Areas of Study

When applying, students choose from the following areas: 

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

Requirements for the areas are essentially the same, with the exception of the two areas listed below, their requirements are outlined here.  

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.”

Classical Art and Archaeology

Students in the Classical Art and Archaeology program will take a total of 15 courses, including both Greek and Roman art/archaeology seminars in each of the first five terms (when such seminars are offered). Some of these may be audited, depending on the candidate’s program and courseload. Individual programs will be determined in consultation with the candidate’s advisor. Required courses: Greek History Proseminar (Classics), Roman History Proseminar (Classics), One 3xx level Literature course in Classics (i.e., a text-based course in either Greek or Latin) and one “reading” course, presumably at the beginning of year three, devoted to preparing the dissertation prospectus. The total of fifteen courses will, ideally, include:9 seminars in Art & Archaeology, including 1 non-western course, 2 Greek & Roman History Proseminars (both for credit), 1 Classics 3xx Literature course, 1 Dissertation reading course and 2 Electives. A candidate for the Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology is required to show proficiency in and 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.

Typically, students in the Classical Art and Archaeology program spend the first two and a half years in class work. General exams are usually taken in the latter half of the third year. The general examination tests the candidate in the following areas: Greek and Latin sight exams, Prose only (administered by Classics), 8-hour written general examination in Greek and Roman archaeology, 4-hour written examination devoted to the general area of the dissertation and a 2-hour oral examination covering materials related to both written exams.

Many students pursuing study in Classical Art and Archaeology will choose to participate in the Program in the Ancient World, Princeton's interdisciplinary program that facilitates work across all university departments that focus on antiquity (Art and Archaeology, Classics, History, and Religion). Please consult the Program’s website.