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Art History and Visual Studies (PhD)

In this research-focused program, you will study art and the visual world. Join our vibrant community of students, faculty and arts professionals to undertake innovative studies of art, imagery and architecture, from ancient archeological sites to contemporary video games.

You will complete your training as an expert in global visual studies via a one-on-one mentorship with a specialist in your chosen field. Our program encourages immersion in other disciplines related to your research.

The doctoral project will launch you into careers in teaching, publishing, art advising, curating and other related fields.

Expected length Project and/or thesis Course-based
4 years Yes No

Quick facts

Program options:
Study options:
Full-time study
Program delivery:
Dynamic learning:
Co-op optional


Students in this program will:

  • develop high-level skills in both writing and speaking, and use these to communicate research questions and results
  • engage in a critical manner with primary and secondary source material, which may include one or more of the following: visual and material culture, printed texts, manuscripts, archival materials, photography, cinema and new media
  • read extensively in the relevant literature in your fields of interest, and use this to create an interdisciplinary, culturally-specific theoretical framework to guide the collection and analysis of your research materials
  • revise, improve and carefully edit your writing and spoken presentations on the basis of questions and critiques received from members of your supervisory committee, as well as in seminars and conferences.  
  • research deeply into your chosen topic in order to formulate innovative and culturally sensitive interpretations that can lead to wider public dissemination through presentations at academic conferences, peer-reviewed publications (print and/or online)

Find a supervisor

PhD students must have a faculty member who serves as their academic supervisor. When you apply:

  • You must list a potential supervisor on your application.
  • This faculty member must agree to be your supervisor and recommend your admission.
  • Include an email from your supervisor with your application.

To find a supervisor, review the faculty contacts. When you’ve found a faculty member whose research complements your own, contact them by email.

Allan Antliff

Professor Modern American and European art, Contemporary art, Anarchist studies

Astri Wright

Professor Southeast Asian art (including textiles, ephemeral arts), modern and contemporary arts

Carey Newman

Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices Sculpture

Carolyn Butler-Palmer

Williams Legacy Chair, Associate Professor Modern and Contemporary arts of the Pacific Northwest

Catherine Harding

Associate Professor Late Medieval and Early Renaissance art

Dennine Dudley

Associate Teaching Professor Early Modern England, Textile History, Collecting Practices, Pop Culture

Erin Campbell

Professor Early Modern European art

Evanthia Baboula

Assistant Professor & Associate Dean Material & Visual Cultures of the Mediterranean

Lianne McLarty

Associate Professor Feminist film theory, critical theory, popular culture

Marcus Milwright

Department Chair, Professor Medieval Islamic art and archaeology

Melia Belli Bose

Associate Professor Visual cultures of early modern and contemporary South Asia

Mitch Parry

Associate Teaching Professor Film studies

Show me program details

Providing you accurate admission requirements, application deadlines, tuition fee estimates and scholarships depends on your situation. Tell us about yourself:

Ready to apply?

You can start your online application to UVic by creating a new profile or using an existing one.

Apply now    How to apply

Need help?

Contact Sandra Curran at or 250-721-7942.

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