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The University of Minnesota's Doctoral Program in Art History is a linked MA/PhD program. We accept all incoming students through the MA program (important to note when you start navigating the university's application system). Applicants with the necessary preparation holding a BA or an MA are equally encouraged to apply and every incoming class normally consists of students with both backgrounds.

While the Department of Art History does not accept students directly into the PhD portion, if you have completed an MA or graduate work at another institution, once accepted you will be able to apply up to 40% of your coursework towards UMN's MA program requirements, contingent on approval by the Director of Graduate Studies. This will allow you greater flexibility during your funding period.

The Department of Art History accepts admissions to the program for fall semester only. Your application must be completed by January 1.

The University of Minnesota uses a paperless application system. All application materials, including unofficial transcripts, are to be submitted online via the University of Minnesota Graduate School's ApplyYourself website ("Start or Resume Your Application Online"). Admission decisions will also be communicated to the applicants using this system.

For more information on graduate admissions at the University of Minnesota, check the Graduate School Office of Admissions. Information on undergraduate admissions is available from the Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Please note that Professors Catherine Asher and Gabriel Weisberg are currently on phased retirement and will not be available to advise new students.

Application Checklist

  1. University of Minnesota Online Graduate Application. This web page provides important links for prospective applicants, including a link for starting or resuming your online application.

  2. GRE scores. GRE scores are required by the Department of Art History. Scores of at least 160 are recommended. The exam is administered via computer and the scores are sent to the Graduate School approximately 10 days after the exam is taken. However, the exam is offered on a first come, first served basis, so it is best to take the exam well in advance of the admissions deadline. If the exam scores are not received by the admissions deadline, the application will not be considered.

  3. Transcripts. Include transcripts from every post-secondary institution attended, including study abroad programs and community colleges. If the institution uses a non-traditional grading system, include any available information that would allow for comparison to an A-F grading scale. Include current and prospective course registration information, if available. Unofficial transcripts or academic records should be uploaded directly to the online application. Please do not mail in paper copies of your transcripts, there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review. If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of this material. More information about transcripts and credentials.

  4. TOEFL Scores. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores are required for international students by the Graduate School. The minimum acceptable score on the paper exam is 550; the Internet based exam is 79 total (21 writing, 19 reading); the computer based exam is 213.

  5. Statement of Objectives (Personal Statement): Please upload your personal statement under "Application Statements" (Statement #1). Please provide a statement outlining your interest in pursuing a PhD in Art History. Indicate immediate educational and long-range career objectives. Outline as specifically as possible the proposed area of study within the field of art history. Indicate faculty members with whom you are interested in working. You may also wish to include other information, such as any undergraduate research experience, internships, or other experiences you may have had to document your preparation for advanced study in your chosen field. Statements of purpose should be no more than 1,000 words.

  6. Letters of Recommendation. Solicit three letters of recommendation from individuals best able to comment on your potential to succeed in an academic graduate program. Letters from art history instructors are most suitable. Letters from business supervisors often do not provide sufficient indication of graduate study potential. Letters must be submitted electronically through ApplyYourself. Applicants are strongly encouraged to follow-up with recommenders to ensure timely arrival of the letters of recommendation.

  7. Research Paper. Include one substantial research paper (10+ pages), preferably in the area of art history. If one substantial paper is not available, submit two smaller research papers. The work will be evaluated for the skill and promise it demonstrates in the areas of research, writing, and critical analysis. You may upload your paper(s) under the "Writing Sample" portion on the Graduate Program Supplementary Information section of the ApplyYourself online application. If you wish to include additional materials (such as published articles or a CV) you may also upload these attachments in the Graduate Program Supplementary Information section.

  8. Application Fee. Please check with the Graduate School Office of Admissions for the current rate.