AdmissionAdmission to all programs is granted through the Graduate School in conjunction with the Department of Art History; all applicants must meet the requirements of both. Interviews are strongly encouraged.
All applicants must complete the department’s supplemental application form, which may be obtained by writing: Graduate Programs, Art History Department, Von KleinSmid Center 351, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0047.
Complete details for all graduate programs can be found in the Guidelines for Graduate Studies in Art History, obtainable upon admission.
Areas of ConcentrationGreek and Roman Art and Archaeology, Medieval Art, Renaissance Art, Baroque Art, 18th and 19th Century European Art, Modern and Contemporary Art, Chinese and Japanese Art, Latin American art and art of the ancient Americas.
Master of Arts, Art HistoryThe department does not accept applicants for the Master of Arts in art history. Although the M.A. is not offered as a terminal degree, but only en route to the Ph.D., a student may be eligible for the M.A. on leaving the program after two years. A minimum of 32 units is required for the degree, and the student must pass the second year review which includes the departmental equivalent of a thesis: a revised seminar paper demonstrating original thought, research skills and writing proficiency. The opportunity to gain experience as a teaching assistant is available on a competitive basis. Transfer work applicable to the M.A. program must have been completed within seven years of the date of application.
Degree RequirementsA minimum of 32 units, usually taken during a two-year period, is required for the Master of Arts in Art History, to be distributed as follows:
|AHIS 500||Methods and Theory of Art History||4|
|Additional 500-level courses||28|
Course DistributionCourses will be at the 500 level; 400-level courses may be accepted with approval of the graduate advisor. No more than two seminars with the same course number can be taken for credit toward the master of arts. AHIS 500 normally must be taken in the first semester of study.
Foreign Language RequirementAll candidates must pass a reading proficiency examination in one language, normally French or German. Substitutions may be made upon faculty recommendation and approval of the chair of art history when it is deemed appropriate to the student’s course of study (i.e., Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, etc.). The language requirement should be completed by the end of the first year.
Certificate in the History of Collecting and DisplayThis program, open to University of Southern California Ph.D. students of art history as well as qualified students from other USC departments with written permission from their home department and the Department of Art History, is devoted to the study of the history of collecting and display of works of art and related materials across a broad chronological and geographical spectrum.
The program provides a means of advancing knowledge about the presentation, circulation and consumption of works of art, as distinct from the more traditional art historical investigation of the conditions surrounding their production. Additionally, this program is designed to remedy a widely perceived disjunction between the ways art history is practiced in the museum and the academy. Each academic department will determine the number of units completed which may be applied to the student’s graduate degree in that department.
|AHIS 501||Problems in the History and Theory of Collecting and Display||4|
|AHIS 504||Museum Research Assistantship||1|
|Two of the following courses:|
|AHIS 502||Markets, Value and the Institutions of Art||4|
|AHIS 503||Categories and Collections||4|
|AHIS 550||Art, Business and the Law||4|
Graduate Certificate in Visual StudiesThe field of visual studies encompasses a diverse range of images and artifacts as well as the history, processes and technologies of vision itself. This certificate will provide Ph.D. students with the tools necessary to think critically about visual objects and experience and to apply that thinking to their ongoing scholarly work and doctoral research. Students will combine the sustained analysis of specific representations with attention to broader philosophical frameworks and historical conditions.
Graduate students intending to concentrate in visual studies must be admitted to a Ph.D. program at USC. While fulfilling all the requirements for their departmental graduate degree, they may also earn a certificate of competency in visual studies. To receive this certificate, students must take MDA 501 Introduction to Visual Studies: Methods and Debates, a team-taught MDA 599 course, and two other graduate seminars from an approved list of relevant courses, 500 level and above, for a total of at least 16 units. Directed research may not be taken toward certificate requirements.
In addition to the completion of these course requirements, students must demonstrate a focus on visual studies as part of their doctoral dissertation. Alternatively, they may take an oral examination based on three research papers they have written within the context of their visual studies course work. The oral exam will be administered by faculty members affiliated with the visual studies graduate certificate. Faculty will be responsible for judging the adequacy of the visual studies component in the student’s dissertation or oral examination.
|Certificate Requirements (8 units)||Units|
|MDA 501||Introduction to Visual Studies: Methods and Debates||4|
|MDA 599||Special Topics||2-4, max 8|
|Approved Certificate Courses (8 units)|
|AHIS 501||Problems in the History and Theory of Collecting and Display||4|
|AHIS 505||Seminar in Feminist Theory and Visual Culture||4|
|AHIS 515||Seminar in Contemporary Art||4, max 16|
|AHIS 529||Art, Science and Technology||4|
|ANTH 502||Contemporary Theory in Anthropology||4|
|ANTH 576L||Anthropological Media Seminar||4|
|ANTH 577L||Advanced Anthropological Media Seminar||4|
|ANTH 602||The Anthropology of Popular Culture||4|
|COLT 640||Seminar in Literature and Visual Culture||4, max 12|
|COMM 544||The Arts and New Media||4|
|COMM 584||Seminar: Interpreting Popular Culture||4|
|CTCS 511||Seminar: Non-Fiction Film/Video||4|
|CTCS 518||Seminar: Avant-Garde Film/Video||4|
|CTCS 677||Cultural Theory||4|
|EALC 535||Proseminar in Chinese Visual Culture||4|
|ENGL 502||Contemporary Literature and Cultural Theory||4|
|ENGL 620||Literature and Interdisciplinary Studies||4, max 12|
|FA 551||Fine Art and Interdisciplinary Studies||4, max 12|
|GERM 581||Weimar Culture||4|
|HIST 520||Modernity and its Visual Cultures||4|
|HIST 620||Research Seminar on Modern Visual Culture||4|
|PAS 575||Practice of Public Art||2-6, max 12|
|PAS 585||Public Space, the Public Realm and Public Art||3|
|SLL 665||Seminar in Russian Culture and the Arts||3, max 9|
|THTR 525||Seminar in Contemporary Theatre||4|
|THTR 535||Seminar in Aesthetics of the Theatre||4|
Doctor of PhilosophyThe doctor of philosophy in the Art History program normally requires at least three years of course work and two years of dissertation research. Applicants may be admitted directly into the program after receiving the B.A. Other applicants may already hold an M.A. in art history or the equivalent from USC or another accredited school.
Every student will be subject to departmental screening procedures, which involve periodic review by the art history graduate committee. The committee may recommend at any time, after a written warning, based on a student’s grades, evaluation of instructors or rate of progress toward the degree, that a student be dropped from the program. Such recommendations will become effective at the end of the semester during which the recommendation is made.
Application deadline: December 1.