Doctoral students must complete 72 credit hours, of which 27 may be transferred from the MA program at the University of Pittsburgh or 24 from MA programs at other institutions. At the PhD level, 9 credits (3 courses) beyond the MA degree must be completed in art history or in a discipline relevant to the student’s program of research. These 9 credits (3 courses) must be taken at the 2000 (graduate) level. All other required credits for the PhD may be fulfilled through additional coursework or independent studies directed toward comprehensive exam and prospectus preparation, and dissertation research. The final requirement for the degree is the successful defense of the dissertation.
The core course in Methodology (HAA 2005 ) and Historiography (HAA 2007 ) are required of all PhD students. Students matriculating from the MA degree program must take the course at the MA level before entering the PhD program. Students entering the PhD program from another institution may be required to take the courses in their first two year of residence.
Competence in two second languages relevant to the student’s program of research is required for the awarding of the PhD degree and must be verified through appropriate language training or department exam before the student is admitted to candidacy. Students matriculating from the MA program must have already completed one of these language requirements before being admitted for PhD study. Students entering the PhD program from another institution must provide proof of competence in at least one second language within their first term of residence. Depending on the student’s field of study, more than two second languages may be necessary to carry out advanced research. In such cases, additional language study may be required as determined by the student and his or her dissertation committee.
PhD students normally take their comprehensive exams in the fourth year of residence (for students entering the program with an MA from another institution, in the second year of residence) and after they have completed their coursework requirements. The exams cover three areas, which are formulated by the student and his or her doctoral committee working in consultation with one another. The comprehensive exams are designed to ensure that the student has sufficient knowledge of the field to carry out the dissertation and to teach in one or more broadly defined areas.
After passing the comprehensive exams, the student must prepare and defend to his or her doctoral committee a dissertation prospectus. The prospectus is a detailed description of the proposed dissertation topic, its central scholarly problem, its contribution to the field, and how the research for the project will be conducted. The prospectus defense is intended to demonstrate that the student is ready to carry out independent research for the dissertation.
The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and open to the University community.