Graduate Admissions


The Department welcomes applications from candidates with a BA degree in art history or other related disciplines with demonstrated intellectual investment in the advanced study of art and its histories. We also welcome applications from those with a MA degree from UCLA or other institutions. Academic preparation and professional accomplishments should reflect capacity and/or potential for original academic research as well as strong interpretive and writing skills. Applicants are encouraged to become familiar with not only the faculty’s fields of teaching and research but also other departments and programs on campus that may be relevant to his or her future studies. In addition to the University-wide graduate admissions minimum requirements, applicants must show evidence of having taken and passed with a grade of B or better at least three courses (upper division and/or graduate) in the history of art or allied fields that address material culture.

The Department offers a two-stage graduate program toward the PhD. Students are not admitted for a terminal master’s (MA) degree. The MA is awarded in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the PhD and is granted with the successful completion of the first stage of the program, typically at the end of the second year (6th quarter) in residence. The admissions Graduate Review Committee may waive the M.A. requirements, at the time of admission, for students matriculating with a M.A. degree in Art History or adjacent discipline from another institution. Following Academic Senate policy on duplication of degrees, a student who enters the program with a M.A. degree in Art History from another institution is not eligible to receive a second M.A. degree in Art History from UCLA.

In addition to the University-wide graduate admissions minimum requirements, applicants must show evidence of having taken and passed with a grade of B or better at least three courses (upper division and/or graduate) in the history of art or allied fields.

Application Process

Fall Quarter admission only; the next deadline is November 30, 2024.

The UCLA Graduate Division utilizes an on-line application through Slate, with online letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and the capacity for the upload of other documents. The Graduate Division application, including supporting material, will ONLY be accepted electronically. If you do not submit all materials online, you will not be considered for admission.

For questions regarding the admissions process, please contact the Student Affairs Officer, Annie Carpenter.

The UCLA Art History department is exercising caution with regard to novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and accordingly, our staff are working remotely for the time being. If you need academic counseling from our Student Affairs Officer, Annie Carpenter, we encourage you to email her during regular business hours, which are 9 am-12:30 pm, and 1:30pm-6pm Mondays through Fridays (excluding holidays). The SAO is also available for calls or virtual meetings (on Zoom) but kindly ask for you to email her beforehand to set up a time to talk during regular business hours. Thank you for your patience.


Application Checklist

  1. Basic Information including your academic history and the program to which you wish to apply, as well as the $135 non-refundable application fee (for US citizens and permanent residents) or $155 for all other applicants.
  2. Statement of Purpose of approximately 500 words
  3. Personal Statement of approximately 500 words (serves as Diversity Statement for certain fellowships, such as the Cota-Robles)
  4. CV
  5. Three Letters of Recommendation from those who can evaluate the applicant’s preparation and potential for academic success in a doctoral program. Letters to be uploaded/submitted by referee.
  6. Writing Sample of two 10-15 page or one longer research paper, or MA thesis if applicable (or sample chapter if length is sufficient). Limit 30 pages; please note that the bibliography does not count towards the 30 page limit.
  7. Transcripts, one from each institution attended, uploaded online, and may be unofficial transcriptsNOTE: An official copy of transcripts is only required if you are offered admission to our program. If you need to send in an official transcript, Transcript Request Forms are available to be printed and submitted to your college or university registrar(s). Official transcripts must be delivered in sealed envelopes by mail to the Department, either sent directly from the institution or mailed by the applicant.
  8. Foreign Language Survey: Please fill out the Foreign Language Survey form using Adobe Acrobat Reader. Using other programs, such as Preview on Mac OS X, can cause your form data to be corrupted. Please upload the survey to your online application under the Supplemental Documents section.
  9. GRE scores (not older than 3 years/36 months to the month of the application deadline):
    admissions due to complications surrounding COVID-19. GRE Scores must be sent directly from ETS. The institutional code for UCLA is R4837. Use 2301 (Art History) as the Department/Major Field Code. GRE score requirement has been WAIVED FOR FALL 2024.
  10. TOEFL or IELTS scores (required of international applicants only whose first language is not English). Official Score Reports can be ordered from ETS. The institution code for UCLA is 4837. The department code is 26.

Please send any non-electronic materials to:
UCLA Art History Admissions
Attention: Student Affairs Officer
Dept. of Art History
405 Hilgard Avenue, 100 Dodd Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1417


Why pursue a PhD in Art History?
The UCLA PhD program in Art History prepares students for careers as college-level teachers, writers, curators, and museum or art world professionals. It is designed to encourage interdisciplinary critical thinking and engagement with a variety of approaches to art history, and supports close interaction between students and faculty.

How do I apply?
UCLA’s Graduate Division has launched a new online application process in recent years. Complete the Graduate Division’s online application, which can be accessed on their website, and upload supporting documents. Please consult the guideline provided above, “Application Process” and “Application Checklist,” for important details.

When are applications due?
November 30th of each year.

How many students apply each year; how many are accepted?
The UCLA Department of Art History is highly competitive. On average, 100 applicants apply each year. On average, we accept approximately 6-8 students each year.

What makes a strong application for graduate school?
The Graduate Review Committee (GRC) values applications that reflect a serious engagement with art historical questions and problems, a focused intellectual direction, and a strong scholarly record. Preparatory training in foreign languages is also highly desirable.

What makes a strong Statement of Purpose?
A strong statement of purpose is concise, clearly written, and provides a substantive account of the applicant’s intellectual and research interests as well as aspirational direction in Art History.

Do I have to identify which faculty I would like to work with in my application material?

What GPA do I need to be accepted?
The Graduate Review Committee (GRC) expects a GPA of 3.5 or better.  However, students are accepted on the basis of the entire admissions package and not on any one element.

Can I apply if I don’t have a BA in Art History?
Yes.  The minimum requirement to be considered for our graduate program is that you have taken 3 art history courses at the undergraduate or graduate level with a grade of B or better in each.

What if I haven’t taken the 3 Art History courses required for entry into the program?
At the discretion of the Graduate Review Committee (GRC), applicants demonstrating exceptional promise who are short on the 3 required courses in art history could still be admitted to the program. In some cases, additional coursework in the field may be required upon admission.

Does the Department offer just the MA degree?
No. The Department does not offer a terminal MA.  The MA degree is awarded only as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the PhD and is granted with the successful completion of the first stage of the program.

If I already have a MA, can I apply directly to the PhD program?
Yes. Students with a MA degree in art history or another discipline can apply for admission to the PhD program. The Graduate Review Committee (GRC) will determine the equivalency of the MA on an individual basis.

How long does the PhD program take to complete?
The normative time to degree for the PhD is seven years from the term of admission. For students entering at the PhD level (i.e., with a MA in hand), the normative time to degree is five years from the term of admission.

Can my Letters of Recommendation be sent electronically?
Yes, the three recommendation letters should be submitted online by your referees.

What should my GRE test scores be?
GRE score requirement has been WAIVED FOR FALL 2024. admissions due to complications surrounding COVID-19. Although no minimum score has been established for admission, successful applicants in recent years have scored on average between 160-165 on verbal reasoning.  GRE scores may not be older than 3 years/36 months to the month of the application deadline.

When should I take the GRE exam?
Please consult the GRE website for details about where and when the test is administered.  It takes approximately 4-6 weeks for the Department to receive your scores.  The GRE score should not be older than three years at time of application.

What are the institution and department/major codes for the GRE exam?
Institution code: 4837
Department/major code: 2301

Can my writing sample be a chapter of my thesis?  In a language other than English?
Yes to both.

Can prospective students arrange for a campus/department visit, including sitting in on a class?
Yes.  For campus visits, go to this Graduate Division link.  To sit in on a class, you must obtain permission from the professor teaching the class.  For contact information, go to Faculty and click on the names of individual professors.

What kind of funding is available?
The Department makes every effort to support all incoming art history graduate students with multi-year funding packages.  Additionally, there is Graduate Division funding, as well as funding from state, federal, and private sources.  For more information about funding, subscribe to the Grad Fellowship List.

Where should additional application materials be sent?
Non-electronic supplementary materials should be sent to:

UCLA Art History Admissions
Attention: Student Affairs Officer
Dept. of Art History
100 Dodd Hall
Los Angeles, CA  90095-1417

Who should I contact if I have questions about admissions to the program?
Anne Carpenter, Student Affairs Officer
Professor Bronwen Wilson, Director of Graduate Studies.