case western reserve university



Graduate Student Handbook

Case Western Reserve University in conjunction with The Cleveland Museum of Art offers graduate degree programs in art history (MA and PhD) and art history and museum studies (MA and PhD). The Case Western Reserve / Cleveland Museum of Art cooperative Program provides a unique opportunity for qualified graduate students toparticipate in academic course work within one of America's major art museums which is located in University Circle, a cultural park comprising fifteen arts institutions. Committed to training scholars and teachers as well as museum professionals, these programs draw on the collective strengths of a major research university and a world-reknowned art museum.

The Case Western Reserve / Cleveland Museum of Art cooperative Program has been in existence since 1967, and in 37 years has granted more than 200 MAs, and 68 PhDs. Dissertation topics have ranged from Nereids in Hellenistic Art, to Renaissance bronzes in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, to the sculpture of Louis Bourgeois and Eva Hesse. Some of The Museum's curators serve as adjunct faculty, and graduate research projects under their direction often result in exhibitions and publications. The museum studies course and internships provide experience in connoisseurship, conservation, design, and museum education.


Art history courses are held both on the Case Western Reserve University campus and in classrooms at the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA). The Cleveland Museum of Art is in the midst of an ambitious restoration and museum expansion project, to be completed in 2012. However, special exhibition galleries are already open and the permanent collection galleries are being reinstalled and re-opened on a rolling basis in a process that began in the summer of 2009. The major research center for the program is Ingalls Library at the CMA, where graduate students are assigned shelves and are granted access to the extensive research facilities. These include a collection of more than 215,000 volumes and extensive holdings of current and older art periodicals and art auction catalogues. The Photograph Library contains a study collection of over 6.4 million images (black and white photographs, microfiche and microfilm reels) including manyspecial pictorial collections: Le Peintre Graveur Illustre (Bartsch Old Master graphic archive); Berenson Archives; Asian Art Photographic Distribution (Chinese National Palace and Centralmuseums); Courtauld Institute Photo Survey Archives; Corpus Photographicum of Old-Master Drawings (Gernsheim collection); DIAL (iconographic archive for Netherlandish art); The Victoria and Albert Museum Photograph Reference Collection; The Alinari Photo Archive; The Marburger Index(Germany); Index Photographique de l'art en France; Deutsches Archaologisches Institut (classical Greece and Rome); The Witt Library (European paintings); The Conway Library (European architecture, sculpture, manuscripts and medieval art) and The Cicognara Library. The Library of 480,000 slides has been succeeded by an archive of digitized images. A digitization service --  free to graduate students -- has been established for those preparing presentations and courses, etc.  The university’s own Kelvin Smith Library also collects in art and architectural history and contains the Samuel B. and Marian K. Freedman Digital Library, Language Learning, and Multimedia Services Center. Finally the department operates undergraduate and graduate programs in Studio Art and Art Education (in cooperation with the Cleveland Institute of Art) in an attractive facility (“The Greenhouse”) which is available on request for graduate student functions.

The Cleveland area is rich in cultural resources. The Dittrick Medical History Center and the Western Reserve Historical Society, along with other important cultural institutions, are located on the campus (i.e., in “University Circle”). The Cleveland Public Library in downtown is a major research library, noted, e.g., for its John G. White collection of Orientalia. Art museums in nearby cities such as Akron , Oberlin , Toledo , Youngstown ,and Detroit are often visited by students, and art galleries on or near campus provide practical experience for museum studies interns. The Cleveland Symposium and the annual meeting of the Midwest Art History Society offer opportunities for students to present research papers.

University Faculty

Recent Graduate Seminars
Dr. Neils

Dr. Neils

Dr. Olszewski

Dr. Olszewski

Dr. Scallen

Dr. Scallen

Dr. Adams

Dr. Adams

Dr. Helmreich

Dr. Helmreich

Dr. Landau

Dr. Landau

Dr. Petridis

Dr. Petridis


The Joint Program offers financial assistance on a competitive basis annually and all rewards are renewable. The major criteria for awarding fellowships and other financial aid are academic excellence and scholarly promise, but need is also taken into consideration. Both MA and PhD candidates are eligible. Awards of financial assistance involve working as a teaching assistant or research assistant. Teaching assistants receive invaluable training for future academic positions as well as experience in giving museum gallery tours.

Cleveland Museum of Art/Case Western Reserve University Fellowships provide up to full tuition and an annual stipend of $9000. These awards require 10 hours per week of museum service, usually in a curatorial department.

Case Western Reserve University/MOCA Cleveland Emily Hall Tremaine Curatorial Fellowship This two year joint fellowship will provide full tuition and a $10,000 per year stipend to a talented doctoral student who wishes to purse a curatorial career in the contemporary art field and enrolls in the graduate program in art history at Case Western Reserve. The candidate must meet all requirements for admission to Case Western Reserve's program in Art History and Museum Studies as well as complement the profile of the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art. Both institutions must agree on the selection of the recipient; an interview in Cleveland will be required. The Emily Hall Tremaine Curatorial Fellow will have the opportunity to participate in the curatorial activities and exhibitions program of an important regional contemporary art center. The fellow will be guaranteed a leading curatorial role in at least one major exhibition, and will participate in the ongoing didactic and research activities of the center. The fellowship will entail a significant amount of writing, and will involve working with living artists, as well as some opportunities for public speaking through gallery tours, panels, and lectures. The candidate will be expected to complete coursework for the Case doctorate during the two years of this joint fellowship. Tuition for the requisite number of dissertation credits needed for completion of the degree will also be guaranteed subject to maintenance of a 3.5 GPA and satisfactory progress on the dissertation. Additional stipend assistance will be available on a competitive basis for the remainder of the period required to earn the Ph.D. The standard application for the Program in Art History and Museum Studies should be used; please include in your essay a statement outlining your interest in and qualifications for this curatorial fellowship. For application and further information contact the Department Chair c/o or 216-368-4118. Read comments from the 2000-2002 fellow, Amy Gilman.

Three Cleveland Foundation Gallery internships of $2,000/semester are also available.

Application deadline: January 1st.


Research and travel money is available on a competitive basis to enrolled graduate students. Requests should be submitted in writing to the departmental chair. Students who are delivering papers at the College Art Association annual meeting and graduate student symposia are normally given priority.

Information on student loans and work study programs is available from the Financial Aid Office, Yost Hall, Room 417A, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7049, phone: 216-368-4530.

Pancoast Fellowships are available through the office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies for women graduate students to fund travel and study abroad. Recent awardees in the Department of Art History and Art have spent a summer of language study in Florence, pre-dissertation research in Poland, and a course on Dutch and Flemish art in the collections of St. Petersburg, Russia.


The Master's program in art history is designed to provide the student with a broad knowledge of the major art historical periods as well as the historiography and the critical methodologies of art history. Opportunities to investigate art historical problems in some depth are provided in lecture and seminar settings. MA candidates are required to take a minimum of thirty semester hours of course credit, although more than this minimum may be required for students whose undergraduate art history background includes deficiencies. The thirty hours of course work must be taken at the 400 level or higher, and be distributed as follows:

a. ARTH 495: Methodologies (3 hours)
b. Four courses (12 hours), one each from the following areas:
1. Ancient
2. Medieval
3. Renaissance/Baroque
4. Modern and American
5. Non-Western
c. Art History Electives (12 hours)
d. Qualifying Paper (3 hours)
Among the above at least 3 courses (or 9 credits) must be graduate seminars at the 500 level.

Candidates for the MA in art history must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one approved modern language other than English, normally French or German. The language requirement must be satisfied before the student applies to take the Master's Comprehensive Examination. It may be satisfied in one of two ways:

a. The student may complete a minimum of six credit hours of college-level language study and achieve a grade of B or higher, either within two years prior to matriculation or by no later than the end of eighteen graduate hours of art history. Credit hours earned for language study may not be counted as part of the thirty hours required for the MA degree in art history. These hours may be taken at Case or elsewhere and official transcripts must be provided.

b. The student may take a language examination administered by the Case Western Reserve's Modern Language Department during the first year of graduate study (offered every April and November). In the event of an unsatisfactory performance, the exam may be taken again or the student may enroll in courses of formal language study.

Prior to graduation all MA candidates are required to submit a qualifying paper; it may be a seminar or course paper reworked as necessary, or an independent project. This required MA qualifying paper, based on individual study, should be the length of a publishable article and conform with the text and footnote format used in the Art Bulletin . The paper is written under the supervision of a faculty advisor, and is read and approved by a second member of the art history faculty. Further information regarding the Qualifying Paper is available online. Three credits registered as ARTH 489 is required.

All students in the MA Program in Art History must follow the Plan B (comprehensive examination) Master's Degree Program as described in the Case General Bulletin .

After completing thirty hours of course work, students are required to take a MA Comprehensive Examination. It consists of a slide examination requiring the identification and brief discussion of thirty works of art chosen from all fields of art history, and four essay questions, incorporating materials from at least three of the five areas defined above.

Upon completion of the foreign language requirement, the MA Comprehensive Examination, and the MA qualifying paper, students will be provided in each case with a written evaluation of their performance, with four possible results: a) High Pass, b) Pass, c) Low Pass and d) Fail. A grade of Pass (or higher) on both the comprehensive examination and qualifying paper is required for the MA degree. Only those students who achieve an overall evaluation of High Pass or the equivalent (A) on the comprehensive examination AND the qualifying paper or final internship project are eligible to be considered for admission to the PhD Program in Art History or Art History and Museum Studies. In order to apply to one of these programs, second-year MA students at CWRU should submit a statement explaining which field they would like to study and why, and make clear they have discussed this plan with their potential departmental advisor. This faculty member should also submit a letter of support, verifying their willingness to work with the applicant. The statement and letter should be submitted by January 1 to the Director of Graduate Studies in Art History and Museum Studies. Action will be taken on such applications (including a decision on financial aid) shortly after completion of the comprehensive exam and qualifying paper or final internship project. If accepted, the applicant may defer starting the doctoral program for one academic year if so desired, but the financial aid offer cannot be guaranteed for the next year.

All students are required to maintain good standing in the School of Graduate Studies, i.e. a minimum quality point average of 2.5 at the completion of twelve semester hours or two semesters of graduate study, and a minimum quality point average of 2.75 at the completion of twenty-one semester hours or four semesters of graduate study (For details, see the Case General Bulletin) . If a student receives two grades of C, he or she will be placed on probation. An additional C will require withdrawal from the program.

All requirements for the MA degree must be completed within five years of matriculation, including leaves of absence, excepting leaves for military service or maternity/paternity leave. Formal application for graduation must be filed at the Office of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies not less than two months before the date of the convocation at which the candidate expects to receive the master's degree. In exceptional circumstances, some requirements may be waived with the permission of the department and/or the Dean of Graduate Studies . All requests for waiver of a requirement must be made formally, in writing, no later than the semester preceding the one in whichthe waiver is to be applied. Students will be notified in writing by the department chair whether or not the waiver has been granted.


The master's program in art history and museum studies includes the same broad requirements and objectives of the master's program in art history, with additional study of art museum procedures and connoisseurship, and a supervised museum internship. As part of their internships students have contributed to catalogues and have helped organize exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Interns have also worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA), Cleveland Foundation, the Cleveland Clinic and other museums, galleries and corporate collections locally and elsewhere. Competitive summer internships at other museums may beapplied toward the museum studies degree. Recent examples include internships awarded to Case students at the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Hirshhorn Museum, and the National Gallery of Art. Course, language, and examination requirements are the same, although a qualifying paper is not required for the MA in art history and museum studies. As part of the total thirty-one credit-hour course of study the following courses are required:

ARTH 490 Visual Arts and the Museum (3 hours)
ARTH 491 A (1 hour) & ARTH 491B Internship (3 hours)


The doctorate in art history is awarded in recognition of advanced mastery of a specific area within the discipline. The student must demonstrate the ability to identify an unique problem in the field, perform independent research, and communicate the results in a dissertation.

Admission to the PhD program requires a MA degree from Case Western Reserve or elsewhere and assignment of a faculty advisor. With the assistance of the advisor a planned course of study leading to the PhD will be submitted to the department at the start of the first semester. Full-time students should plan to complete all requirements for the degree, with the exception of the dissertation, within two years of matriculation.

University requirements for the PhD include a minimum of thirty-six hours of course credit, but the department may require additional course work as preparation for the general examination or for the dissertation. The minimum credits are to be distributed as follows:

1. ARTH 495 : Methodologies (3 hours)
2. A minimum of two graduate seminars (3 hours each) at the 500 level (6 hours)
3. Three additional courses at the 400 level or above (3 hours each) (9 hours)
4. A minimum of 18 hours of ARTH 701: PhD Dissertation (18 hours)

Doctoral students must demonstrate an ability to read two approved foreign languages useful in art historical research. All language requirements must be completed before the PhD student is allowed to schedule the PhD Comprehensive Examination. German is normally required as one of the two languages for students concentrating in Western art; students concentrating in Asian art must be able to read one Asian and one approved Western language. Both languages must be approved by the department during the first semester of doctoral study. Credit hours earned in language study may not be counted as part of the thirty-six credit hours required for the PhD in art history. The language requirement may be satisfied in the following ways:

a. With the consent of the department, an approved language accepted as part of a MA degree in art history (within three years of matriculation in the PhD program) may be accepted as fulfilling part of the PhD requirements.

b. The student may complete six credit hours of college level study in either or both approved languages and achieve a grade of B or higher within two years prior to matriculation or by the end of eighteen graduate hours of art history. These credit hours may be taken at Case or elsewhere.

c. The student will be examined in one or both approved languages by the Case Modern Languages Department during the first semester of the PhD program. In the event of an unsatisfactory performance, students will be re-examined no later than the following semester.

Formal language study will be required for any student whose performance upon re-examination is unsatisfactory.

PhD Examination

PhD students are required to pass a written and oral examination before being advanced to candidacy. The examining committee, which consists of three faculty members, is formed by consultation with the student's advisor and must be approved by the department chair. The examination is offered in two areas:

a) Western Art: Students concentrating in Western art will be examined in the area of specialization in which they propose to write their dissertation. Each student must choose a major and minor field. The areas of the examination will be determined by an examining committee, chaired by the advisor,in consultation with the student. Historiography is considered an important component of all PhD exams.

b) Asian: Students concentrating in Asian art will be examined on their general knowledge of Asian art as well as their specialized knowledge of the field of concentration. The content of the examination (which may include philosophy, history, literature, and other relevant subjects) will be determined by an examining committee, chaired by the advisor, in consultation with the student.

Within two weeks after the written examination the faculty committee will examine the student orally. A final evaluation will be based on the student's performance in both the written and oral sections of the examination. Upon successful completion of both phases of examination the student will be advanced to candidacy and may enroll in ARTH 701 PhD Dissertation.

PhD Dissertation

After completing the PhD examinations, the candidate, in consultation with the advisor, will prepare a written proposal for a PhD dissertation which must then be approved by a committee of three members of the university faculty appointed for that purpose and approved by the department chair. The student will present the chosen topic to the faculty and graduate student body in a lecture format, and upon final approval a copy of the dissertation proposal will be placed in the student's file. The department will notify the College Art Association of the dissertation subject and working title in order to protect the research area. The PhD dissertation must be based on individual research and writing and make an original contribution to art historical scholarship.

When completed, the dissertation must be submitted to the department no later than three weeks before the expected defense date, read and approved by a faculty committee of four members, at least one of whom comes from outside the Department of Art History and Art. Interdisciplinary topics may necessitate faculty readers from a wider range of disciplines. If appropriate, an additional specialist outside the University may be included on the dissertation committee. The committee members are chosen by the advisor in consultation with the student and must be approved by the department chair. Before the dissertation can be approved and accepted, it must be successfully defended by the student in an oral examination conducted by the full committee.

Dissertations in art history must conform to University rules concerning format, quality, and time of submission, and two copies of the accepted dissertation will be deposited in the University Library. Students must also guarantee microfilm reproduction of the dissertation before certification of the doctorate. Regulations concerning the dissertation are published in the Case General Bulletin.

Initial enrollment in ARTH 701 establishes the start of the five-year limit. Normally, all requirements for the PhD must be completed within a period of five consecutive calendar years, including leaves of absence, excepting leaves for military service or maternity/paternity leave. In exceptional circumstances, additional time may be granted with the permission of the department and the Dean of Graduate Studies, and some requirements may be waived. All such requests must be made in writing, no later than the semester preceding the one in which the waiver is to be applied. Students are notified in writing by the department chair whether or not the waiver has been granted or more time allowed.


The Museum Studies Program is offered to a limited number of candidates on the doctoral level. The program combines the academic requirements of a PhD with practical museum training and is designed to provide experience in connoisseurship, conservation, and art education as well as a planned program of academic course work and independent research.

Students in the Museum Studies Program are required to take a minimum of thirty-eight hours of graduate study as follows:

1. ARTH 490 (3 hours)
2. ARTH 610 a & b: CMA Internship (2 hours)
3. A minimum of two graduate seminars at the 500 level (6 hours)
4. Three elective courses at the 400 level or above (9 hours)
5. A minimum of 18 hours of ARTH 701: PhD Dissertation (18 hours)

During the two-semester internship, the student will be assigned to one or more department(s) in the Cleveland Museum of Art for supervised study and practice that will be evaluated by a member of the Joint Faculty in Art History. The dissertation subject is normally related to some aspect of art museum research; it may take the form of a special collection or exhibition catalogue, but it must satisfy the scholarly standards of the department and the University. Any student who has not taken ARTH 495: Methodologies, or the equivalent, will be required to do so as part of the nine hours of electives. Students must also satisfy all other requirements for the PhD degree in art history,including the prerequisites for admission, foreign languages, written and oral field examinations, residency, and other regulations published here or in the Case General Bulletin.

ADMISSION (Deadline January 1st)

Admission to the master's program presupposes an undergraduate major in art history, or a minimum of thirty semester hours in art history. Normally deficiencies in this basic requirement must be made up, without graduate credit, before admission to full standing. With the approval of the department, undergraduate courses in subjects directly related to the study of art history may be accepted as satisfying the minimum admissions requirement, but such approval must be requested in writing and obtained in advance.

Admission to the PhD program presupposes a Masters degree in art history or its equivalent, including a reading knowledge of one approved modern language. Students whose records do not demonstrate the satisfaction of these requirements at the MA level, or whose MA was not awarded within five years prior to application for admission, may be required to pass a qualifying examination and/or foreign language examination administered by the department before being admitted to full standing in the PhD program.

Applicants should request that their Graduate Record Examination scores (GRE) be sent directly to Case. Minimum GRE scores of 500 in the verbal and analytic sections are required. TOEFL score of 600 or better is required of all applicants whose native language is not English or who have not studied in an English-speaking university.

Students who do not meet the minimum requirements for admission to full standing may apply for admission with provisional standing. This will permit them to enroll in undergraduate or graduate level courses to make up deficiencies after which they may be admitted to full standing. Studens with provisional standing are required to take 3 different courses with 3 different faculty members. In such cases, with department approval, credit earned (with a grade of B or better) may be applied toward the MA and PhD degrees. Further information on provisional standing may be found in the Case General Bulletin .

In addition to the regular graduate school application forms, applicants to the graduate program in art history are required to submit written samples (typically copies of term papers) which, in their opinion, represent their best work. Applicants to the master's program should submit two undergraduate papers, at least one of which should be in art history. Applicants to the doctoral program should submit two papers written during their matriculation for a master's degree or a thesis, if completed by the time of application. These papers help the department in the evaluation of applications. Letters of recommendation which highlight aspects of the student's academic and scholarly potential are also required.


A maximum of six semester hours of graduate credit may be accepted for transfer from another institution. These credits must have been earned within five years prior to matriculation at Case and passed with grades of B or higher. Transfer credit may not be substituted for the seminar requirement. Requests for transfer credit must be made in writing when applying for admission.

Course work taken at other institutions beyond the MA level is not normally accepted for transfer credit toward the PhD. Under some circumstances students may petition for an exception, but transfer credits do not normally satisfy any part of the seminar requirements, the dissertation requirement, or the residency requirement.

For further information:
Department of Art History and Art
Mather House
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7110
Telephone: (216) 368-4118
Fax: (216) 368-4681

(illustration at top of page: Louise Bourgeois, Blind Man's Buff, 1984. Cleveland Museum of Art)