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About the Graduate Program

The Department of Art History offers a graduate program that explores cultural, formal, and theoretical concerns central to the visual arts. Incoming classes are kept small to ensure a close working relationship between students and professors. A particular strength of the program is the faculty’s range of research interests. Academic concentrations include the art and architecture of: ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the Americas; Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Europe; modern and contemporary art and architecture in Europe, the United States, and Africa. Through the department's close relationship with programs in Classics. African-American studies, African studies, women's studies, film studies, history, and comparative literature, students can readily incorporate an interdisciplinary focus into their coursework and research. The program emphasizes both broad education in the history of art and highly developed specialization. Students have the opportunity to develop teaching skills through the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity (TATTO) program. Every incoming student is awarded financial support which covers tuition and provides a stipend for five years (subject to annual review).

Graduate Exchange Program with the Art History Institute of Leiden
The Art History Department has initiated a graduate exchange program with the Art History program at the University of Leiden. Entitled "Exchanging Bodies of Knowledge," this program allows our students to spend a term at a European department. (Conversely, art history graduate students from Leiden have the opportunity of visiting our department for a term.) At the host institution, students take seminars or tutorials, working closely with distinguished faculty of their choice. In Leiden, seminars are conducted in English. Students are charged no tuition, fees, or other administrative costs, and their travel and living expenses are funded by the Art History Department. They generally become eligible in their second or third years of graduate study. Since Leiden is exceptionally strong in the fields of ancient, early modern, and modern/contemporary art, we send students who are training in these fields.

The Art History Department is located in Carlos Hall, a building of considerable architectural distinction on the main quadrangle. Designed in 1916 by Henry Hornbostel, Carlos Hall was remodeled in 1985 by Michael Graves, who later designed the adjacent Michael C. Carlos Museum. For use in teaching and student presentations, the department maintains a collection of approximately 185,000 images, in the process of being converted from slide to digital format. Within Carlos Hall, graduate students have their own study room, the Lyman Center, and there is also an Art History Reading Room in Woodruff Library. Woodruff Library and Pitts Theological Library house substantial holdings of books and periodicals for the study of art history. The Carlos Museum and the High Museum of Art provide excellent internship and curatorial opportunities.

In addition to the requirements listed on the Admissions page of the Laney Graduate School, the Art History Department requires a writing sample of approximately 20 pages.

The deadline for applications for the Art History graduate program for Fall 2013 is January 3, 2013. Click here to request or download an application.

Fields of Study

Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome

Candidates who enter this field study the ancient art and architecture of Egypt, Greece, and Rome with Professors Gay Robins, Bonna Wescoat, and Eric Varner. The newly reinstalled and growing collections of Emory's Carlos Museum, adjacent to the Art History Department, strongly support this concentration and provide students with opportunities to become involved in organizing exhibitions and engaging in original research under the supervision of their advisors and Dr. Jasper Gaunt, Curator of Greek and Roman Art and Adjunct Assistant Professor, and Dr. Peter Lacovara, Curator of Ancient Egyptian Art and Adjunct Assistant Professor. Fieldwork is highly encouraged and supported with opportunities to participate in excavations in Samothrace, with which Professor Wescoat is affiliated as a research scholar. Dr. Lacovara has included graduate students in his excavations in Egypt and is developing plans to dig at the Middle Kingdom town at Kahun and the New Kingdom palace-city at Gurob in the near future.

Ancient Americas

Students interested in the art of the ancient Americas, from the borders of the United States southward before 1600, work with Professor Rebecca Stone, who is also Faculty Curator of Art of the Ancient Americas at the Carlos Museum. Over 2,000 pieces available for original research and museological applications in this collection -- ranging from Mesoamerican ceramics to over 600 Costa Rican sculptures to Andean metalwork and textiles -- constitute an important resource. Doctoral supervision emphasizes Central and South American art over Mesoamerican, Emory being one of three programs in the country with this focus. Elsewhere at Emory, Colonial Latin American courses are offered by Professors Susan Socolow and Bianca Premo of the History Department and Karen Stolley of the Spanish Department.

Medieval Europe

Under the guidance of Professor Elizabeth Pastan, students studying the art of the Middle Ages can take advantage of course offerings throughout campus, including: History (Professor Stephen White); Religion (Professors Mark Jordan and Lyndon Reynolds), Romance Languages (Professor Claire Nouvet), and English Literature (Professors John Bugge and James Morey). The Art History Department's summer program in France offers opportunities for graduate students to teach and study in Paris. Meetings of the Medieval Studies Roundtable provide a forum where scholars discuss and present issues in the field, and Professors Pastan and White regularly offer a seminar on Methods in Medieval Studies. Owing to the research interests of medievalists on campus, the art and the culture of the High Middle Ages (12th-14th centuries) is the strength of the curriculum.

Renaissance and Baroque Europe

Students interested in Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture study with Professors Jean Campbell, Walter Melion, and Sarah McPhee. The department has fine resources in this area, having acquired the holdings of the Suida-Manning Library. The department’s particular strengths are in Italian art and architecture and Northern art and art theory from the late Middle-Ages through the seventeenth century. Outside the department, we draw strength from the course offerings of Professors Sharon Strocchia (Late Medieval and Early Modern History) and Giuliana Carugati (Early Italian Literature). Through the Lovis Corinth Endowment, the department sponsors international symposia on topics in Northern art and works closely with European centers of scholarship in Dutch, Flemish, and German art.

Modern and Contemporary

Students interested in modern and contemporary European and American art work with Professors Judith Rohrer (Modern and Contemporary Architecture) and Todd Cronan (Modern and Contemporary). Students interested in African art from the nineteenth century to the present or from earlier periods work with Professor Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi. Students in all of these fields are encouraged to develop their expertise and critical skills in collateral areas of the humanities as well as through regular participation in interdisciplinary seminars and other forums on campus. Collections, exhibitions, and programs at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and Carlos Museum offer additional opportunities for intellectual exploration and professional development.

Western Architecture

Students interested in the history of western architecture may pursue this subject by studying with Professors Wescoat, Pastan, McPhee, and Rohrer. Courses in CAD (Computer Aided Design) are occasionally taught in the department and students are encouraged to take advantage of the Architectural Library and Lecture Series at nearby Georgia Tech. During the summers there are opportunities for graduate students to serve as Teaching Assistants and Apprentice Archaeologists in departmental programs in France, Italy, Spain, and Greece, as well as internships closer to home at the Atlanta Preservation Center and at the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

Graduate Program Requirements

The doctoral program aims at preparing students to be productive scholars and effective teachers. The program is designed to take five or six years, depending on the student's preparation. The requirements for the Ph.D. are:


Students complete three years of coursework (six semesters of three courses each semester or 72 hours), including the required seminar in theory and methodology. Students entering in advanced standing complete two years of coursework. All students participate in a three and one-half day teacher training workshop conducted by the Graduate School and a departmental teaching tutorial (2 credits per semester) during the first year in which they serve as teaching assistants.

Language Examinations

Reading knowledge of two research-related languages (usually French, German, Spanish, or Italian) is required of all Ph.D. candidates, and, for specific subfields, additional language facility may be required.

Master's Essay

During the second year of formal coursework, each student expands a seminar paper into a qualifying paper which should meet the scholarly standards of a publishable paper. The master's degree is awarded when students have been advanced to candidacy upon completing the Ph.D. examination.

Doctoral Examination

The Ph.D. examination covers a major and a minor field in art history. In consultation with major and minor advisors, the student determines the precise scope of the fields and topical emphases. Students generally take the examination at the end of the third year or the beginning of the fourth year in residence.


The dissertation is a substantial and professional work of original scholarship. At the outset, a committee, usually chaired by the major field advisor, assists the student in preparing a dissertation Prospectus, which explains the research project and identifies the principal sources and methodologies to be employed. Committee approval and an oral defense of the dissertation are required.

Click here to view the complete graduate handbook.


All doctoral students participate in the Graduate School's program, TATTO (Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity), designed to develop student expertise in teaching. This means that in their second year, students teach sections of the art history survey, and third-year students assist a faculty member in teaching an upper division course. Students entering with a master's degree in Art History teach sections in their first year and assist with an upper level course in their second year. Dean's Teaching Fellowships are available competitively through the Graduate School in the fifth year for students admitted to Ph.D. candidacy.

Affiliated Resources

The Michael C. Carlos Museum

The Michael C. Carlos Musem constitutes an invaluable resource for the graduate program in art history. Its collections include approximately 17,000 works of art from ancient Egypt and the Near East, classical Greek and Rome, the ancient Americas, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as European and American drawings, prints, and photographs. The exhibition schedule includes major international and traveling exhibitions, in addition to smaller student-generated displays. A number of museological opportunities are available to graduate students including curatorial assistantships, directed studies, and museum internships.

The High Museum of Art

The art history department maintains a relationship with the High Museum of Art in midtown Atlanta. Its collections feature European and American fine and decorative arts of the fourteenth through twentieth centuries, African art and contemporary western art. Additionally, the museum hosts several international exhibitions annually.

Click here to request or download an application.

For more information, contact :

Director of Graduate Studies
Art History Department
Emory University
581 S. Kilgo Circle, 133 Carlos Hall
Atlanta, GA 30322