Your PhD program

Our graduate degrees are research-focused and include courses designed to build knowledge and enhance research- and career-related skills.

A PhD normally consists of a minimum of 39 units.

If you are new to UVic, you will need to take:

If you are from UVic, with credit for AHVS 501 and AHVS 509, you will take:

All students will take:

You may take up to 3.0 units at the 400 level including Cultural Resource Management courses, and you may take up to 3.0 units from another department, as electives. These courses must be related to your art-historical research, at the graduate or 400 level, and approved by your supervisor.  

The Workshop in Art Historical Writing is essential support when it comes to developing your PhD Dissertation proposal.

Candidacy exam

Our PhD candidacy exam consists of three parts:

  1. Major field examination: a take-home exam, completed over five consecutive days, including a 25-page (7,500 words) critical literature review on a key theme or issue in the field, to be determined in consultation with your supervisor. This is normally completed between January and March of your second year.
  2. Secondary field examination: a take-home exam, also completed over five consecutive days (normally Monday to Friday), including a detailed course syllabus on a key theme in the field, and a 15-page (4,500 words) explanation (may include a sample lecture), to be determined in consultation with the supervisor. Normally completed between January and March of your second year.
  3. Special topics/dissertation proposal examination: this happens two weeks prior to your oral exam. You are to submit a 10-page (3,000 words) dissertation proposal to your committee (plus footnotes, bibliography, and images) based on the departmental format for proposals. For your oral exam, you will prepare a 20-minute presentation of the proposal, to be followed by two rounds of questions. At the end of the question period, the student will leave the room and the committee will discuss the oral presentation. Normally completed by mid-April of your second year.

Registration in AHVS 699 is only permitted upon completion of AHVS 693.

Substantial fieldwork is expected of all PhD candidates.

Language requirement

Ph.D. students must demonstrate proficiency in two languages other than English that are related to their dissertation research, as determined by their supervisor. Certain areas of study may require more extensive language training, which will be determined by the individual’s supervisory committee.

The requirement for each language is considered satisfied when the student has completed one of the following:

  1. demonstrates reading proficiency in the language (assessed by a 2-page translation exam administered by Department);
  2. speaks the language natively;
  3. has been educated in the language selected;
  4. has an undergraduate major in the language;
  5. has successfully completed a minimum of the equivalent of 4.5 units of university level courses in the language, with at least a second class (B-) average; or
  6. has passed the equivalent of a 3-unit reading course in the language.

Other mechanisms for assessing the language requirements for special cases may be established. In all cases, the student is responsible for submitting a proposal to the Graduate Adviser and Department Chair, prior to fulfilling the requirement. The supervisory committee is then responsible for accepting or refusing the proposal, by considering the relevance of the language chosen to the student’s research and the pertinence (and practicality) of the evaluating process suggested.


Oral examination

The oral examination for the dissertation may not take place until all language requirements have been satisfied. 

Detailed information on oral examinations.

You may have up to seven years (84 months) to complete your PhD degree.

How to apply for your PHD