Rotunda in the Tutor Campus Center

Ph.D. Program in Art History at the University of Southern California

The Ph.D. program in art history at USC draws its strength from a dynamic and productive faculty in the fields of American, European, British, Mediterranean, Latin American, and Asian art.  Studying objects in their complex physical, cultural and intellectual contexts, our program is committed to a historically situated, materially engaged, and theoretically nuanced approach to art history and visual culture.

  • Graduate admissions standards are competitive and based on evidence of an outstanding record in art history. USC requires that Ph.D. students be admitted to both the USC Graduate School and the Dornsife Department of Art History. We do not accept applicants for a terminal Master of Arts degree in art history, although students may be eligible for the MA if they do not complete the doctoral program.

    How to Apply

  • The Visual Studies Graduate Certificate provides Ph.D. students with the tools and knowledge necessary to think critically about visual objects and experiences and to bring that thinking to bear on their ongoing scholarly work and doctoral research. Students will combine the sustained analysis of specific representations with attention to broader philosophical frameworks and historical conditions.
    This certificate is designed for students enrolled in a Ph.D. program at USC whose scholarly work includes a significant focus on visual culture. Rather than attending to visual forms (e.g. art, film, photography, advertising, digital media, illustrated books) in isolation from one another, the certificate considers the overlaps between images, texts and material objects was well as the alternative modes of interpretation such overlaps demand.

    Visual Studies Graduate Certificate

  • Works in Progress is a series of talks organized by the graduate cohort that supports the ongoing work of our scholarly community by providing opportunities for intellectual exchange. Talks are held throughout the academic year and offer a platform for members of our scholarly community to test ideas and to receive feedback on in-process work in preparation for conference presentations, publications, research, and other opportunities. Each presentation is followed by a lively open discussion. Please be in touch with the WiP coordinators at to learn more.

  • The graduate guidelines include a detailed description of requirements and expectations needed to earn the Ph.D. in Art History.  Copies of previous years can be requested at

    AHIS Graduate Guidelines Fall 2023 to Summer 2024

  • Departmental forms needed for current Art History graduate students to regeister for the following classes:

    AHIS 590
    Research leading to graduate degree

    AHIS 790
    Research leading to the Doctorate

    Getty Consortium Seminar (Winter 2024)

    Application to the Getty Consortium program is due annually in October prior to the start of the seminar in January. Upon acceptance,  AHIS 790 is required for USC credit of 3 or 4 units. This is an accredited seminar at the Getty Research Institute for graduate students attending institutions in the Southern California region, including the University of California, Irvine; the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of California, Riverside; the University of California, San Diego; the University of California, Santa Barbara; and the University of Southern California.

  • Graduate seminars are regularly held on site or work with collections in area museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)the Getty Centerthe Getty Villa and the USC Fisher Museum of Art among others.

    Art History (AHIS) graduate courses are at the 500 level or above.

    Current Graduate Seminars

Contact – Graduate Studies

Director of Graduate Studies

Amy Ogata


Elizabeth Massari
Staff Graduate Advisor


Tracey L. Marshall
Staff Graduate Advisor – ABD