Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Art History

Graduate Studies

 Graduate Bulletin/Fine Arts

History of Art: pages 156-159


Robert Laurent’s “The Birth of Venus,” Showalter FountainThe Department of the History of Art at Indiana University is proud to offer the MA and the PhD in art history for students interested in criticism, museum work, advanced research, and teaching. Our program is not only rigorous but also highly collegial. Indeed, our students are one of Indiana University’s signal strengths. From formal organizations such as the Art History Association to the run of daily life, participants in graduate study here form an unusually cohesive and supportive group. The result is an intellectual environment that nurtures aspiring scholars rather than merely training them.

Comprising fourteen full-time and affiliated faculty of international stature, the Department covers a broad geographical and historical range that presently includes the visual cultures of Africa, America, East Asia, as well as Islamic, Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance/early modern, and modern European Art. Art history’s cultural, intellectual, and political ramifications are of paramount importance. To that end, faculty members pursue and encourage interdisciplinary work in both their research and their teaching. The department is fortunate in this respect to have an extraordinarily rich set of institutional resources with which to work.  For example, Indiana University boasts world-class departments and institutes: African American & African Diasporas, Anthropology, Central Eurasian Studies, Classical Studies, East Asian Languages & Cultures, Folklore & Ethnomusicology, French & Italian, Germanic Studies, History, the Kinsey Institute, the Lilly Library, Music (history & theory), Near Eastern Languages & Cultures, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Sociology. Moreover, the Department belongs to several interdisciplinary programs that students may also pursue. These include African Studies, American Studies, Ancient Studies, The Center for the Study of Global Change, The Creole Institute, Film Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and West European Studies.

In addition, Indiana University is one of fourteen Title VI Foreign Language Resource Centers. Consequently, we are able promote language training that is not available at most of our peer institutions, including Albanian, Arabic, Azeri, Bambara/Bamana, Croatian, Czech, Estonian, Finnish, Georgian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Isizulu, Kazakh, Kiswahili, Korean, Kyrgyz, Pashto, Persian, Polish, Romanian, Sanskrit, Serbian, Tajik, Tibetan, Turkish, Turkmen, Twi/Akan, Ukranian, Uyghur, Uzbek, Wampanoag, Wolof, and Yiddish. And, of course, our students also have access to some of the finest scholars working in the more familiar territory of Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. Furthermore, our students have a strong record of receiving Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships to fund the pursuit of language acquisition. These grants provide for tuition plus a stipend for varying durations of up to two full academic years.

Our aim is to produce students capable of contextualizing and analyzing objects at the highest possible level. The result is a cohort of alumni who now hold positions at prestigious galleries and museums and in competitive academic institutions.


Our Ph.D. recipients have secured positions at, among others California State University (East Bay), the Dallas Museum of Art, Dickinson College, Georgia State University, Hofstra University, the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), the National Museum of African Art (Washington, D.C.), Michigan State University, Oberlin College (Clarence Ward Art Library), Rice University, the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Sculpture Collection), the University of Florida, the University of Iowa, the University of Missouri (Columbia) the University of North Carolina (Greensboro), the University of Pittsburgh, Savannah College of Art & Design, and St. Olaf College.

Graduates from our MA program have secured jobs at prominent libraries and museums, including the Colby College Museum of Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, the Menil Collection, the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, and the University of Georgia Libraries. Others have gone on to pursue their Ph.D. work at top-ranked peer institutions


The Department of History of Art is committed to supporting its doctoral students from matriculation onwards, both financially and professionally.  The Department accepts a maximum of 5 Ph.D. students each year to study in the areas of Ancient Greek and Roman Art, Medieval Art of both the East and West, Renaissance and Baroque Art, Modern and Contemporary Art of Europe and the Americas, Islamic Art, and African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art.  Each Ph.D. student is guaranteed a competitive package of 4 years of financial support, comprising a combination of recruitment fellowships with tuition remission, and Associate Instructor positions with tuition remission.  In addition, our doctoral students are routinely awarded a variety of national and international grants.  Since 2006, our doctoral students have received fellowships for coursework from the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada, and the Foreign Language and Area Studies program of the U.S. Department of Education (Maya, Bamana, Italian, Russian), and for dissertation research and writing from the Fulbright Program (South Africa, Cyprus, France, Mali), the Fulbright-Hays Program (South Africa, Mali), the Social Science Research Council (International Dissertation Research Fellowship), the Luce Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies, the Society of Architectural Historians/Samuel Kress Foundation, the Medieval Academy of America, the Smithsonian Institution, the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, the Barra Foundation of American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as the Amon Carter Museum of Art in Fort Worth.

Master's students frequently hold Graduate Assistant positions with tuition remission both in the Department of History of Art and at the Indiana University Art Museum, and many have taken advantage of internships at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.