Graduate Programs

Washington University in St. Louis is an exceptional place to pursue graduate studies in Art History and Archaeology. The Department of Art History and Archaeology has a long tradition of training students in areas of Classical Art and Archaeology, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture, Asian Art and Archaeology, and Modern and American Art (see below). Through our relations with the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, we also have additional strengths in visual art and design, and in the history, theory and practice of architecture. Our program currently has about 20 graduate students in residence, pursuing both the MA and PhD degrees. We welcome students interested in working at either level, and due to our relatively small size, we are able to mentor our graduate students closely, and help prepare them for exciting professional opportunities. 

Doctoral and Masters Programs

The Department of Art History and Archaeology offers admission to the PhD program to qualified students holding either a BA or MA degree in art history or a closely related field. Students enrolling in the graduate program with the BA degree fulfill departmental MA requirements before being accepted to PhD candidacy; accepted students with an MA degree from another university will immediately enter the PhD program. The department also offers a terminal MA degree; its requirements are the same as those for students who pursue the MA/PhD track at Washington University.

 

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PhD Candidate Orin Zahra Interviewed for The Art Newspaper's "The Week in Art" Podcast

Orin Zahra discusses three photographs from the series SHE by Rania Matar.

Jenny Wu, left, Emily Bryan, right, in split screen zoom view

AM Students Emily Bryan and Jenny Wu reflect on challenges and achievements of a degree completed in a pandemic

Bryan and Wu started together in the department in the fall of 2019, and had just one normal semester before COVID changed everything. Here they recount how they made the best of a weird situation.

PhD Candidate Kirsten Marples giving gallery talk at the Saint Louis Art Museum

The Graduate Experience

Graduate Students Works in Progress Series (WIPS)

The Graduate Students Works in Progress Series (WIPS) provides a forum for the presentation of original research to the department community. The series also includes professional development sessions on topics including: writing conference paper proposals; navigating the academic and museum job markets; and publishing in art history and archaeology. WIPS normally meets four to five times a semester, on Fridays from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

contact DGS for more information

Research Funding

The Department of Art History and Archaeology makes funds available each year to enhance the professional development of our students. Graduate students are invited to submit proposals for funding to assist with their research and travel costs, conference fees, and publication expenses. As a rule, the Department considers these grants as a means of completing research for the PhD dissertation, or for presenting papers at professional conferences.

learn more about research funding

Travel Seminars and Field Trips

The Department of Art History and Archaeology provides robust travel opportunities to its students. The Travel Seminar Program enriches the classroom experience through on-the-ground opportunities for students to explore art in the cities and museums where their coursework is centered, including past trips to Mexico City (2015 and 2019) and London (2019), and a planned seminar in Rome for 2022. The Department also regularly hosts field trips, which in the past have included visits to galleries and museums in New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago, Detroit, and Washington D.C., among many vibrant cultural hubs.

Past Seminars and Field Trips

Funding & Financial Aid

Our students enjoy the resources of an outstanding research university. These include, but are not limited to, various levels of support for tuition and living expenses. Students accepted into the PhD program who remain in good standing are guaranteed six years of full funding in the form of University Fellowships, with an annual stipend of $26,256 (2019-20) and full tuition remission. First-year PhD students receive a University Fellowship with no instructional responsibilities.

more financial support information

We support our graduate students

Graduate students at Washington University enjoy a professional environment with many benefits, such as subsidy of health insurance costs, and a policy for paid new child leave. Moreover, preferential rates and enrollment priority are given to graduate student parents at on-campus or affiliated child-care centers.

Curricular opportunities are extensive. The Mellon Foundation funds a variety of exciting interdisciplinary seminars, both during the semester and in the summer. The Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has offered technology workshops to teach graduate students how to design and compose on-line course lectures. Summer research grants from the Department of Art History & Archaeology have funded graduate student travel at the Ph.D. level. Students in recent years have received support for travel not only to research libraries and archives in the U.S., but also in Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, England and Greece, among others.

During the academic year, our graduate students frequently travel to give papers at professional conferences, supported with endowed funds from the Department of Art History and Archaeology. See the Research Financing section on this website for more details about these kinds of opportunities. Students who receive such support from the Department are required to present a “dry run” of the conference paper in our Works in Progress Series (WIPS).

Students and faculty members in the Department have recently taken one or two field trips a year, to introduce our students to museum collections, architectural attractions, private collections, and temporary exhibitions offered by other art centers across the country. Recent destinations include Seattle, Houston, Philadelphia, Boston, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Kansas City and Chicago. The Department typically pays for transportation on these trips, and students join together to make accommodations extremely affordable.

meet our alumni

Learn how our graduates are impacting the world. 


contact us

If you have questions, please reach out to Nate Jones, the director of graduate studies.

Contact Nate Jones