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How many years does it take to complete PhD in arts?

August 12, 2022 | by

How many years does it take to complete PhD in arts?


When it comes to completing a PhD in arts, the amount of time you’ll spend studying is completely up to you. However, based on data from the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), it typically takes around five years to complete a PhD in arts. So if you have ambitions of becoming a Professor of Art History or a painter, you should start planning your studies now!

How many years does it take to complete PhD in arts?
How many years does it take to complete PhD in arts?

Overview of the Arts PhD

Required Courses

Length of the Arts PhD Program

Admission Requirements




Overview of the Arts PhD

The average time to complete a PhD in the arts is around eight years. However, this can vary significantly depending on the individual’s research focus and the specific institution where they are studying. Some arts PhDs take as little as three or four years to complete, while others may take up to eight or even ten. The length of time it takes to complete a PhD in the arts will also depend on your level of engagement with your coursework and research.

The first step in completing a PhD in the arts is to choose a research focus. After narrowing down your options, you will need to begin researching and writing your dissertation proposal. In order to complete your PhD, you will also need to pass qualifying exams and meet other academic requirements at your institution.

Required Courses

The PhD degree in Arts takes anywhere from four to six years to complete. The most common route is to take a combination of arts, humanities, and social sciences courses. However, a number of specialized programs can shorten the time required to complete the degree. In addition, many students supplement their coursework with outside study or research opportunities.

Required Courses for the Arts

In addition to the required courses for the PhD in Arts, most students take a number of specific arts-related courses. These may include:

  • Art History
  • Creative Writing
  • Music Theory and Composition
  • Performance Studies
  • Cultural StudiesVisual Arts
  • Required Courses for the PhD in Arts

Length of the Arts PhD Program

The arts PhD program at a university can last anywhere from 3 to 5 years, but the average time to complete it is around 4 years. However, the length of time it takes to complete a PhD in arts varies depending on the individual’s level of involvement in research and publication.

In general, the arts PhD program entails completing coursework in the humanities and sciences and a research thesis. Many universities also require students to take a preliminary exam and complete an independent thesis or project before they can graduate.

The length of a PhD in arts also depends on the type of school you attend. Arts programs at public universities tend to be shorter than those at private universities, for example.

Admission Requirements

Doctoral programs in the arts require a minimum of three years of full-time study.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the arts and have achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher. While there is no specific minimum score on the GRE, most doctoral programs require applicants to have scored at least a 30 on the verbal and analytical sections of the test.

Applicants should also have completed one year of graduate work in an art field, with a concentration in either history or theory. Additional coursework may be required depending on the program you are applying to.

Finally, applicants must have received the highest honours degree in the arts or have completed an equivalent program.


There is no set timeframe for completing a PhD in the arts. Depending on the program and the individual’s research trajectory, it can take anywhere from two to eight years.

In general, PhD programs in the arts tend to be more research-oriented than those in other disciplines. This means that students are required to conduct their research and often take courses in specialized areas of study (e.g., art history, studio art, musicology, etc.).

Some popular PhD programs in the arts include:

University of California Berkeley – Department of Art History

University of Pennsylvania – Department of Musicology and Ethnomusicology

University of Michigan – School of Music

Stanford University – Department of Art History and Theory


In order to complete a PhD in arts typically takes around six years. This time period includes both the undergraduate and graduate levels of study, so students will need to devote a significant amount of time and effort to master the materials required for successful completion. In addition, many doctoral programs require research and writing exams, which can take up an additional year or more of your time.

While the time commitment required to complete a PhD in arts is significant, the rewards are plentiful. Some of the benefits of earning a doctoral degree in arts include: having a deeper understanding of your chosen field of study, gaining access to prestigious opportunities and resources, having the ability to share your research with others, and developing a strong foundation for the future career growth.

If you’re interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in arts, thoroughly explore all of your options. There are numerous excellent graduate programs available, and there are no “right” or “wrong” choices when it comes to choosing a program – only what will work best for you. Give yourself plenty of time to compare programs and choose the one that best suits your needs.


How many years does it take to complete a PhD in arts?

According to the website Education Portal, a PhD in arts takes around six years to complete. This time frame includes completing an undergraduate degree as well as completing a rigorous doctoral program.

Several factors can affect the time it takes to complete a PhD in arts, such as the quality of the program chosen, the amount of research and writing involved, and the individual student’s ability to manage their time.

Also, Read

What is a Liberal Arts School, And Why Should you Care?

Why a liberal arts degree is not just for Liberal Arts majors


There is no one answer to this question as it can vary depending on your qualifications and the type of PhD you are seeking. However, completing this course typically takes around 7-10 years. So if you are planning on doing a PhD in arts soon, be prepared to put in a lot of hard work!


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