Applications for admission to the department’s graduate program are reviewed by a faculty committee of which the DGS is chair. This committee makes recommendations about admission to the University Graduate School on the basis of perceived merit; it does not take into account or have before it information concerning financial circumstances. On the basis of the department’s recommendations, the Dean of the Graduate School makes the decisions about admission.
The number of admissions that may be offered is constrained by the department’s facilities and the Graduate School’s resources. The number of applications has risen in recent years, and admission can be offered only to about ten percent of applicants. Many well qualified applicants unfortunately may not receive admission.
Applicants are required to submit a term paper or other writing sample. The committee weighs the application materials with various points in mind. The GRE scores are significant because they can compensate for any divergency in the meaning of the same grade in different colleges. In the transcript, attention is given mainly to the art history courses, noting their quantity, variety, and grades. If these are favorable, it is not always important whether the student was formally an art history major. The student’s one page statement of purpose is also read carefully.
Yale has a number of interdisciplinary graduate programs in which the art history department plays an important role; among them are African and African-American, American, East Asian, Film, Medieval and Renaissance Studies. When the History of Art admissions committee has finished its work, applications not included in the accepted group may be reviewed by appropriate faculty members and transferred to the application pool of one of the above programs. If the admissions committee in that program agrees, the student is then asked whether he or she would like such a transfer to take place. As a result, a number of students in recent years have been pleased to accept offers of admission to these Yale programs. Some of these programs are for the MA only, and their graduates may then apply to continue to the Ph.D. in art history; others are for the doctorate itself.
If interested in a campus visit, please contact individual professors and graduate students directly via e-mail to arrange your own schedule. Ideally visits should take place in the fall semester. Keep in mind that there is no requirement that a successful applicant visit campus. Even complex questions can be answered via e-mail. Sending inquiries electronically also saves the cost of traveling to and from New Haven.
In choosing where to apply (or where to go, when accepted by several schools) students rightly put much stress on the fields of art history taught and on the known quality of the faculty. When deciding where to go, it can be a great help to learn about the faculty. A simple way to do this is to look at faculty web pages.