University of Minnesota
Art History

Art History Home Page


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 guarantees all accepted students five years of funding. Our standard funding package provides a teaching assistantship that entitles you to a tuition scholarship, health insurance and a yearly stipend, which, for the coming academic year, is estimated at $19,500. In addition, every year the department nominates students for a range of competitive divisional and university-wide fellowships to be taken in lieu of an assistantship. These competitive fellowships provide tuition and health and offer additonal resources and opportunities (see Funding Opportunities).


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

Applications are reviewed once annually in January for enrollment in the following Fall Semester.

INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS CANNOT BE CONSIDERED FOR ADMISSION. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that his/her application (including all supplementary materials such as recommendation letters) is in good order. Applicants may contact the graduate studies secretary before the deadline to check on the status of their applications. If you have specific questions or would like to arrange a visit, send a message to or contact the Graduate Studies Secretary at 612-624-4500.

Apply Online

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. Applications are due by January 1st.

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 Professor Frederick Asher is currently on phased retirement and will not be available to advise new students.

All applications must be submitted electronically through the Graduate School via
Apply Yourself.


The Department of Art History requires the following materials:

  1. University of Minnesota Graduate School Application form, including statement of objectives and writing sample (see below).

  2. GRE scores (Students from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea must refer to the Graduate School website for additional instructions).

  3. Transcripts from all undergraduate institutions.

  4. TOEFL scores (international students only).

  5. Statement of Objectives

  6. Three letters of recommendation.

  7. Writing sample (saved as a PDF). The writing sample must be submitted through the ApplyYourself website.

  8. The Application Fee must be paid in order to submit your application.

Explanation of the Application Materials

  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 Art History Department. 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 Ph.D. 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 Apply Yourself. 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 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.

If you have questions about funding or financial aid, please refer to the Graduate Program FAQ.

The admissions process takes place soon after the January 1 deadline. Department decisions are then sent to the Graduate School for review, and the Graduate School will notify applicants in late February. Students who are accepted may enroll the following fall semester. Admission can be deferred, although this may affect prospects for financial aid. Students who are not admitted or whose applications are incomplete must wait until the following year to reapply.

Graduate School and Department of Art History addresses

Graduate School Office of Admissions
University of Minnesota
309 Johnston Hall
101 Pleasant St., S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Graduate Studies Secretary
Department of Art History
University of Minnesota
338 Heller Hall
271 - 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0121

Change of Status (MA to PhD)

Students completing their MA degrees in the Department of Art History should submit their applications to the DGS Assistant by February 1st for admission to the PhD program the following Fall. Application to the PhD program should be made when the MA degree is nearly completed. Students will not be allowed to enter the PhD program officially until all MA degree requirements have been completed.

To apply, students file an online Change of Status Application with the Graduate School in order to change their degree objective from MA to PhD. Students submit to the Department updated transcripts, research papers, and a statement of purpose outlining their proposed area of research, dissertation topic, and adviser. Students should have the support and commitment of their proposed adviser before applying. At least one Plan B paper should be fully completed and the second should be close to completion at the time of applying for Change of Status. Please request Letters of Recommendation from two professors. Call the Graduate School at 612-625-3014 or visit the Graduate School Change of Status information page for further information.

Change of Status (Change of Major)

Graduate students already admitted to the Graduate School who wish to change their major to the field of Art History may apply to do so with the online Change of Status Application. Call the Graduate School at 612-625-8060 or visit the Graduate School Change of Status information page for additional information.

The Change of Status Application and all application materials that are required for outside applicants (i.e. transcripts, three letters of recommendation, application form, GRE scores, statement of purpose, and a writing sample) required by the Department must be submitted by the application deadline. If accepted into the program, registration as an Art History major may begin as early as the following semester.

Deferral of Admission

Deferral of admission may be requested by notifying the Graduate School and the Art History Department. The Art History DGS decides, in consultation with relevant faculty members, whether the deferral will be granted. Deferrals can only be granted for a maximum of one year.


New Graduate Students

Students must register in the Graduate School for the semester they are admitted. Class schedules or registration information. Graduate students registering for the initial semester of enrollment must first see the DGS before registering. Identification cards (U-Card), can be obtained in Rm G-22 Coffman Memorial Union.

International Students

For information regarding the University, Immigration & Naturalization Service rules or any other questions specific to non-U.S. citizens, contact the International Student and Scholar Services, 190 Hubert H. Humphrey Center 612-626-7100.

Current and Previously Enrolled Graduate Students

Consult the Graduate School Catalog, Class Schedule, and registration information. You register online using your University email account username and password. The username and initial password will be issued to you at orientation.

Graduate students must enroll at a minimum once every year to maintain their active status. Students who have not registered every year must apply to the Graduate School for readmission, with the understanding that such admission is not guaranteed. See the Bulletin, the Graduate School Catalog or call the Graduate School at 612-625-3014 for more details.


Information on graduation can be obtained from 316 Johnston Hall or on the Graduate School website where students can request a graduation packet.

Commencement ceremonies are held fall and spring semesters. If you wish to participate in commencement, contact 316 Johnston Hall one semester in advance of the ceremony.