PhD in Art History and Archaeology

Admission Contact Information

Michael Yonan (
365 McReynolds Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-6711

About the PhD

In the Doctoral Program, students deepen their exploration of art history or classical archaeology and demonstrate their ability to carry out original scholarship.

The department advises doctoral students in the following areas of study:

  • Greek Art and Archaeology
  • Roman and Late Antique Art and Archaeology
  • Early Medieval Art and Archaeology
  • Late Medieval Art
  • Renaissance and Baroque Art
  • 18 th Century Art
  • 19 th Century Art
  • 20-21 st Century Art
  • American Art
  • Architectural History

Admission Criteria

The department accepts as candidates for the PhD students who have earned an MA or its equivalent in art history or classical archaeology, either from the University of Missouri or from an institution recognized by the university. An MA thesis is a prerequisite for the PhD in both art history and classical archaeology. The Doctoral Program Committee (see below) determines the acceptability of work completed elsewhere.

Students completing an M.A. degree in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at the University of Missouri-Columbia who want to continue for the Ph.D. must be accepted for advising by a faculty member who is a member of the doctoral faculty. Such students should submit a statement of purpose and a current CV to the department by the January 18 deadline. After they are accepted for advising, they need to submit a “ Change of Program, Degree, Emphasis or Advisor Form” to the Graduate School.

Required Application Materials

All application materials must be submitted directly to the Graduate School though its Apply Yourself online application system. Applications will not be considered complete until we receive the following:

  • Official transcripts or mark sheets from each university or college you have attended
  • GRE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation concerning academic qualifications to undertake graduate work
  • A short statement of the applicant’s professional goals and reasons for applying to do graduate work in art history or archaeology
  • A copy of a recent term paper as a sample of the applicant’s scholarship and writing, and
  • Curriculum vitae

Financial Aid from the Program

Incoming students are considered for funding when they apply to the program. Returning students submit applications for continued funding in the spring semester.

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Graduation Requirements


The Graduate School requires a minimum of 72 hours for the PhD. At least 42 of those hours must be completed after the receipt of MA. Up to 30 hours from a previous institution can count toward the total of 72 hours. Most students will take more than the minimum number of courses and requirements

The 42 hours must include:

  • At least one course from the following four areas—Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance, 1500-1850, and 1850-Present—unless students have taken an equivalent at the MA level.
  • 27 hours of courses in the major areas. At least 12 of the 27 hours must be seminars at the 8000 level.
  • 15 hours of coursework in the minor areas. At least 6 of the 15 hours must be taken at the 8000-level

The student’s program of study is determined in consultation with the Doctoral Program Committee.The Doctoral Program Committee is constituted in October during the first year of study. It consists of at least four people: the student’s advisor; two additional scholars from within the department; and an outside committee member. The committee:

  1. Reviews the student’s MA thesis and determines it equivalency;
  2. Accepts any transfer of credit from previous institutions;
  3. Approves the plan of study;
  4. Determines the major and minor areas as well as the scheduling of the comprehensive exams;
  5. Approves the subject of the student’s dissertation;
  6. Examines the student’s dissertation.


All students must demonstrate reading knowledge of two foreign languages, usually German and a Romance language relevant to their area. Departmental language exams are offered in the fall semester of each year, although students can request an examination in the spring semester. Language requirements may be satisfied also by achieving a grade of B or better in a course approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

In addition to the modern languages, students in classical archaeology must demonstrate reading knowledge of both Greek and Latin. This requirement may be satisfied by passing with a grade of B or better in a course numbered 7500 or higher in both Greek and Latin and by taking a second course at this level (7500 or higher) in the language more closely related to the major field of study. Equivalent courses taken at other institutions must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination in the major and minor areas of art history and archaeology, determined by the student and the doctoral program committee, consists of both written and oral examinations.


The dissertation is expected to be an original, scholarly contribution to the discipline. The topic must be approved by the advisor and the Doctoral Program Committee. A dissertation proposal should be filed with members of the committee within two months of passing the comprehensive exams. A proposal for a dissertation fellowship will satisfy this requirement.

Individual chapters are generally submitted to the advisor as they are written. Other members of the Doctoral Program Committee may also criticize them in draft form. A complete, revised draft of the dissertation must be approved by the advisor at least two months before the defense. Students should distribute the final draft to each member of the committee at least one month before the defense.

Students maintain continuous enrollment by registering for 9080 or 9090 and by submitting a progress report to the Graduate Student Progress System and their advisor each term. Dissertation advising is not normally available during the summer unless previous arrangements have been made.

Further guidelines, including available areas of doctoral study, are included in the department’s website.

Dissertation Defense

The final examination will be in the form of an oral defense of the dissertation. It must take place on or before the penultimate Friday of classes. Any changes recommended by the committee during the defense must be made and approved before the finished thesis can be submitted to the Graduate School. Students are responsible for ensuring they meet the deadlines and guidelines established by the Graduate School for dissertation submission and graduation.

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