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Ph.D. in Art History (+Dual Ph.D.)

Become a professional in the field! Advance your career with an advanced degree.

Advanced study of visual arts spanning periods, cultures, and geographies. The Art History Ph.D. program – with Art History + Asian Studies or Art History + Visual Studies dual-title options – can deepen your expertise and advance your Art History career.

Program Application Deadline
The deadline for applications for AY 2023–24 is January 15, 2023.

To be assured full consideration, please apply by this deadline. Review individual program descriptions for details on program and admission requirements.

Earn a Ph.D. in Art History at Penn State

Our Ph.D. students and alumni have earned Fulbright and Getty Fellowships, the Rome prize, tenure-track positions, and curatorial fellowships and jobs. For more than fifty years, our graduates have been writing books, organizing exhibitions, teaching college and pre-collegiate students, and ensuring the preservation and understanding of our cultural heritage. Join us!

The Ph.D. in Art History program – plus the Art History + Asian Studies or Art History + Visual Studies dual-title Ph.D. options – will prepare you to broadly influence art and culture through careers as scholars and educators, as museum curators, as public advocates of cultural heritage, and as arts administrators, to name just a few of the professions that recent program alumni have entered. Breadth of knowledge is as essential for museum professionals as it is for academic researchers. For this reason, advanced study of the visual arts and material culture from diverse periods and geographies is required of all graduate students, with Ph.D. candidates attaining deep expertise in at least one field of art historical research. The department’s faculty includes specialists in African, Asian, and European art and the arts of the Americas.

Graduate faculty members and advisors are leading scholars in their fields. Our interdisciplinary program challenges you to think critically and creatively in order to make a meaningful contribution to the field.

Graduate Handbook

How to Apply to the Department of Art History

Art History Funding Statement

Questions? Contact the Director of Graduate Stud

Is the Ph.D. in Art History right for you?

A Ph.D. makes possible the highest level of career success in art history. Our program has a track record of excellent outcomes in diverse career paths, with particular success in placing students in academic and museum careers.

We help you ask and answer the big questions in your area of study. Our graduate students have opportunities to teach, research, and work on digital humanities projects with our Visual Resource Centre. The Palmer Museum of Art also provides internships to prepare you for curatorial work.

Engage with a dynamic cohort of fellow students and a supportive community of scholars.

Masked Guerrilla Girl giving lecture

Degree Options

Dual-title degree options add a significant interdisciplinary breadth to your Ph.D. scholarship. These two dual-title programs develop context through which you can learn to synthesize knowledge within and across disciplinary boundaries in both scholarship and teaching.

Dual Ph.D. + Asian Studies

Overhead view of a colorful, fruit-laden boat of a female market trader in southeast Asia.

The primary objective of the dual-title degree program in Asian Studies is to engage critically and substantively with the teaching, research, and scholarship of Asia, a diverse area with a population of some 4.5 billion. The program integrates knowledge and methodology across disciplines of Asian Studies and Art History.

Graduate students are trained in such a way that you will be equipped to represent, understand, analyze, and appraise the crucial and current scholarly issues in Asian Studies in the context of your art discipline focus.

The program aims to produce doctoral graduates with a competitive advantage for employment that relates to Asia in academia, museum, curatorial, and other professional fields.

Graduate Bulletin Links

Dual Ph.D. + Visual Studies

Slide viewer apparatus in foreground with researchers blurred into background.

Humanistic study. Technological dynamics. Analyze images, physical and virtual environments, and visual sign systems; histories of visual modes of communication, apprehension, and aesthetic pleasure; and conceptions of the nature of visuality itself. Challenge boundaries. Challenge yourself.

The dual-title Ph.D. in Visual Studies fosters an interdisciplinary approach to humanistic study, which, spurred by technological dynamics that increasingly integrate text and image, engages analysis of specific images, physical and virtual environments, and visual sign systems; histories of visual modes of communication, apprehension, and aesthetic pleasure; and conceptions of the nature of visuality itself. Students in this program analyze and assess visual media that, integrated with texts, are integral to humanistic scholarship and pedagogy today.

Dual-title degree programs increase the intellectual rigor and breadth of graduate work and provide a context in which students learn to synthesize knowledge within and across disciplinary boundaries in both scholarship and teaching. Drawing from knowledge and practices produced across the humanistic disciplines while responding to ongoing challenges to conventional disciplinary boundaries, this degree highlights existing strengths of graduate training in the humanities at Penn State, structures the continuing development of these programs, and credentials our graduates’ training and work with visual forms, environments, and media.

Graduate Bulletin Links

Art History study abroad program visiting Italy.

Level Up

Professional Development

Our department is regularly invited to select graduate students to participate in major graduate student symposia, including the Middle Atlantic Symposium in the History of Art at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Graduate Symposium on the History of Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Penn State art history graduate students often present papers at scholarly conferences/symposia across the United States and abroad (for which the department provides partial financial support).

Financial Support

George Dewey and Mary J. Krumrine Endowment
This endowment helps support publication projects of art history faculty and graduate students.

Graduate Assistantships
There are about nineteen graduate assistantships filled by graduate students in the Department of Art History each year.

University Fellowships and Awards
Qualified incoming graduate students may also be nominated by the department for University Fellowships, Bunton-Waller Graduate Awards, Graham Fellowships, and other awards. The department also has funds to help support graduate students in their research and travel related to their theses. The department awards dissertation fellowships and travel/research grants totaling over $60,000 to graduate students each academic year.

Summer Opportunities

Summer Abroad program in Todi, Italy

The Department of Art History is a co-sponsor of Penn State’s Summer Abroad program in Todi, Italy, in which graduate students may choose to participate.

Annie Gooding Sykes Internship

This internship is a twelve-week internship offered during the summer. Interns work with museum staff on a variety of curatorial projects, with a particular focus on American works on paper. Students who have completed the ARTH 409 “Museum Studies” course are preferred. One internship with a stipend is offered each summer.

Silver Trout Curatorial Graduate Internship Program

This internship program is a twelve-week internship offered during the summer. Interns work with the museum staff on curatorial projects and initiatives. Graduate students in art history or art education are eligible for the Silver Trout Curatorial Graduate Internship Program. Students who have completed the ARTH 409 “Museum Studies” course are preferred. Two internships with a stipend are offered each summer.

Ph.D. Students

Students currently enrolled in the Ph.D. in Art History programs.

Current Cohort

Ph.D. Student Cohort

Arunima Addy

Arunima Addy

Degree: PhD in Architecture
Research Focus: South Asian architectural and urban history
Dissertation title: Diaspora of Indian Temple Architecture
Academic Adviser: Madhuri Desai

Arunima Addy is currently a PhD candidate in Art History with dual title in Asian Studies. She has been a practicing architect in India, before joining the graduate program at Penn State. Arunima has her research interests in the relationship between the politics of religion and the construction of national identity, specifically with the rising sentiments of Hindu nationalism in India. She looks at visual representations in the built environment to understand how through architectural establishments religion is being used as a political tool to frame an image of the nation. For her dissertation, she is investigating the relationship between the politics of religion and nation-building particularly with respect to changing dynamics of Indian temple architecture in the neoliberal perspective where religion is becoming a global commodity.

Han Chen

Han Chen

Degree: PhD in Art History and Asian Studies
Research Focus: Modern and Contemporary Chinese and East Asian Art, history of collecting and exhibiting
Dissertation title: TBD
Academic Adviser: Chang Tan | CV

Han Chen is a PhD student specializing in the history of collecting and exhibiting Chinese and East Asian art in the Euro-American context from the late nineteenth-century to the present day. She received her B.A. in 2016 and M.A. in 2019 from China Academy of Art. In 2021, she received her second M.A. from Penn State where she wrote her thesis entitled, “Selling China: A neglected encounter between Huo Mingzhi and France in the early twentieth century.” She has worked for the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State and the Freer and Sackler Gallery of Art as a curatorial intern. Her current interest lies in employing machine learning to realize the image inpainting of photographs of Chinese antiques.

Melanie Clark

Olivia Crawford

Olivia Crawford

Degree: PhD in Art History
Research Focus: Nineteenth-century European Art and Architecture, Post-colonial Studies, Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern and North African Studies.
Dissertation title: TBD
Academic Adviser: Nancy Locke

Olivia Crawford received her B.A. in Art History and French and Francophone Studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2016 and her M.A. in Art History from Penn State University in 2018. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History at Penn State.

Her current research examines representations of colonial and metropolitan Jewish communities in French Orientalist art and architecture. Her dissertation prospectus is forthcoming.

Crawford lives and works in Knoxville, TN.

Karly Etz

Karly Etz

Arielle Fields

Katherine Flanagan

Laura Freitas Almeida

Laura Freitas Almeida

Emily Hagen

Emily Hagen

Degree: PhD in Art History
Research Focus: Seventeenth-century Italian architecture
Dissertation title: Pietro da Cortona’s Santi Luca e Martina: Rediscovered Relics and the Spectacle of Reform in Seventeenth-Century Rome
Academic Adviser: Robin Thomas | CV

Emily Hagen is a Ph.D. candidate in art history studying early-modern Italian architecture with an interest in digital humanities. Her research focuses on churches devoted to martyrs’ relics in seventeenth-century Italy and investigates how architecture amplified the fiction of rediscovery in the context of early-modern Catholic reform.

Delnaaz Kharadi

Delnaaz Kharadi

Degree: PhD in Art History
Research Focus: Zoroastrian art and architecture, South Asian art and architecture
Dissertation title: TBD
Academic Adviser: Madhuri Desai | CV | Portfolio | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | ResearchGate | | Issuu

Delnaaz is a PhD student in South Asian and Pre-Islamic art history. She specializes in the architectural production, ritual use, cultural value and iconography of Zoroastrian art and architecture. She belongs to the Parsi community of India, an ethnic minority of Zoroastrian faith, whose long and complicated history influences both her scholarly interests and personal worldview. She looks into the Zoroastrian diaspora in India and traces their aesthetic roots back to Persia (modern day Iran) from where Zoroastrians migrated in 760 A.D. She builds a comparative analysis of Zoroastrian art and architecture with Classical Greek and Roman traditions and investigates their mutual influences. In this regard she particularly looks into Hegel’s ‘Philosophy of History’ where he identified Achaemenid Persians as the ‘first historical people’ and deliberated on ‘Zoroaster’s light’ as a predecessor of modern European thought, which helps her understand the construct of ‘Classical’ as a fundamental category of art, architecture and aesthetic history.

Katherine Koltiska

Kyle Marini

Kyle Marini

Degree: PhD in Art History
Research Focus: Pre-Contact and Early Modern Latin America, Andean Textiles
Dissertation title: TBD
Academic Adviser: Amara Solari | Instagram | LinkedIn

Kyle is a PhD student in pre-contact and early modern Latin American art history. He specializes in the techniques of production, ritual use, and iconography of Inca textiles. He primarily researches ceremonial objects that have been destroyed to recover a more representative view of Inca visual culture before Spanish occupation of the Andes. This approach is in effort to decolonize modern understandings of the Inca developed from the study of objects that survived arduous extirpation campaigns throughout the Viceroyalty of Peru. By emphasizing objects erased from the archive, he reconstructs a history through the most integral Inca artifacts that ceased to exist precisely because of their visual power. Kyle is also a practicing artist, and he uses remaking as a methodology to envision these lost works and the technical processes used by their creators.

Keri Mongelluzzo

Keri Mongelluzzo

Degree: PhD in Art History
Research Focus: History of Photography; Modern Art
Dissertation title: Bauhaus/Dream House: The Uncharted Surrealism of New Vision Photography
Academic Adviser: Nancy Locke | CV | LinkedIn |

Keri Mongelluzzo is a Ph.D. candidate specializing in the history of photography and modern art in Europe. Her dissertation, “Bauhaus/Dream House: The Uncharted Surrealism of New Vision Photography,” examines how French Surrealist sensibilities gained traction with transient artists associated with the Bauhaus, an innovative school of design in interwar Germany. Tracking key Bauhaus figures as they moved throughout Europe and across the Atlantic, “Bauhaus/Dream House” exposes their messy motivations for evoking surrealist themes amidst surges of nationalism and the rise of fascism. To date, Keri’s dissertation research has been supported by the Department of Art History and the Max Kade German-American Research Institute.

Keri’s broader research and curatorial interests in the histories and theories of photography span the medium’s history. She has written steadily on prominent photographers of the twentieth century, like Man Ray and Eugène Atget, presenting papers at the inaugural conference of the International Society for the Study of Surrealism at the Bucknell Humanities Center and the 24th Annual Graduate Student Symposium on the History of Art at the Barnes Foundation. In addition to curating a number of exhibitions of photography at the Palmer Museum of Art, including Myth Meets Modernism: The Manuel Álvarez Bravo Portfolio (2019) and Framing the City (2018), Keri piloted the museum’s first-ever virtual exhibition, Photography = Abstraction , using Google Slides at the onset of the pandemic and presented her work on this and her collaboration on subsequent virtual exhibitions and tours at the College Art Association Annual Conference in February 2021.

Alicia Skeath

Kenta Tokushige

Kenta Tokushige

Degree: PhD in Art History
Research Focus: Sixteenth-century Italian Military Architecture
Dissertation title: Being a Military Architect: Building Fortifications in Cosimo I de’ Medici’s Realm
Academic Adviser: Robin Thomas

Kenta Tokushige is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at The Pennsylvania State University. His dissertation entitled, Being a ‘Military Architect’: Building Fortifications in Cosimo I de’ Medici’s Realm, studies the geopolitical role of fortification building under Cosimo I de’ Medici in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the latter half of the Cinquecento by looking at the design process of a fortification as a collaborative project by people of various social status and the way it was represented in multiple forms of art upon its completion. His research traces the correspondence between the patrons, local governors, and architects regarding the decision-making process and examines the intentions of each individual. Additionally, he is exploring the representation and the circulation of information after the completion of the fortification in relation to the espionage of military information.

His research has been supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Susan W. and Thomas A. Schwartz Endowed Fellowship for Dissertation Research.

He completed his B.Arch. and M.A. in Architecture at Waseda University and Master of Architectural History at University of Virginia.

Holli Turner

Holli Turner

Degree: PhD in Art History
Research Focus: Art of Early Modern Southern Europe and Colonial Latin America, the materials and materiality of art, technical art history, theories and practices of conservation, race, and representation in art, decolonial practices in art history
Dissertation title: TBD
Academic Adviser: Daniel Zolli
Personal website |

Holli M. Turner is a doctoral student specializing in early modern art, with a focus on the art of Italy, Spain, and the Americas. Her dissertation will examine the colonial implications of color – broadly understood – in the Venetian artist Titian’s paintings for the Spanish monarchy. This project knits together several core concerns of her work: the materials and materiality of art; the representation of race and ethnicity in art; and the interpretive importance of invisible labor, and laborers, to art’s history. In Summer 2021, Holli is serving as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellow in Penn State’s Art History department, where she is developing a digital humanities project that tracks Titian’s pigments and their origins.

Holli is a Virginia native that was trained in art history and graphic design before embarking on doctoral study. Her research interests also stem from her own artistry. In her spare time, she paints, illustrates, and creates works through traditional and digital media.

Yixin Xu

Guides + Resources

Student discussing about her research on Titian and his use of cochineal

Alumni Success

95 percent of those who earned their Ph.D. since the year 2000 are employed in art history or a related field.

  • Of these, 71 percent are teaching at the college level.

  • The other 29 percent hold such positions as museum curator or lead historian at a historic center.

  • Of those teaching at the college level, 67 percent hold tenure-track or tenured positions.

Alumni Spotlight

Penn State Art History alumna Kimberly Henrikson

Alumni Spotlight

Kimberly Henrikson

B.A. in Art History

Kimberly Henrikson is executive director at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking (Norwalk, CT) and president of the Print Club of New York. She is newsletter editor for the International Print Club Societies organization, and held a senior position at Artstor, where she managed training and support services for digital image licensing in higher ed and museum communities around the world.

Collage of art prints in galleries and museums.

Faculty Spotlight

Fragile religious mural painted by Christianized Maya artists in Yucatán, Mexico
Fragile religious mural painted by Christianized Maya artists in Yucatán, Mexico

Amara Solari

Professor of Art History and Anthropology

Amara Solari teaches courses in Latin American art from the pre-Columbian through the colonial period. Her research focuses on processes of cultural, visual, and theological interchange between indigenous groups and Spanish settlers of New Spain. She recently received a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of her research project, “Maya Christian Murals of Yucatán: Indigenous Catholicism in Early Modern New Spain,” which focuses on fragile religious murals painted by Christianized Maya artists in Yucatán, Mexico, between 1550 and 1750.

Amara Solari

News from A&A

School of Visual Arts shop staff create special award for students who bat it out of the park

Each semester for almost ten years, Matt Olson and Mark Rizzo have designed a special award for students who excel in their work in the School of Visual Arts shop.

“The Shop,” as it is fondly known in the Penn State School of Visual Arts (SoVA), isn’t just a room filled with tools and equipment. It is also a classroom

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Millett and White to discuss “Ex-Utero” project at Paris symposium

Cristin Millett, professor of art in sculpture, and Cynthia White, ADRI adjunct research associate, will discuss their "Ex-Utero" project at a Paris symposium.
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Desai awarded Mellon fellowship to support South Asian architectural and history research

Desai's fellowship research is part of a larger project on the architectural and urban history of the Maratha Nagpur Kingdom during the eighteenth century.
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