Graduate Studies


Director of Graduate Studies

Carolyn Yerkes · [email protected]

Interim Graduate Administrator

Barbara Mooring · [email protected]

Professor DeLue leads studetns in study of Audobon plates


The graduate program in Art and Archaeology is designed to prepare students for teaching and research at the university level, curatorial positions in museums, and other careers in the visual arts. The department’s intimate size, together with Princeton’s commitment to teaching, ensures scholarly flexibility and close working relationships with faculty. Interdisciplinary study thrives at Princeton, and students are encouraged to take courses in related fields of the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Architecture. A number of interdisciplinary programs sponsor lectures and conferences; they also offer opportunities for graduate students to present their research. The department is committed to representing a full range of approaches to the history of art, from object-based research to many varieties of theory and criticism. Graduate study today necessarily involves the acquisition of specialized skills, notably foreign languages, and in-depth training in specific fields. The following fields count among the department’s particular strengths:

  • East Asian Art and Archaeology
  • Ancient Art and Archaeology
  • Byzantine and Medieval Art
  • Renaissance and Baroque Art
  • African and African Diaspora Art
  • Modern and Contemporary Art, including American Art and the History of Photography
  • The History of Architecture in all periods
  • Islamic Art

Our department has excellent facilities and resources, such as Marquand Library, the Princeton University Art Museum, the Index of Medieval Art, and the Visual Resources Collection. Princeton is also well located between two major cities, Philadelphia and New York City, with good transportation. Washington D.C. is less than three hours away by train. Prospective applicants interested in visiting our department during the fall term prior to the application deadline should contact Barbara Mooring, the interim Graduate Administrator.

Graduate Handbook

Current A&A Graduate Students should consult the Graduate Handbook for information pertinent to their studies.  Prospective students can continue on this current page.

Areas of Study

When applying, students choose from the following areas: 

  • East Asian Art and Archaeology
  • Ancient Art and Archaeology
  • Byzantine and Medieval Art
  • Renaissance and Baroque Art
  • African & African Diaspora Art
  • Modern and Contemporary Art, including American Art and the History of Photography
  • Islamic Art and Archaeology

Requirements for the areas are essentially the same, with the exception of East Asian Art and Archaeology and Ancient Art and Archaeology, as outlined below.

East Asian Art and Archaeology

The Department of Art and Archaeology and the Department of East Asian Studies cooperate to offer a program at the graduate level leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Chinese or Japanese art and archaeology. This program aims to combine Chinese and Japanese studies with the history of art and museum training in these fields. Special emphasis is on the development of the student's ability to do creative research. The student must register with the Department of Art and Archaeology in order to participate in this program.

A candidate for the Ph.D. in Chinese art and archaeology is required to show proficiency in classical and modern Chinese, and a reading knowledge of Japanese. A candidate for the Ph.D. in Japanese art and archaeology is required to demonstrate proficiency in classical Japanese and/or kanbun, as appropriate to the candidate's specialization, and modern Japanese, and a reading knowledge of Chinese or a European language.

The general examination, which normally takes place no later than May of the third year, is set jointly by the two departments. It is designed to test the candidate’s ability to integrate general, topical, and area knowledge in related fields chosen from the two departments.

The general examination tests the candidate in the following areas: (1) a basic, general knowledge of Chinese and Japanese art and/or archaeology; (2) a specialized knowledge in the field of the dissertation; and (3) Chinese or Japanese history, literature, or religion, or a similar subject in the culture of China or Japan within a chosen period.”

Ancient Art and Archaeology


Students in the Ancient Art and Archaeology program will take a total of 15 courses, which shall include:

  • whichever Ancient art/archaeology seminars are offered in at least four of a student’s first five terms. Some of these may be audited, with approval of the student’s adviser, considering the student’s specific program of study and course load.
  • ART 502 (a no credit course); ART 500 or 501 (whichever is offered); and, ideally, one non-western course.
  • those working in the Greek and Roman fields will take both Greek and Roman History Proseminars (offered in Classics)
  • those working in the Greek and Roman fields will take at least one 3XX level literature course in Classics (i.e., a text-based course in either Greek or Latin literature)


The study of Ancient Art and Archaeology at Princeton benefits from access to distinctive collections, resources, and collaborative partnerships. These include:

  • Princeton University Art Museum: encyclopedic holdings across the ancient Mediterranean, with research and internship opportunities. Many courses include hands-on work with the collection
  • Numismatic Collection in Firestone Library: comprising ca. 100,000 coins, including ca. 30,000 coins from the Princeton excavation of Antioch-on-the-Orontes (1932-1939). A full-time curator regularly gives graduate seminars and offers internships
  • Cast Collection: plaster casts of architectural sculpture, reliefs, and free-standing sculpture from the Archaic through Roman periods
  • Visual Resources: historic and archival research photographs, including the Antioch-on-the-Orontes Excavation, the Howard Crosby Butler Archive (Syria), the American Society for the Excavation of Sardis 1910-1914, the Princeton Archaeological Expedition to Morgantina (1955-1963, 1966-1967), and the Princeton Archaeological Expedition to Polis (Cyprus) (1983-Present)
  • Molyvoti, Thrace, Archaeological Project (MTAP): current archaeological excavation and surface survey of a settlement in Aegean Thrace, a co-operation of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Ephorate of Antiquities at Rhodopi. Previous seasons have included the excavation of Classical Greek houses, the survey of a late Roman villa, and an integrated research program of bioarchaeology
  • Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies: hosts lectures, workshops, and visiting scholars; offers a graduate reading group for students pursuing a certificate in Hellenic Studies; supports summer learning and research
  • Princeton Athens Center: sponsors workshops and short-term, intensive summer courses
  • Program in the Ancient World: interdisciplinary group for graduate students and faculty studying the ancient world; sponsors lectures and hosts short-term visiting faculty
  • Department of Classics: students in Art and Archaeology regularly take courses in Classics, with faculty such as Professor Caroline Cheung
  • Princeton-Ioannina-Volos Initiative: sponsors travel to universities in Greece to participate in research seminars, and hosts exchanges of students and scholars from collaborating Greek universities
  • Partnerships with the Freie Universität Berlin and Scuola Normale Superiore: offers the opportunity for students to enroll in courses in Berlin and Pisa
  • Heritage Structures Lab: graduate group in the School of Engineering studying buildings from historical and structural perspectives
  • Princeton University Library Makerspace: provides training and access to equipment for 3D scanning, 3D printing, CNC milling, and virtual reality

Modern Languages

Candidates for the Ph.D. in Ancient Art and Archaeology are required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of German as well as another modern language appropriate to the student’s special field; language examinations shall be arranged by the Department, or may be satisfied, in certain instances, by coursework.

Ancient Languages

Students are expected to acquire proficiency in ancient languages.
Those working in Egyptian art are expected to have proficiency in Middle Egyptian, along with another area (i.e. Old or Late Egyptian, hieratic or Demotic)as it is relevant to their dissertation research. Those working in Greek or Roman art are required to pass sight exams in both Greek and Latin (administered by Classics) or to satisfy the proficiency requirement by coursework (a 3XX level course).


Typically, students in the Ancient Art and Archaeology program spend the first two and a half years in coursework. General exams are usually taken in the latter half of the third year. The general examination tests the candidate by means of an 8-hour written exam in Ancient art and archaeology, and a 4-hour written exam devoted to the general area of the dissertation; these are followed by a 2-hour oral examination covering materials related to both written exams.

Application Process

The graduate program in the Department of Art and Archaeology usually has an enrollment period of FIVE years.  The actual time to degree is normally somewhat longer.   

The graduate program is for Ph.D. candidates only.  The M.A. degree is incidental and cannot be applied for separately.

The program in art history is small, with about 9–12 students entering each year.  There are about thirty-five students in residence at one time.  The seminars are small with enrollment of approximately three to ten students.  All graduate students have individual carrels in Marquand Library, one of the outstanding art research libraries in the world.  In the same building are the Art Museum, the Index of Medieval Art, and the research photograph collection. 


Application Deadline Dates & Fees for Fall 2024–25 are as follows: Application deadline is December 1, 2023. Deadlines are for the receipt of applications and all supporting material for the 2024–25 academic year for all applicants. The application fee for 2024–25 is $75. Although an undergraduate major in art history will be helpful, it is not a requirement. GRE score submission is now optional. An advanced placement examination in art history is not given. A writing sample of 25 pages is required when applying to our program. If you have specific questions, email Barbara Mooring Graduate School Online Application

Financial Support

Students who are admitted to any of Princeton's humanities doctoral programs are always offered financial assistance in the form of a fellowship and/or assistantship. The University Graduate School will offer Department of Art and Archaeology students a five-year program of full tuition, including health insurance, and an annual twelve-month stipend (including the summer months, as long as academic work is performed).

In addition to regular university support, the department has several endowment funds of its own that can provide limited support for research away from Princeton if external fellowships do not come through.

Travel funding from the department’s Spears Fund is available to every graduate student in our department. Each enrolled student is entitled to one travel grant after successful completion of two years of coursework to be used during their period of enrollment (including DCE status). Students often begin to use this fund during the summer or breaks to visit museums or archives to test out a dissertation topic. This Spears travel grant is used for any type of transportation: air, rail, car rental, bus, metro, etc. Graduate students are also entitled to funding for photographs and/or a digital camera; this may be used at any time after the general exams but before enrollment ends. Applications must be endorsed by the dissertation adviser and approved by a faculty committee. Spears funding is not awarded on the basis of need or relative merit.

For incoming students, the department will provide funding for a Princeton summer language course. For enrolled students, the department will fund the costs to attend professional meetings (including travel, hotel, and registration fees); travel to special collections and archives for research; and seminar trips with a faculty member to New York, Philadelphia, and/or Washington, DC, museums and galleries. All first-year enrolled graduate students receive a fund to purchase books. Funding for books is to be used exclusively for course textbooks or books related to the dissertation research. For students who have won outside grants (CASVA, Kress, Dedalus, DAAD) the department will top up the stipend for research in the Euro-zone.  Finally, the department will offer students who are post-enrolled, on a competitive basis, a one-semester finishing grant.

Students may also augment their stipends with teaching and research assistantships. Although we do not require students to T.A., most do it at least once during their time here; it is an important part of a student’s formation as a future professor. Teaching assistantships are awarded on the basis of student preparation and departmental need. Financial need does not have to be demonstrated.


The Department informs students of ongoing fellowships within the University as well as outside related funding opportunities. In the past, our students have received internal fellowships, including the Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities, the Donald and Mary Hyde Research Fellowship, and the Harold W. Dodds Honorific Fellowship. Students have also received fellowships from the DAAD (Deutscher Akademishcer Austauschdienst), the Dedalus Foundation, Fulbright-IIE (Institute for International Education), the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA), the Gladys Kreble Delmas Foundation, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA), Homer A. and Dorothy B. Thompson Fellowship sponsored by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece, Japan Foundation, and the Samuel H. Kress Travel Foundation. The department is also able to provide limited support for dissertation research away from Princeton.

Graduate students should refer to the Graduate Handbook for a more detailed description of available fellowships.


All students are required to precept at least once in order to acquire valuable teaching experience. The application deadline is mid-March for the fall term; mid-November for the spring term.

The Graduate School does not generally permit first-year students to precept, but there may be exceptions. Students who do precept are offered a one-time reduction in their course load, equivalent to one course. Preceptors must be present and available throughout the entire semester to assist with teaching and grading. Each term, the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning provides an AI (Assistant in Instruction) orientation for students who have never precepted. Faculty instructors are encouraged to write evaluations of their preceptors.

We know in advance that some courses will require preceptors. A good example is Art 100. However even in this case, we do not know in advance how many preceptors will be needed. In the case of other courses we only know whether preceptors will be needed after the undergraduates have pre-registered.

Well in advance of pre-registration, all enrolled graduate students are asked whether they are interested in precepting. At this time they are given a list of courses to be offered in the next term which we know will need preceptors. When pre-registration figures justify it, students are advised of any additional courses that may require preceptors.

It is important to understand that students have to apply in order to be considered. The pool of preceptors for each course is determined by the students who indicate their interest on the application. When applying to precept, students must have their advisers send a supporting note.

The process that leads to precepting assignments is a complex one, involving variables and unknowns (enrollment size), and three criteria that are potentially in conflict with one another: student interest, faculty interest, and funding issues. The important point to stress, however, is that the eventual decision is made by the faculty course instructor.

Job Placement

Over the past ten years, the Department’s Ph.D. recipients have found positions in universities, colleges and art museums. The list includes the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cleveland Institute of Art, Colgate University, College of Notre Dame, Columbia University, Fairfield University, Fordham University, Franklin and Marshall College, Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, Galerie Deschler, Berlin, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Harvard University, J. Paul Getty Museum, Jenkins Fine Art Center, Louisiana State University, Loyola University Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Public Library, Milwaukee Art Museum, National Tsing Hua University, China, Oberlin College, Pennsylvania State, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Phillips Collection, Princeton University Art Museum, Rhodes College, Rice University, Roger Williams University, Rutgers University, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Santa Clara University, Tulane University, University of Buffalo, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Riverside/Berkeley, University of Colorado (Boulder), University of Kansas, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of London, University of Maine, University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, Santa Clara, CA, University of Seattle, University of Sydney, Ben Gurion University, Israel, University of New Hampshire, University of Toronto, University of Zurich, Vassar College, Walters Art Gallery and Yale University.