Programs / Graduate
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Professor Emeritus, T.J. Clark. Photo: Erin Babnik.
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Judith Stronach Graduate Travel Seminar to London and Madrid, 2012
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Graduate students William Coleman and Cristin McKnight Sethi in the History of Art/Classic Library
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Berkeley Art Museum, UC Berkeley
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Professor Todd Olson at the British Museum. Judith Stronach Graduate Travel Seminar to London and Madrid, 2012.
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Assistant Professor Sugata Ray in the classroom

Program Requirements

Two Stage Integrated MA/PhD Program

Stage I


Post-BA students must take a minimum of eight four-unit courses in Stage I (introductory language courses do not count). At least six of these must be seminars taken with five different faculty members in the Department. History of Art 200, the Proseminar, is required of all entering students, regardless of any previous historiography or methodology classes. History of Art 300, Teaching for GSIs , is required for all Graduate Student Instructors.

Post-MA students are expected to take six seminars, four of which must be in the History of Art department. They must also take the Proseminar. History of Art 375, Teaching for GSIs, is required for all Graduate Student Instructors.

Language Requirements

Two languages other than English as determined in consultation with their faculty advisor. Newly admitted students are encouraged to discuss with their planned advisor which languages are most suitable for their program of study. In some cases, summer study before the fall of Year One is recommended.

The language requirements may be satisfied in three ways : 
(1) At least one language requirement must be met by passing the departmental language examination;
(2) One language requirement may be met by passing an advanced literature course in the source language with a grade of B or better,
(3) One language requirement may be met by two years of college-level coursework in the language with grades of “B” or better taken in the previous five years. The final course in the sequence must be taken at Berkeley.

Departmental Language Exams
The departmental language exams are given three times a year: the week before classes begin in the fall and spring semesters, and during the last week of spring semester. No language exams are given during the summer. Each exam is two and a half hours long and consists of two passages. The first passage is approximately 200 words, which must be translated into idiomatic, accurate English. The second passage is approximately 600 words and must be summarized into an English paragraph of approximately 200 words. Sample exams are available in the department office.

All incoming graduate students must sit for at least one exam the week before their first semester.

Students who fail a language exam are required to retake the exam each time it is offered until a passing score is achieved. Students who fail the language exam that they take when they first arrive are expected to enroll in courses during their first semester and continue taking courses until the departmental examination is passed.


Petition to Advance to Stage II/Qualifying Paper


  1. Prepare Qualifying Paper in close consultation with the  first reader. The first reader is the faculty member, who taught the seminar in which the paper was first written. For specific instructions on the Qualifying Paper (See Graduate Handbook)
  2. Have primary advisor recommend second reader, and get that reader’s approval of paper.
  3. See the graduate advisor for recommendation on a third reader. The third reader will read the Qualifying Paper after the submission to the department.
  4. Complete petition to proceed and turn in to Graduate Student Services Advisor by the designated deadlines (See Handbook).


Stage Two


Dissertation Prospectus/Colloquium

Students beginning stage two prepare a written proposal defining the scope, approach, and rationale of the dissertation. The student now formalizes the choice of dissertation advisor(s), who consult on the preparation of the prospectus, helping the student devise a plan of study toward the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam. (see Appendix D. for “Guidelines on Writing a Dissertation Prospectus,”) Further discussions and suggestions take place at a colloquium, scheduled four to six months prior to the qualifying examination. The Colloquium Committee, nominated by the student and approved by the Graduate Advisor, consists of two or more faculty members from History of Art and one or more from an outside department (all must be members of the Berkeley Academic Senate) for a total of four members. At the colloquium, the examination’s exact scope is reviewed and determined. This involves selecting a general field for the exams, special topics, and a related outside subject, providing the appropriate background for dissertation research.


Qualifying Examination

The examination is conducted by a five-member committee nominated by the student and advisors. Paperwork must be filed with the Graduate Division prior to the Qualifying exam; please see the Graduate Student Services Advisor for the appropriate forms. The committee is normally the Colloquium Committee plus a chair chosen by the student. The exam has two parts: a four hour written portion and an oral examination, held approximately one week later. The examination tests the student’s basic knowledge of a general field, detailed knowledge of special topics within it, and the ability to integrate studies in an appropriate outside field with work in the History of Art. [See Appendix E in the Departmental Handbook, “Guidelines for the Qualifying Examination for the Ph.D. in History of Art.”] Upon passage of the qualifying exam, students must immediately file for doctoral candidacy with the Graduate Division. Please see the Graduate Student Services Advisor for the appropriate paperwork. All students must advance to candidacy by June 30 of their fourth year. Exceptions to any of the stated requirements concerning membership on a Colloquium, Qualifying Exam, or Dissertation Committee must be approved by the Graduate Advisor.

Click here for Graduate Division’s definition of the Qualifying Examination.



The dissertation is a book-length study of a problem in the history of art. The dissertation is written under the supervision of a committee nominated by the graduate advisor in consultation with the student. The committee consists of three Academic Senate members from the Berkeley campus. One committee member must be from an outside department. Dissertation chapters should be submitted to the committee, together with appropriate illustrations, as they are written. The committee must receive the entire dissertation, including illustrations, at least three months before the filing deadline.

Annual Review of Ph.D. Candidates

All dissertation stage doctoral students must meet annually with at least two members of the committee to review and evaluate dissertation progress and plan for the next year. Students who are not in residence are expected to do this via email or videoconference. The Head Graduate Advisor will request an annual report on progress that is put together by the graduate student in consultation with their dissertation chair.

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