Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.)

Contents

A. General Requirements and Definition of Degree Stages

B. Breakdown of Requirements and Credit Distribution

1. Overview

2. Credit Distribution for students entering with an MA

C. Information on the M.A. for Ph.D. Candidates

D. The Qualifying Examination

1. Timing

2. Exam Format

3. Committee and Evaluation

4. Bibliography and Preparation

 E. Dissertation Proposal Preparation and Defense

1. Timing

2. Format of Proposal

3. Composition of the Committee

4. Procedure for the Proposal Defense

F. Dissertation and Advising

1. Advising

2. Dissertation Committee

3. Dissertation Defense

4. FInal Semester: Recommended Timetables for Defense and Filing

5. Research Credits

G. Language Requirements

H. Academic Standing

1. Grade Point Average

2. Incomplete Courses and Course Repetition

3. Completion of Periodic Progress Reports, Self-Evaluations, and Individual Development Plans (IDPs) 

 

A. General Requirements and Definition of Degree Stages

The school of graduate studies at Rutgers mandates a minimum of three years of full-time study for the PhD, consisting of two years of coursework (48 credits), and at least one year of research (24 credits), culminating in the dissertation. Most students, particularly in the humanities and social science, require more than three years to complete all requirements. In the PhD program in Art History, most students require either two or three years to complete coursework and a minimum of two or three years to complete fieldwork and writing for the dissertation.

The PhD program has three distinct stages.

  • Coursework Stage (48 credits): This is the stage at which students complete their 48 credits of coursework. Of these, 36 credits must consist of semester courses. The remaining 12 credits may be used for preparation for the qualifying examination and the preparation of a dissertation research proposal. Students entering after having completed an MA degree at Rutgers or elsewhere may transfer over up to 24 credits towards the requisite 48 credits. As a result, students entering with an MA can typically complete the pre-candidacy state in two years. Those entering with only a BA typically complete this stage in three years.
  • Advancement to Candidacy: Advancement to doctoral candidacy occurs after the student has completed all required semester courses, completed their language training, and successfully passed both the oral and written portions of their qualifying examination.
  • Dissertation (ABD Status) (24 credits): Students advance to ABD status after successfully defending their dissertation proposal.

B. Breakdown of Requirements and Credit Distribution

1. Overview

The Ph.D. degree is granted upon the successful completion of 72 credits,  The credits should be distributed as follows.

  • 48 credits of coursework, typically broken down as follows
    • 36 credits of semester courses (12 courses total), one of which must be the mandatory first-year graduate-level Approaches to Art History (16:082:506)
    • 6 credits of study for Qualifying exam
    • 6 credits for Dissertation Proposal Preparation
  • 24 Research Credits, taken after official advancement to candidacy (ABD status)
  • Demonstration of proficiency in two second languages

 2. Credit Distribution for students entering with an MA

Students entering the program with an MA can shorten the length of time to degree by transferring credits from earlier graduate programs. The Graduate School permits the transfer of a maximum of twenty-four (24) credits from other institutions toward the Ph.D., all of which must be in art history and at the graduate level, with a grade of B or better. Students can transfer credits after the completion of four courses (12 credits) at Rutgers by filing the Transfer of Credit Application, found as a pdf on the SGS website (https://gsnb.rutgers.edu/resources/graduate-student-forms), with all requisite materials. Please note that the Graduate School does not offer transfer credit for independent study or for thesis research and writing earned at another institution.

At Rutgers 1 term course = 3.0 credits. If the credits are being transferred from an institution that uses a different system of tabulation for calculating course credits, please be sure to include proof of equivalency with the application to ensure that the proper number of credits are approved.

If a total of 24 credits is transferred, the distribution of courses is typically adjusted as follows.  [Please note that the number of semester courses and transfer credits may be adjusted, but the total number of coursework credits should not exceed 48.]

  • 48 credits of coursework, typically broken down as follows
    • 18 credits of semester courses (6 courses total), one of which must be the mandatory first-year graduate-level Approaches to Art History (16:082:506)
    • 24 credits tranferred from the M.A.
    • 3 credits of study for Qualifying exam
    • 3 credits for Dissertation Proposal Preparation
    • 24 Research Credits, taken after official advancement to candidacy (ABD status)
  • Demonstration of proficiency in two second languages

C. Information on the M.A. for Ph.D. Candidates

Students in the doctoral program who wish to obtain an M.A. during the course of their studies may apply to obtain the degree through the non-thesis option once they have completed their Qualifying Exam and 10-day paper. They should complete sections B and C on the “Application for the Degree” form.

Ph.D. Candidates who are considering leaving the program prior to advancing to candidacy can obtain an M.A. through one of two routes.

 Thesis Option:

Students who are considering continuing their studies at a future date or at another institution may opt to complete a year-long M.A. thesis. The requirements for this path are identical to those for the M.A. program in Art History. The student must take 8 courses (24 credits) at Rutgers, including the Graduate Approaches to Art History. In addition, the student must complete 6 credits of Research, which are to be spent writing the M.A. thesis. For additional information on the distribution of credits and expectations for the thesis, please consult the departmental requirements for the Art History track within the M.A. program.

Essay Option:

Students who are simply seeking a terminal degree without the intention of continuing on to Ph.D. level research may opt to write a shorter M.A. essay instead of a full year thesis. In most cases, the MA essay should be a revised version of a seminar paper. However, in exceptional circumstances, it may be a new research paper. The essay should be approximately 20-25 pages in length, excluding footnotes and bibliography. The essay should be developed in consultation with a faculty adviser, who must sign off on its eligibility for fulfilling the M.A. degree (Section B on the “Application for the Degree” form).

Once the advisor approves the essay, it must be reviewed by a committee of three faculty members, two of whom serve as close readers, one of whom ideally should be the faculty member for whom the original paper was written. The Graduate Program Director should act as the de-facto third reviewer and committee member. In the event that the GPD is already a reviewer, the Chair of the Department should step in to review the essay and provide the third required signature. In the event that both the GPD and Chair are already reviewers, a third faculty member from the department should be selected to act as a third reviewer and signatory. The paper should be submitted to the full committee no later than April 15 for the conferral of an October degree, March 1 for a May degree, or November 30 for a January degree. Once it is approved, all three members of the committee should sign Section C on the “Application for the Degree” form.

D. The Qualifying Examination

1. Timing

In the semester following the completion of all course requirements, the student should begin preparing for their qualifying examination. Depending on whether a student enters the program with an MA, this typically happens in a student’s second or third year of the program. During the semester of their preparation, they should register for an independent study with their advisor using the course number 16:082:503 (fall) or 16:082:504 (spring). The exam should be taken within six months of completion of coursework, normally no later than the beginning of the second semester after the completion of coursework. Doctoral students must complete the language requirements before taking the qualifying exam.

2. Exam format

The examination is a field exam, designed to prepare the student for teaching as well as to offer the student an opportunity for surveying the state of research in his or her field. The qualifying exam is not intended solely as a preparation for the dissertation. However, the oral part of the examination will include historiographical and methodological content as relevant to the student’s intellectual interests.

The exam itself consists of two parts.

1. The first is an oral exam, approximately two hours in length. The oral exam is typically based on slides and is designed to test the ability of students to grapple with visual material in sophisticated and historiographically informed ways.

2. The second part is a ten day paper, approximately 20-25 pages in length, to be administered after the successful completion of the oral examination. The questions for the ten day paper are typically sent to the student at 9:00am on the Friday after the oral examination is completed and is due 10 days later, typically on a Wednesday by 5:00pm. [During COVID, the timetable has been modified to accommodate the difficulty of accessing libraries. Students receive the questions on a Monday at 9:00am and submit their response two weeks later, on a Monday by 5:00pm.] The topic of the paper, which is assigned by the committee, is designed to assist students with formulating concepts and methods for their dissertations. The ten day paper must be read, evaluated, and approved by all the members of the committee.

3. Committee and Evaluation

In consultation with the adviser, the student will select a committee for the qualifying examination. The complete committee should consist of at least four examiners. At least three must be full or associate members of the graduate faculty, including the adviser who normally serves as chair. A fourth member may be selected from outside the program faculty. If the core committee consists of only three members, then the GPD should serve as a de facto fourth examiner. If the GPD is serving on the committee in any capacity, then another full member of the graduate faculty (usually the chair or another member of the department’s executive committee) should be selected to approve the results and sign for the Graduate Director on the Qualifying Examination Form.

The examination committee must be established at least four months before the anticipated date of the examination. Once the committee has been established, the student should fill out Part I (“Qualifying Examination”) of the Application for Admission to Candidacy form, downloadable from the SGS website (https://gsnb.rutgers.edu/resources/graduate-student-forms), and provide the form along with the names of their examiners to the student coordinator and the GPD. The form will be circulated promptly for signatures and submitted to SGS after the final written portion of the exam is passed. Upon submitting the form to SGS, the student officially passes into candidacy status for the Ph.D.

A student who fails a portion of the qualifying exams may take one or both portions again within a year.

 4. Bibliography and Preparation

Once the committee has been established, the student will meet with its members separately to develop preliminary bibliographies and then consult with their advisor to streamline the list. The advisor should consult with the other members of the committee before establishing a full bibliography. All members of the examination committee should review the entire bibliography before it is approved. The length of a bibliography can vary significantly depending on the specific constellation of fields, but a complete bibliography ideally should include no more than 100 substantial readings. Once the bibliography is established, the student could meet with their committee members periodically to discuss ideas and issues resulting from the student's preparation. Students, in consultation with the committee members, may choose themes to guide their studies. Students are responsible for talking explicitly with their committee members about expectations for the exam. Faculty, in turn, are responsible for ensuring that they are clear in articulating their expectations of students.

If the student would like to define a minor field, they can do so at this time in consultation of with committee members. The minor field may correspond with a speciality of one of their examiners. Or it may be defined across fields through a designated portion of their bibliography.

E. Dissertation Proposal Preparation and Defense

1. Timing

During the semester after passing the qualifying exam, a student begins preparing their dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal should be defended no later than the beginning of their fourth year of the program. While preparing their proposals, Ph.D. candidates should register for between 1-6 credits of 16:082:705 (Research Proposal in Art History) in order to bring their total number of coursework credits up to a total of 48 credits.

2. Format of Proposal

The dissertation proposal should be understood as an initial attempt to formulate the dissertation project, develop a central argument, articulate the intellectual contribution, situate the project within a scholarly context, assess the source material and archives, and to lay out a sequence of chapters. The student should work closely with his/her advisor(s) to determine the project’s feasibility and to obtain feedback on preliminary drafts.

The dissertation proposal should be understood as an initial and exploratory attempt to formulate the dissertation project. The project should be an effort to:

  • disclose a fundamental problem which previous scholarship has either overlooked or failed to resolve;
  • suggest how a proposed line of inquiry (a conceptual approach, but also a program of research) may illuminate this problem.

The proposal should be between 2100 and 3,000 words and include bibliography consisting of works both read and unread.

3. Composition of the Committee

The committee must consist of the advisor and two additional full or associate members of the graduate faculty in the department of Art History.* In some circumstances, the outside reader for the dissertation may be invited to join the proposal defense, at the adviser’s discretion. Typically, the defense committee should continue on as the student’s dissertation committee.

[*Additional information concerning member status of the graduate faculty can be found in the bylaws for the Graduate Program in Art History.]

4. Procedure for the Proposal Defense

The dissertation proposal defense should occur no later than twelve weeks after successful completion of the comprehensive exam, or in the first weeks of the fall semester in the case of a summer break. The adviser will be responsible for consulting with the student on the preparation of the proposal and for reading drafts generated in that process. The additional members of the dissertation committee may be approached during the writing of the proposal, or when it is completed.

The proposal should be circulated to the entire committee at least two weeks in advance of the meeting. During the defense, the student should prepare a short 5-10 minute presentation of the project, following which will be an in-depth discussion of the written proposal. Once the proposal has been approved, the student should submit the Dissertation Proposal Approval form, available on the Art History department webpage, and a copy of the proposal to the GPD via the Student Coordinator and placed in the student’s file. Should the student's topic of research alter significantly, a revised dissertation proposal must be submitted at the earliest possible date.

Although the proposal defense is intended as a closed-door meeting, upon consultation with the adviser, the student may wish to invite other faculty members from within or outside the department to participate in the meeting. However, approval of the dissertation proposal shall be exclusively decided by the committee.

F. Dissertation and Advising

1. Advising

The Graduate Director serves as academic adviser for all students in the beginning of their graduate careers and generally oversees their distribution of credits and fulfilments of requirements until completion of coursework. As soon as they have determined their area of desired specialization, students in the Ph.D. program select an adviser in that field. The adviser will help guide them through the later stages of course work, the qualifying examination, and the dissertation. The adviser also serves as the chair of the dissertation committee.

2. Dissertation Committee

The Chair of the Qualifying Examination Committee typically serves as the student's dissertation adviser. Either at the time of the presentation of the dissertation topic or very soon thereafter, the student and adviser together should designate a dissertation committee of four members, including the adviser who will serve as Chair. Three members must be Associate or Full Members of the graduate faculty in the department of Art History.* The fourth must be from outside the graduate faculty in Art History at Rutgers. They may be from another department at the university or from another institution, either from a department of art history or from a discipline relevant to the student’s dissertation project.

The outside reader is usually added to the committee while the dissertation is in progress. Outside readers must be chosen in consultation with the dissertation adviser and approved by the Graduate School. The dissertation supervisor, rather than the student, will contact the outside reader and request his or her participation in the committee.

As part of the research and writing process, the student should meet regularly with the adviser to review the progress of work on the dissertation. Joint or separate meetings with the other committee members should be scheduled as needed, according to agreement between the adviser and student.

[*Additional information concerning member status of the graduate faculty can be found in the bylaws for the Graduate Program in Art History.]

3. Dissertation Defense

When the dissertation adviser is satisfied that the dissertation is complete, the student will be instructed to submit a copy (together with the abstract) to the other two members of the committee, allowing them at least one month to read the thesis and call for any necessary revisions. Upon consultation with the committee members, the advisor and student will schedule the defense date and submit the “Dissertation Defense Form,” available on the department’s website, to the GPD and student coordinator.

An oral defense typically lasts between one and two hours and is normally conducted by the dissertation committee. In some cases, the outside reader may participate via web-conference or teleconference, or they may send written comments instead of attending the defense. The candidate will be expected to defend the completed manuscript while demonstrating a level of mastery of the material expected of a candidate for the highest academic degree. In turn, the committee should provide constructive feedback, including recommendations for how to proceed with future publications on the basis of the work.

During the defense, the committee may suggest minor revisions (typographic corrections, stylistic improvements, small details of fact, etc.) to be made before the dissertation is submitted for the Ph.D. The dissertation adviser is responsible for verifying that these revisions have been completed before submission of the final copies of the dissertation. If more substantial revisions are required, the committee may recommend that the student delay their dissertation by a semester in order to address the most significant concerns. In such cases, the student may be required to resubmit the dissertation for approval to all members of the committee.

Instructions for filing the dissertation and applying to receive the degree can be found on the SGS website. Students are responsible for ensuring that the dissertation conforms to the Graduate School's requirements and for completing all paperwork required by the university.

4. Final Semester: Recommended Timetables for Defense and Filing

The following represent recommended timetables for defending and filing the dissertation in the final semester of the degree. Please note that these timetables are extremely compressed, and advisors may wish to request earlier deadlines in order to avoid unexpected delays and ensure timely completion. Advisers may require that students submit dissertations earlier in order to give reviewers more time to examine dissertations. The thesis advisor and student should be sensitive to the dates of holidays, allowing extra time for getting feedback or doing necessary paperwork.

For students requesting a January degree

  • Oct 1: Circulate completed dissertation, after advisor’s approval, to the internal committee at Rutgers.
  • Nov 1: Upon approval by internal committee, forward dissertation to outside reader.
  • Dec 1-15: Time frame for defense
  • Jan 1: Official submission of the completed dissertation, approved by the thesis advisor, with all revisions finalized, and all signatures in order

For students requesting a May degree:

  • Feb 1: Circulate completed dissertation, after advisor’s approval, to the internal committee at Rutgers.
  • Feb 15: Upon approval by internal committee, forward dissertation to outside reader.
  • March 15-30: Timeframe for defense
  • April 1: Official electronic submission of the completed dissertation, approved by the thesis advisor, with all revisions finalized, and all signatures in order

5. Research Credits

While writing the dissertation, students must register for research credits using the course numbers 082:701 (fall semester) or 082:702 (spring semester). The number of credits taken each semester may range from one to twelve, but the student should generally expect to distribute the twenty-four credits over the period spent in research and writing. The graduate school requires registration for a minimum of three credits for a student residing in the New Brunswick area and using Rutgers' research facilities. Non-resident students are required to register for at least one research credit per semester. A total of 24 research credits is required to graduate, and students are strongly advised to distribute their research credits so that they do not accumulate more research credits than are needed. Students must be registered every semester in order to maintain their status. Failure to maintain continuous registration may result in the incurrence of fees required to be restored to active status.

Students who are still within their funding packages should make sure to register for their TAship (877), GAship (866) or fellowship (811 - 0 credits) every semester. In order to maintain full time status while dissertating, a student must be registered for 9 credits. This can be done by registering for 3 research credits in addition to 6 "E" credits of TA, GA. Students who are registered for fewer than 9 credits can request to be considered as full-time by completing the “Full-Time Status Request form” found at the SGS webpages (https://gsnb.rutgers.edu/resources/graduate-student-forms).

A recommended schedule for distribution of research credits might be as follows:

1) For students planning to graduate within 2 years of defending their dissertation proposal:

  Fall  Spring TOTALS
 Year 1  6 research credits  6 research credits 12
 Year 2  6 research credits  6 research credits 12
      24

2) For students planning to graduate within 3 years of defending their dissertation proposal:

  Fall Spring TOTALS
Year 1  4 research credits  4 research credits 8
Year 2  4 research credits  4 research credits 8
Year 3  4 research credits  4 research credits 8
      24

3) For students planning to graduate within 4 years of defending their dissertation proposal:

  Fall Spring TOTALS
Year 1 3 research credits 3 research credits 6
Year 2 3 research credits 3 research credits 6
Year 3 3 research credits 3 research credits 6
Year 4 3 research credits 3 research credits 6
      24

G. Language Requirements

In order to qualify for the Ph.D. degree, a student must successfully demonstrate proficiency in two second languages. The languages must be useful for the student's field of specialization. Preferably, the examinations will be administered at Rutgers University. If a student wishes to be examined in a language that cannot be evaluated at Rutgers, the student should consult the graduate program director. The language requirement must be fulfilled before the student can enter into candidacy and become ABD.

Reading courses are available from the various language departments at the university, and Rutgers runs tuition-free summer language courses for all graduate students.

For students specializing in western art before 1750, successful completion of language examinations in German and one other language constitutes the usual fulfillment of the language requirement. For students working on topics for which there is another language that is relevant to their work, a different language may be substituted for German, as approved by the student’s primary adviser and the graduate program director. For students specializing in the art of Africa, one language must be an African language.

For students specializing in the art of Asia, successful completion of two second language examinations is required. These can be chosen from Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Hindi (or any other relevant modern South Asian language, such as Bengali, Gujarati). The second language may be either a modern European language or another Asian language, appropriate to the area of research, i.e. classical Chinese, classical Japanese, Sanskrit, Chinese translation of Buddhist sutras. A student may take courses in his or her chosen languages at the intermediate level or higher for two semesters and receive a grade of B+ or better to pass the language requirement.

For full-time students entering without an M.A., one language examination must be completed within 12 months of first enrollment. The second language exam must be taken within 24 months of first enrollment. If a passing grade on the second language exam is not received, the student may register only for language courses or for "matriculation continued" until the language examination has been passed.

Students entering the program with an M.A. must have a certificate or formal letter from the institution that granted the M.A. attesting to their proficiency in a foreign language. The student must pass the second proficiency examination within 12 months of first enrollment. If no languages are transferable, the student must pass two language examinations within 12 months of first enrollment.

H. Academic Standing

Graduate students in the PhD program are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout their time at Rutgers. Students are reviewed annually by the graduate faculty in order to ensure that they are progressing in a timely fashion. In addition, the following policies and procedures apply to all students.

1. Grade Point Average

All doctoral students must maintain a grade average of at least 3.00 overall, and at least 3.25 in Art History. A student whose average falls below B in any semester will automatically be placed on probation for the following semester, by the end of which the overall average must be raised to B. Failing this, the Graduate Director is obligated to request the Dean of the Graduate School to terminate the student's enrollment in the program. A student who receives a C in any course will similarly be placed on probation for the following semester. Any student receiving more than two (2) Cs overall may be similarly subject to termination review. Higher than a B average is expected from all students to maintain good standing.

2. Incomplete Courses and Course Repetition

Any student incurring an incomplete grade has two full semesters to resolve any unfinished work and ensure that a grade is entered into the system. For example, if an incomplete is taken for a spring semester, the student has until the end of the following spring to resolve the incomplete. Any student taking an incomplete should meet with the faculty instructor for the course and agree upon a stated deadline for completion. Upon completing the work and resolving the incomplete, the student should inform the student coordinator and GPD in writing by email so that they can coordinate with the faculty instructor to ensure that the grade is changed in a timely fashion. The student should check their transcript to ensure that the change is made. If the incomplete is not resolved within two full semesters, it becomes permanent, and the student forfeits any credit from the course. If the course is a requirement, the student must repeat it.

No student may carry more than 2 incompletes at the same time. If a graduate student incurs more than 2 incompletes, they will be asked to take a leave of absence until the incompletes are resolved. Allowances and/or exceptions can be made for students with extenuating situations and/or medical conditions that can be documented through the Office of Disability Studies.

A student has the option to repeat a course in order to improve any grade below a B. Repetition of any course results in both the original grade and the new grade appearing on the transcript; however, with the addition of an E prefix, the original grade is not calculated into the student’s cumulative grade point average. Students repeating a course, including courses from which they withdrew, must re-register for the course and are responsible for any tuition costs associated with that course.

As per SGS rules, matriculated and non-matriculated students are only allowed to repeat up to three courses, each no more than once, during their enrollment in a program. Courses repeated while in a non-matriculated status will count towards the repetition regulation for those students who progress to matriculated student status.

3. Completion of Periodic Progress Reports, Self-Evaluations, and Individual Development Plans (IDPs)

Beginning in the AY 2021-2020, all students will be required to fill out an annual self-evaluation in the form of an Individual Development Plan (IDP), as per new rules passed by the SGS executive council. These are intended as a way of generating conversations between students and faculty mentors/advisers, who will be responsible for providing feedback and helping students set achievable goals for the upcoming year.

Contact

Laura Weigert, Chair

Carla Yanni, Undergraduate Program Director 

Tamara Sears, Graduate Program Director

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Department Administrator Supervisor

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Program Coordinator