2022 Winter session, i.e. May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023. Data on total enrolment reflects enrolment in Winter Session Term 1 and are based on snapshots taken on November 1 of each registration year. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Graduation rates exclude students who transfer out of their programs. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs.

Research Supervisors

Supervision

Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their thesis supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding thesis supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Art History (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.
 
Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.

 

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Adriasola Munoz, Ignacio Alberto (investigates responses by artists and intellectuals to the crisis of aesthetic and political representation triggered by the failed protests against the US-Japan Security Treaty of 1960, and in particular their reliance on depictions of the sexual and geographical margins in their articulation of an aesthetics of political disaffection.)
  • Claxton, Dana (film, video, photography, single- and multi-channel video installation, and performance art)
  • Georgopulos, Nicole (Art history and theory; French art; nineteenth-century art and visual culture; art and science; gender and early feminism)
  • Gu, Xiong (Fine Art. Transcultural identity and hybridity. Through the critical angle of visual art, my work encompasses other elements such as sociology, geography, economics, politics, literature; and finally, the dynamics of globalisation, local culture and individual identity shifts. These shifts do not merely constitute a simple amalgamation of two original subjects, but instead, seek to create an entirely new space., Installation, painting, drawing, photography, contemporary art theory)
  • James, Gareth (histories of iconoclasm in which the social divisions and inequities that mark and delimit artistic practice are registered most emphatically)
  • Makris, Georgios (Arts of Byzantium; Material culture and archaeology of monasticism; Dissemination and usage of portable objects across the eastern Mediterranean; Medieval monastic culture)
  • Mansoor, Jaleh (Art history and theory; Curatorial and related studies; Visual arts and media arts; Cultural Industries; Formalism; Marxism and Critical Theory; Marxist Feminism; Modernism; Twentieth Century European Art)
  • Monteyne, Joseph (Art history and theory; Curatorial and related studies; Visual arts and media arts; Arts and Technologies; Renaissance/early modern art and print culture)
  • Orell, Julia (History of Chinese Art; Landscape painting of the Song and Yuan dynasties; Construction of place, site, region, and empire in painting and other visual media; Art and the production of knowledge; Cultural and historical geography; History of cartography)
  • Peck, Alexandra (Social and cultural anthropology; Other studies related to history and archaeology; Art history and theory; Native tribes and First Nations in the Pacific Northwest; historical Northwest Coast art; Salish (Coastal and Interior) art; Anthropology/anthroplogical methods; Material culture, archaeology, museums)
  • Porto, Nuno (Self-representation of African identities in contemporary Afro-Cuban Art and in Kenyan photography, Modern and contemporary arts of Africa and the African Diasporas, Curatorship and social justice, Social museology, History of collections, Photography)
  • Roy, Marina (Intersection between materials, history, language, and ideology)
  • Salgirli, Saygin (architecture of fourteenth-century Bursa, the first Ottoman capital)
  • Shelton, Anthony (Mexican and Andean visual culture, critical museology, development of folk art, aesthetics)
  • Silver, Erin (Art history and theory; Curatorial and related studies; Visual arts and media arts; Activism and visual culture; Artist or Author Social Identity; Artistic and Literary Marginality; Artistic and Literary Movements, Schools and Styles; Canadian contemporary art; Feminist art histories; Movement culture; Performance studies; Queer art; social movements)
  • Smith, Tai (History of art and architecture; Art theory and analysis; Visual theory, visual culture and visual literacy; Arts and Technologies; Economical Contexts; Gender; media theory; Modern and Contemporary Art and Design; Politics of Media and Mediation; Textiles)
  • Thauberger, Althea (Art history and theory; Curatorial and related studies; Visual arts and media arts; Biopolitics and institutional critique/reform; Media philosophy; Photographic history/theory; Settler decolonization, and site-based art and activism)
  • Usher, Camille (Contemporary art; Indigenous visual culture; curatorial practices; Museum studies; feminism and performance; public art and graffiti)

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2024 Dr. Mellema studied Modern Art specializing in Marxist feminism. Her dissertation provides an account of how artists index socially reproductive labour, the daily labour needed to sustain human beings and social communities. Her dissertation provides a corrective to art historical accounts that have ignored gendered labour and working people.
2024 Dr. Ewé studied sound art since the 1960s, with a focus on artists who use sonic technologies to examine the role of the listener. They investigated how artists used cybernetics research to challenge the notion of the ear as a passive receiver of sound. Their dissertation contributes to the ongoing research in the history and theory of sound art.
2024 Dr. Gauvin studied photographs from the Great Depression held at the US Library of Congress. He examined how a subset of these photographs raise questions about the fragility of American ideals in the 1930s. This study presents these images as the missing link between early documentary photography in America and a competing Soviet documentary mode.
2023 Dr. Simpson examined the critical reception of video art in the 1970s. Focusing on a landmark and contentious essay diagnosing video as inherently narcissistic, he unpacked the stakes and consequences of this conclusion. The result is an argument for video as an instrument to critically examine expanded forms of clinical thinking and living.
2023 Dr. Stephens examined caricature within popular Parisian magazines of mid-19th century France. A major theme in his analysis is how caricaturists secretly used embedded worker's slang to carry hidden messages to evade censorship. His research significantly expands our understanding of the work of artist Honoré Daumier.
2023 Dr. Perez Montelongo studied South African photography since the 1960s, with a focus on black and white analog technologies. She investigated photographic practices that put a question mark on colonial ideas about the genre of landscape photography, both in South Africa and beyond. Her dissertation expanded the scope of the history of photography.
2023 Dr. Mackenzie's dissertation discusses some of the earliest visualizations of plants seen through a microscope. She explored the relationship between images and knowledge-making in the seventeenth century, at a moment where new ways of seeing were emerging in response to novel approaches for understanding and documenting the natural world.
2022 Dr. Sung examined the use of everyday objects and bodily actions in the art of Korea between 1960 and 1980. She demonstrated that the objects and actions as new materials and methods enabled participation of artists and art in the modernization, development, and decolonization of the country in the postwar time.
2021 Dr. Choi examined the works of modern and contemporary Korean diasporic artists and studied how they were intertwined with the dynamics of the global dispersion of Koreans. Her research accounted for the complexity of these works, and considered the issues that diasporic artists continue to address in the face of globalization and transnationalism.
2021 Dr. Jansen's research analyzes the absence of women's childbirth as a subject for medieval Christian art. Identifying the visual and textual mechanisms utilized to manipulate gender in the figuring of the Virgin and Christ demonstrates that the visual language of female procreation was displaced onto the male body of the crucified Christ.

Pages

Further Information

Specialization

Art History offers advanced study in the major periods of European and North American art, in certain areas of Asian art, and in the indigenous arts of the Americas.

Faculty Overview

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-B4
 
 
 
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