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The Ph.D. program in Visual Arts accepts only applicants seeking a Ph.D. degree. It is the policy of UCSD to admit new students in the fall quarter only. Prior to matriculation, students must have obtained a bachelor’s or master’s degree in art history, art practice, or another field approved by the departmental committee on graduate studies, such as (but not limited to) history, literature, anthropology, or philosophy.
Applicants must submit their academic transcripts, scores on the Graduate Record Examination, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose (no more than 750 words), and a sample of written work (e.g., senior honors thesis, M.A. thesis, or other research or critical paper, preferably in art or media history). A GPA of at least 3.00 overall and 3.50 in a student’s undergraduate major are required. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for international applicants. Applicants must have a good reading knowledge of at least one language other than English at the time they enter the program.
Please note that no application will be processed until all required information has been received. Students should submit applications with the application fee to the Office of Graduate Studies at https://gradapply.ucsd.edu/. The Statement of Purpose and letters of recommendation must be submitted online along with the application. Unofficial transcripts can be submitted electronically via the Office of Graduate Studies Graduate application, but if accepted into our program you will be required to submit official transcripts.
Once you apply via the Office of Graduate Studies Graduate Application at https://gradapply.ucsd.edu/ you will be able to access our Visual Arts department Portfolio website to upload your writing samples and images (for ART PRACTICE concentration).
The application deadlines, for all portions of the Official UCSD Application, and the Visual Arts Portfolio are:
PhD in Art History, Theory & Criticism: January 9, 2013
PhD in Art History, with Art Practice Concentration: January 11, 2013
DO NOT SEND ANY HARD COPY APPLICATION MATERIALS, TRANSCRIPTS OR PORTFOLIO ITEMS AS THEY WILL NOT BE REVIEWED.
Generous funding packages are possible for highly qualified students. Upon recommendation of the department, several types of financial aid are available: full or partial remission of fees and tuition, fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and readerships. Graduate students are eligible for one or a combination of the different forms of financial support.
All students will apply for and be admitted to the Ph.D. Program. An M.A. degree may be awarded to continuing Ph.D. students upon successful completion of the following: (1) at least twelve four-unit courses, including VIS 204, Re-Thinking Art History, and two seminars from the group VIS 210–219; (2) a three-hour written examination in a designated field of emphasis (see “Examinations” below); (3) one language examination; and (4) an M.A. thesis. The M.A. is not automatically awarded; students must apply in advance to the Ph.D. graduate advisor and in accordance with university procedures, no later than the first two weeks of the quarter in which they expect to receive the degree.
Students interested in an M.A. only are not admitted to our program.
For additional questions on our program and the admissions process, please email