Graduate Students

Isabel Bishop, American, 1902-1988, The Noon Hour, 1935 Etching, sheet: 10 3/8 X 6 3/4 10.375 by 6.34 inches, Gift of the Class of 1931, 84.14Link to the Palmer Museum of Art Web Site.

The Department of Art History at Penn State offers graduate programs of study leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in art history. The department offers lecture/discussion courses and graduate seminars on a broad range of topics, from ancient to contemporary art and architecture in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, Oceania. Courses are also offered in museum studies, historiography, iconology, criticism, connoisseurship, and methods of research. Graduate courses are taught by thirteen faculty members and, three affiliate faculty members (who are curators in the Palmer Museum of Art).

VSTUD: Dual-Title Ph.D. Program Penn State’s interdisciplinary Visual Studies dual-title Ph.D. program brings together faculty and students from the College of Arts and Architecture, the College of Communications, and the College of the Liberal Arts. Faculty teaching in Visual Studies come from a wide range of departments, including Art History, Comparative Literature, English, French, German, Spanish, and Media Studies.

In a recent survey of graduates from our doctoral program, 95 percent of those who earned their Ph.D. since the year 2000 are employed in art history or a related field as of August 2015. Of these, 71 percent are teaching at the college level.  The other 29 percent hold such positions as museum curator, lead historian at a historic center, study abroad administrator in London, university librarian, post-doctoral fellow, and freelance art historian. Of those teaching at the college level, 67 percent hold tenure-track or tenured positions.

Our department is regularly invited to select graduate students to participate in major graduate student symposia, including the Middle Atlantic Symposium in the History of Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Graduate Symposium on the History of Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Penn State art history graduate students often present papers at scholarly conferences/symposia across the United States and abroad (for which the department provides partial financial support). The department’s George Dewey and Mary J. Krumrine Endowment helps support major publication projects of art history faculty and graduate students.

There are about ninteen graduate assistantships filled by graduate students in the Department of Art History each year. Qualified incoming graduate students may also be nominated by the department for University Fellowships, Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards, Graham Fellowships, and other awards. The department also has funds to help support graduate students in their research and travel related to their theses. The department awarded dissertation fellowships and travel/research grants totaling over $60,000 to graduate students each academic year.

The Department of Art History is a co-sponsor of Penn State's Summer Abroad program in Todi, Italy, in which graduate students may choose to participate.