Washington University in St. Louis is an exceptional place to pursue graduate studies in Art History and Archaeology. The Department of Art History and Archaeology has a long tradition of training students in areas of Classical Art and Archaeology, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture, Asian Art and Archaeology, and Modern and American Art (see below). Through our relations with the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, we also have additional strengths in visual art and design, and in the history, theory and practice of architecture. Our program currently has about 16 graduate students in residence, pursuing both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. We welcome students interested in working at either level, and due to our relatively small size, we are able to mentor our graduate students closely, and help prepare them for exciting professional opportunities. Recent graduates have accepted positions at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Gallery of Art, Auburn University, Covenant College, Wright State University, Northern Arizona University, Gettysburg College, Bucknell University, University of Illinois at Springfield, Ithaca College, Saint Louis Art Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kimbell Art Museum and Southern Methodist University, among others.
Resources and support
Our students enjoy the resources of an outstanding research university. These include, but are not limited to, various levels of support for tuition and living expenses. Our Ph.D. students generally receive at least five years of funding, some of which is in the form of Teaching Assistantships (which currently carry an annual stipend of $21,650 plus full tuition remission for the academic year 2014-2015), and some in the form of full fellowship support without teaching responsibilities, particularly in the first year and at an advanced stage of the dissertation. Even at the M.A. level, most students receive some assistance with tuition, and we help students locate part-time jobs in our Visual Resources Center, in the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, in the Art and Architecture Library, or elsewhere on campus. Advanced students may offer summer courses through University College to gain valuable teaching experience. This is an exceptional professional opportunity. We are also currently developing opportunities for graduate students to teach occasionally in Washington University's summer programs abroad; in Summer 2011 one of our Ph.D. students taught in the Washington University Summer Language Institute in the Loire Valley of France.
Graduate students at Washington University enjoy a professional environment with many benefits, such as subsidy of health insurance costs, and a policy for paid new child leave. The full text of the New Child Leave policy, along with information about other family resources, may be found here. Moreover, preferential rates and enrollment priority are given to graduate student parents at on-campus or affiliated child-care centers.
Curricular opportunities are rich. The Mellon Foundation funds a variety of exciting interdisciplinary seminars, both during the semester and in the summer. The Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has offered technology workshops to teach graduate students how to design and compose on-line course lectures. Summer research grants from the Graduate School and other sources have funded graduate student travel at both the M.A. and Ph.D. level. Students in recent years have received support for travel not only to research libraries and archives in the U.S., but also in Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, England and Greece, among others. We have recently been successful in increasing summer funding for all students in the program.
During the academic year, our graduate students frequently travel to give papers at professional conferences, supported with endowed funds from the Department of Art History and Archaeology. See the Research Financing section on this website for more details about these kinds of opportunities. Students who receive such support from the Department are required to present a “dry run” of the conference paper in our Works in Progress Series.
Students and faculty members in the Department have recently taken one or two field trips a year, to introduce our students to the rich museum collections, architectural attractions, private collections, and temporary exhibitions offered by other art centers across the country. Recent destinations include Seattle, Houston, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, and Chicago. The Department typically pays for transportation on these trips, and students join together to make accommodations extremely affordable.
Within individual areas of study, our students enjoy access to important resources across the campus. These include:
Our students in Asian art and archaeology enjoy excellent relations with the East Asian Studies program, and the Departments of History, Anthropology, and Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literature. The collections at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and our own superb research library in Asian art are other attractions for students in this area. The Visiting East Asian Professionals program at the university has brought Asian artists to campus several times, and the university’s strong ties with Chinese universities suggest future areas of collaboration.
Following the retirement of Sarantis Symeonoglou, the department welcomes Nathaniel Jones (Ph.D, Yale University), a specialist in the art of the Classical world, particularly Roman art.
Early modern Europe: Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque art
Students in Early Modern art have access to the extensive library collections at Washington University, including rare books and manuscripts, as well as the Vatican Film Library for manuscript studies at nearby Saint Louis University. Saint Louis also offers important public and private collections of Old Master prints.
American and Modern Art
Saint Louis is an excellent location for the study of modern and contemporary art. Students working in all areas of modern art enjoy access to the superb collections of 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century art at our own Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and in local private collections. Temporary exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts also offer a wide variety of approaches to and experiences of modern and contemporary art. An innovative internship for graduate credit at Saint Louis area arts institutions, including the Kemper Art Museum, allows our students in all areas to start doing museum internships under the co-supervision of local curators and a member of the faculty of the Department.
American art is a strength of the Department. We were among the first graduate departments to receive funding from the Luce Foundation to foster graduate study in American art. Students in this field may also apply for summer funding through the Lynne Cooper Harvey Fellowship in American Culture Studies, a distinguished interdisciplinary program that sponsors courses and lectures in the American field, and also offers a graduate certificate program. Graduate students in American art have also recently succeeded in winning research grants from CASVA, Winterthur and the Terra Foundation.
Working across university departments
Graduate students with interdisciplinary interests may take courses in other fields. After the first semester, interested students, in consultation with their advisors in the Department, may take up to one course each semester outside the Department of Art History and Archaeology. These have included courses in such Arts and Sciences departments as Comparative Literature, Romance Languages and Literatures, English, German, History, Philosophy, Anthropology and Classics, as well as courses in architectural history and theory offered in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. Many faculty members in these related areas have active interests in art, aesthetics, film, and visual culture. Graduate Certificates can be earned through additional coursework in such interdisciplinary programs as American Culture studies, Women, Gender and Sexuality studies, Film and Media studies and Urban studies.
Special Collections at Olin Library has rare materials of great interest to our faculty and students, including the newly organized Modern Graphic History Library. Departmental seminars are enriched by such objects as medieval books of hours, a letter by Michelangelo, volumes of French and English caricatures, and a fine collection of Karl Bodmer prints. Our students have opportunities to curate shows of these materials in the beautifully renovated facilities of this centerpiece of our campus’s intellectual life.
Our students organize a lecture series every year, bringing in several scholars. Typical visits include a lecture, a more intimate workshop the next day, and informal opportunities to speak with the guest.
Sam Fox School
In July 2006, the university inaugurated the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts. The programming of the Sam Fox School brings to campus a wide range of architects, designers, artists, historians, and critics working at the forefront of practice and theory in the arts. Various programs and curricular initiatives encourage our students with an interest in contemporary art and culture to take advantage of this interdisciplinary environment. Courses co-taught by Department faculty and Sam Fox School faculty are sometimes offered; the Department and the Sam Fox School have also co-sponsored visiting lecturers, such as Yve-Alain Bois in Fall 2009.
Graduate study in the Department of Art History and Archaeology can be pursued only as a full-time student during the fall and spring semesters; there is no provision for part-time or summer graduate study. Students interested in a part-time degree in the Humanities may look into the Master's of LIberal Arts offered by University College.
If you are thinking of applying to our graduate program, please consider getting in touch with the faculty members who teach in your areas of greatest interest (see the faculty pages of this website, and the list below). They can tell you more about the program, and you in turn can explore through these contacts if we might be the right place for you. If you call or email pertinent faculty members before you apply, your application will probably be more specific, and may have a higher chance of success.
Please note: Because we require that you take the first foreign language reading exam early in the first semester of graduate study here, please be sure to have one research language ready for use upon arrival at the university. If you have questions about which languages are suitable for your program of study, contact Professor John Klein, Director of Graduate Studies, email@example.com
Elizabeth Childs, Modern art and theory, especially 19th-early 20th century European, and global modernisms, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathaniel Jones, Classical art, email@example.com
John Klein, Modern and contemporary European and American art, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristina Kleutghen, Chinese art and architecture, email@example.com
Angela Miller, American art and visual culture, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ila Sheren, Contemporary art, email@example.com
William Wallace, Renaissance art and architecture, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the graduate program, please contact:
For information about the application process, a paper application form, and other related questions, please contact:
Nancy Rubin, Administrative Assistant