I wrote Applying to Graduate School in Art History for anyone who is considering applying to graduate school for art history. The guide is an honest look at how to determine if grad school is right for you, what the application process involves, and what being in a program is like. It is broken into three sections, Before Applying, The Application Process, and Life as a Graduate Student.
Before Applying — Art history is not a lucrative field, so the first few pages are devoted to self-reflection with the intent of helping you discern whether or not graduate school is a viable option for you. Are you a strong candidate? Can you afford the cost of tuition (and the cost of applications)? Are you prepared for what will be expected of you? What are your career goals? If you’re sold on grad school, the next few pages explain how to start looking for graduate programs that suit your academic interests and personal needs.
The Application Process — Once you have found good programs to apply to, the guide moves on to the application process: gathering the required materials, asking for letters of recommendation, writing a statement of purpose, and so on. It also discusses how and when to approach your potential advisors (so-called “professors of interest,” or POIs) and current graduate students in the departments that you’re interested in. The section then turns to the post-application period: how to handle the waiting period (that terrible stretch from December to March when your application is in limbo), how to choose between programs if you have more than one offer, how to deal with rejection, and how to re-apply.
Life as a Graduate Student — This section is based on what I learned as an art history grad student and if anything, I hope it encourages others and sheds light on what to expect.
Resources — The last page in the booklet is a small sampling of resources for the application process and graduate student life.
The Second Edition of the guide, published in November 2014, extensively revised and updated the existing text and added two new features: printable worksheets and checklists. Both these items are designed to help potential graduate students navigate the application process and stay organized.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. – Steve Jobs