History of Art and Architecture

Curriculum & Training

The PhD program is designed to foster both intellectual and professional growth.  The curriculum not only trains for area specialization but for intellectual breadth: we expect our students to ask significant questions that will interest scholars and students in a variety of fields inside and outside the discipline.  Our new program of research constellations is designed to spur this kind of significant and innovative inquiry.  

Graduate students will work closely with faculty to insure that they acquire foundational knowledge of artistic production in an historical and geographical area, but will assemble dissertation committees from the research constellations in which faculty operate. The goal is to produce work that displays command over a particular historical and geographical area, and at the same time contributes to the ideas that give life to the department’s constellations. Curriculum requirements and teaching assistantships also give students the opportunity to study and learn broadly, and they are expected to study outside the History of Art and Architecture department to begin framing the kind of interdisciplinary questions that both teaching and scholarship increasingly demand.

Our program also places an early emphasis on pedagogy and the cultivation of a strong teach portfolio.  We expect every one of our graduates, for example, to be able to teach a college-level introduction to world art. We are also highly attentive to the professionalization of our graduate student scholars, and we expect all of them to graduate with a substantial cv. The department offers workshops, courses, and mentoring on both proposal writing and grant writing.  Recent PhD students have placed their work in publications such as Athanor, Nineteenth Century Art Worldwide, and October, and have won external grants from the Fulbright, DAAD, Japan Foundation, CCK Foundation, and Metropolitan Museum.

Teacher Training

HAA has an ongoing goal to ensure that every graduate student emerges from the PhD program with an excellent teaching portfolio. The department has a vigorous training program for graduate student-teachers of art history, which includes a course in pedagogy strongly recommended for all new teaching assistants or fellows, or recquired for those teaching "stand-alone" courses. The course not only introduces students to principles of active learning in the classroom, but also helps students prepare a sample syllabus and a teaching statement to form the core of their teaching portfolio.

In addition to teaching recitation and writing sections for full-time faculty, graduate students have an unusual number of opportunities to design and teach their own courses, both during the academic year and in the summer term. These "stand-alone" courses become crucial elements of the students' teaching portfolios. Faculty observe classrooms to give constructive feedback to graduate student instructors. For recitation and writing sections, this is the job of the faculty instructor; for "stand-alone" courses, PhD advisors handle the observations in order to write strong and specific letters of recommendation in the future. An annual grad student teaching prize is awarded to recognize students who have developed especially outstanding portfolios and teaching records.

Graduate Students must produce teaching portfolios to advance to candidacy.  They will do so in the context of the pedagogy seminar. Thereafter, they should include the teaching portfolio with the materials they send to their Ph.D. committee for their annual meetings. Ph.D. committees are encouraged to give further feedback to the student as appropriate--as the student's thinking about pedagogy evolves, as the student readies him or herself for the job market, et cetera.

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