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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Program Enquiries

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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

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
02 October 2020
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 02 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 03 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 08 January 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 02 January 2021
Transcript Deadline: 03 January 2021
Referee Deadline: 08 January 2021

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 10 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 13 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 18 January 2022
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 10 January 2022
Transcript Deadline: 13 January 2022
Referee Deadline: 18 January 2022

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

Instructions regarding 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$108.00$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)$969.17 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,242.00 (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 8 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 8 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 5.33 years and the maximum time is 9.00 years with an average of 7.25 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: 29 October 2020].

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
2015 Dr. Steinmann analyzed video works by artists Melanie Gilligan and Hito Steyerl through the lens of what Michel Foucault called biopower. She argued that these works show how biopower shapes the neoliberal subject through surveillance and documentation. Her work demonstrates that this politically engaged art offers new insight into biopower.
2015 Dr. Horacek studied central European art from the late 16th and early 17th centuries. She examined the fusion between art and knowledge as imbued in artefacts that were collected and exchanged as gifts by monarchs of that period. Her research brings forward the socio-political agency of works of art and how they mattered to people who exchanged them.
2015 Dr. Chehab studied developments in seventeenth-century Spanish painting. She examined the emergence of the genre of still-life painting in relation to more traditional forms of religious imagery, and argues that still life functioned as a forum for pictorial experimentation. This research broadens our understanding of Spanish imagery of this period.
2013 Dr. Chang assessed a group of similar paintings produced in 16th-to-18th century China. She proved that they visualize many upper- and middle-class people's changing and diverse views of an ideal society. Her study establishes the art-historical value of the paintings, and argues for copying as a form of improvised new creation rather than mere imitation.
2012 Dr. Ikeda used the framework of fascism as a lens through which to understand art and visual culture in wartime Japan. Her study highlighted Japan's intellectual and artistic dialogues with Germany and Italy during the period of extreme nationalism and military conflict and showed how fascism was disseminated through art production and cultural institutions.
2012 Dr. Liu studied the resurgence of the popular woodblock printing industry in China dating back to the 1980s. In challenging folk art discourses that relegate Chinese printmaking traditions to the past, Dr. Liu examines the prints in their lived contexts, as tied to ritual practices, lineage identities, and livelihood.
2011 Dr. Carr studied the architecture of Indian Residential Schools to show how they were designed to subvert the cultural, economic and political life of Indigenous populations. Dr. Carr's research also suggests the need for sustained commemoration of residential school buildings and history, to improve relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.
2011 Dr. Kameda-Madar examined the ideological workings of cultural networks in the Tokugawa period in Japan by surveying a range of visual representations of the Orchid Pavilion Gathering. Her study showed how pictorial motifs promoted class permeability and contributed to the dynamism of identity formation.
2009 Dr. Windover examined socio-political consequences of Art Deco architecture and design. He showed how this interwar style, while appearing fashionably new, ultimately reinscribed pre-existing social hierarchies. Situating Art Deco within networks of international economic and cultural exchange, his work provides new ways to approach the subject.
2008 Dr. Magrill studied the business of building churches in nineteenth-century Canada and its relationship to evolving patterns of taste and commerce. He found that pattern books of churches imported to Canada, and used in the design process, linked religion, economy, and taste.

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
 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

September 2021 Intake

Application Open Date
02 October 2020
Canadian Applicant Deadline
02 January 2021
International Applicant Deadline
02 January 2021

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
15 October 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
10 January 2022
International Applicant Deadline
10 January 2022
 
Supervisor Search
 

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