PhD Requirements: Entering with a BA


The Ph.D. degree is granted upon the successful completion of:

  • Twelve semester courses (including the ten semester courses or 30 credits taken for the M.A.) for a total of 36 credits

  • Successful completion of two Two foreign language examinations

  • Successful completion of one graduate-level methods course

An optional minor field consisting of two graduate courses and a qualifying paper may also be completed.

  • After the successful completion of 8 courses, a student who wishes to pursue the Ph.D. may petition the faculty for official admission to the Ph.D. program. After a careful review of the student’s performance, the faculty will determine whether the student is to be admitted to the doctoral program.

  • (All students who enter the program with a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent are considered M.A. students until they are officially admitted to the Ph.D. program, even if they hold multi-year fellowships.)

  • Upon acceptance into the Ph.D. program, the student may petition to be excused from the Master's comprehensive examination, but not from the Master's essay.

Once the student has been approved to continue for the doctorate, he or she must take two semester courses in addition to the ten required for the Master's degree. While undertaking coursework, students should be exploring topics for the dissertation. After completion of 12 semester courses, students are required to register for a six-credit course in preparation for the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination.

36 credits

12 courses

6 credits

Study for Qualifying Exam

6 credits

Dissertation proposal.

24 credits

Dissertation Research


TOTAL = 72 credit minimum


Language Requirement

The Ph.D. degree is granted upon the successful completion of two foreign language examinations. 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.

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 foreign language examinations, chosen from Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Hindi (or any other relevant modern South Asian language, such as Bengali, Gujarati); the second language will be determined by 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.

Course planning worksheet can be found here.

The Ph.D. Qualifying Examination is given after all course work is completed. 


Laura Weigert, Chair

Carla Yanni, Undergraduate Program Director 

Tamara Sears, Graduate Program Director

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