Doctor of Philosophy in Art History (PhD)

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, two comprehensive examinations in minor and major fields, 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.

 

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Admission Information & Requirements

In order to apply to this program, the following components may be required.

Online Application

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

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. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitve process.

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.

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:

100
22
21
22
21
7.0
6.5
6.5
6.5
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.

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 supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

This program has not specified whether applicants should reach out to faculty members. Please review the program website for additional details.

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.

Citizenship Verification

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

Deadline Details

Application Deadline

Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.

Transcript Deadline

Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.

Referee Deadline

Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 10 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 13 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 18 January 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 10 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 13 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 18 January 2021

Tuition & Financial Support

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$106.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$944.51 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,954.00 (check cost calculator)
* 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

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 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 $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

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.

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.

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 direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.

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 Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator 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

 20192018201720162015
Applications3012201712
Offers55743
New registrations44433
Total enrolment3134322833

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 100% based on 6 students admitted between 2006 - 2009. Based on 8 graduations between 2015 - 2018 the minimum time to completion is 5.33 years and the maximum time is 9.00 years with an average of 7.04 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 10 March 2020]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. 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 [data updated: 27 October 2019].

Research Supervisors

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)
  • 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 (Cultural Industries, Modernism, Twentieth Century European Art, Formalism, Marxist Feminism, Marxism and Critical Theory)
  • McGeough, Michelle (Arts and Cultural Traditions, Indigenous art history, methodologies and Two-Spirit/Indigenous queer critique)
  • Monteyne, Joseph (Arts and Technologies, Renaissance/early modern art and print culture)
  • Pina, Manuel (Images)
  • 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 (Artist or Author Social Identity, Artistic and Literary Marginality, Artistic and Literary Movements, Schools and Styles, Social Movements, Canadian contemporary art, Queer art, Feminist art histories, Activism and visual culture, Performance studies, Movement culture)
  • Smith, Tai (Arts and Technologies, Economical Contexts, Modern and Contemporary Art and Design, media theory, Politics of Media and Mediation, Gender, Textiles)
  • Soussloff, Catherine (Art, Art History, European Art, Performance Art, Performance Studies, Art Theory, Aesthetics, Philosophy of art, historiography and theory of European art)
  • Thauberger, Althea (Photographic history/theory, Media philosophy, Biopolitics and institutional critique/reform, Settler decolonization, and site-based art and activism)
  • Watson, Donald Scott (Contemporary Canadian art, art issues and art theory)
  • Zeigler, Barbara (Visual Art (Print Media, Printmaking, Drawing, Installation Art, Video, and Collaborative/Public Art), Environmental Politics, Animal Studies, BC Salmon Populations )

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
2020 Dr. Jackson examined artist placements within industry and government in the U.K. and Western Europe from 1969-1976. Exploring themes of class, labor, time, and the political potential of art, Jackson proposed an alternative perspective of the relationship between art and politics during the 1960s and 1970s.
2020 Dr. Sengupta focused on retrieving the suppressed accounts of the histories of early modern kalamkari makers from the Coromandel region, India, and recognized their integrity. His study identified the cruciality of bringing the active presence of contemporary artisans into this investigation to reconstruct the agency of historical kalamkari makers.
2019 Dr. Sanchez explored the continuing impact of Samuel Beckett's literary and dramatic texts on contemporary art practices, focusing specifically on the works of three artists: Stan Douglas, Paul Chan and Tania Bruguera. She identified the "Beckett Effect" as politically and artistically significant in contemporary art.
2019 Dr. Arnadottir examined the emergence of contemporary artistic practices in Iceland through a study of the activities of the artist collective SUM from 1965 to 1978. She argued that Icelandic contemporary art is uniquely shaped by the country's historically peripheral status within the Danish empire and by the profound influence of romantic and nationalist discourse in Iceland.
2019 Dr. Vranic explored the terracotta sculptures from Northern Italy of life-size groups representing the Lamentation over the Dead Christ. This established a history for these works and provides a technical explanation of how they were created. Her work shows that the technology of making terracotta sculpture was a highly specialized practice in the Renaissance.
2019 Dr. Carter studied the role of art education after student revolt between 1968 and 1972 in the United States and France. She argued that at a moment when the traditional vehicles of activism failed, the university classroom became one place where artists and students alike could negotiate new forms of political resistance.
2018 Dr. Poon studied Canadian abstract painting in Toronto in the 1950s. She highlighted the artistic and practical strategies used by Toronto artists to establish themselves as the vanguard of modern painting in Canada. Her research considers the contributions made by Canadian artists towards the international world of modern art at midcentury.
2018 Dr. Muckart examined a series of sixteenth and seventeenth-century Church of England martyr portraits. Her study demonstrates how these prints and paintings emerged from and engaged with early modern conceptualizations of the English nation.
2018 Dr. Parent studied performance art in Vienna in the 1960s. She considered it to be symptomatic of a collective trauma, rooted in the body, and tied to cultural repression and capitalist exploitation. She argues that feminist actionist Valie Export's work exposed women as the disavowed worker body, which exacerbated fragmented social ties.
2018 Dr. Bell studied a missionary exhibition of First Nations art at the Vatican in 1925. Through an analysis of beadwork, statuary, and children's games, Bell presents a new historiography of the mobility of Indigenous visual culture drawing on Indigenous theories. This research illuminates the ongoing confluences of archives and Indigenous histories in Rome.

Pages

Further Program 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
 
 

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
10 January 2021
International Applicant Deadline
10 January 2021
 

Supervisor Search

 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form.

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