May 18, 2024  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 [Archived Catalog]

Interdisciplinary Arts - PHD

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Degree Title and Name:  Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Arts

Program Name and Number:  Interdisciplinary Arts – PH5192

Department/Unit:  School of Interdisciplinary Arts

Delivery Mode:  Athens Campus

Term(s) of Entry:  Fall

Program Overview:  The School of Interdisciplinary Arts is a Ph.D. program that educates scholars and scholar-artists who are grounded in specific disciplines and are able to address the arts through the unique lens of interdisciplinarity. In the dynamic contemporary world, as the boundaries among the arts become increasingly permeable, we recognize the methodological importance of interdisciplinary scholarship to facilitate our critical, historical, and philosophical understanding of the arts.

The faculty provide expertise in the following areas: African arts and literatures, art and architectural history, ethnomusicology/musicology, film studies/comparative literature, philosophy of art, and theater/performance studies. Each faculty member poses a distinct perspective on the interrelationships, interdependencies and interactions among the arts, critical studies, history, and philosophy. The program prepares students for scholarly research, while also valuing creative activity in the arts.

There are two tracks in the program. The first is the scholarly track, in which students undertake a strong education in a primary area and secondary area, culminating in the production of a scholarly dissertation.

The second is the scholar/artist track, in which a primary scholarly area is pursued, while the secondary area is in creative practice under the tutelage of a faculty member in one of the following schools within the College of Fine Arts: Art + Design, Dance, Film, Music, or Theater. The culmination of the scholar/artist track is the production of an integrated scholarly/creative dissertation.

For both tracks, the centerpiece of the program is a series of interdisciplinary, team-taught seminars. Faculty and students come together to investigate intensively a selected topic and/or period from multiple perspectives and disciplines. Students are also required to take courses from faculty across the College of Fine Arts, as well as in disciplines outside of the fine arts.

The School emphasizes pedagogical training and thus plays a vital a role in the university by engaging undergraduates in the interdisciplinary study of the arts through general education courses. The Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Arts is a full-time program of study (a minimum of four consecutive semesters in residency.)



  • African Arts and Literatures
    For this area, students may focus on traditional African arts, contemporary African arts, African literatures, African film, postcolonialism, diaspora studies, and global and transnational theories. The courses needed to complete a student’s primary or secondary area may be taken with a range of other Africanist professors across the College of Fine Arts and the College of Arts and Sciences; in the Schools of Art + Design, Dance, Film, Music, and Theater; and the Departments of Anthropology, Classics and World Religions, English, Geography, History, Linguistics, Modern Languages, and Political Science; and in the African Studies Program.
  • Art and Architectural History
    This area concerns the history of the visual arts and architecture and is based largely (although not exclusively) in the West from Antiquity through Modernity. Courses in the department focus on cultural history, are object-oriented, and address interdisciplinary concepts like word and image, art and performance, iconology, and art and power. Students are encouraged to pursue their interdisciplinary interests, and can engage with additional traditions, periods, and methodological approaches in the Art History program in the School Art + Design and across the university. 
  • Ethnomusicology/Musicology
    This area concerns the intellectual history and research methods of ethnomusicology and musicology. PhD candidates in this area take courses that focus on how ethnomusicologists and musicologists have written about musical forms in various cultural, transnational, and historical contexts. PhD candidates in this area are also challenged to make use of their secondary area so that it complements their area of expertise and informs their dissertation research. 
  • Film Studies/Comparative Literature
    This area provides students with modes of reading global history and culture through national and translational literary and filmic texts. In particular, this entails an address of theoretical, historical, and critical methodological approaches. Furthermore, students are encouraged to pursue the Film Studies and Comparative Literature area with an understanding of the fundamentally interdisciplinary consideration of all other disciplines that take an epistemological tact in their respective focus on literary and visual art and culture.
  • Philosophy of Art
    This area focuses on the philosophical study of the fine arts and the deep relations among them, as well as with history, world-views, belief-systems, religious practices, and mythological traditions. It is open to all historical periods and regions of the world. Combining philosophy of art with philosophy of culture and history of ideas, this approach leaves behind the framework of Western vs. non-Western arts and philosophies, and encourages students to study them as dynamically connected, historically conditioned, and continually interacting parts of the global circulation of concepts and symbols, as well as ritual and artistic practices.
  • Theater/Performance Studies
    Students in this area have the opportunity to study a wide range of topics in theater, drama and performance studies.  Students create a course of study that draws on relevant courses in the arts, humanities, communication studies and social sciences. The study of performance encompasses theater, dance, performance art, music and everyday life. The focus is primarily in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but courses are also available on aspects of Classical, Elizabethan, Restoration, and eighteenth-century performance. In addition, students can learn about performance worldwide, for example, with courses from experts in Southeast Asian puppetry, African dance and music, and contemporary German performance.

Program Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will produce original interdisciplinary scholarship acceptable at a scholarly peer-reviewed level, within a reasonable schedule.
  • Students will teach undergraduate Interdisciplinary Arts courses that address the course learning outcomes, engage students, and employ technology appropriately.
  • Students will articulate and implement a comprehensive vision of their career paths and goals.

Opportunities for Graduates:  Interdisciplinary Arts has historically demonstrated a high degree of success in placing graduates in a variety of professional settings. Because of the emphasis placed on pedagogical training, the majority of Interdisciplinary Arts graduates teach in higher education throughout the country and abroad. Having honed a specialization in a primary area, IARTS graduates are well-positioned for teaching positions in that discipline, yet by also pursuing a secondary area, they are attractive to departments that require versatility. Scholar/artists are well-positioned for teaching jobs that require not only practice but also history, theory, and criticism in their area of focus. Finally, some IARTS graduates pursue administrative careers, like deans or chairpersons of fine arts and humanities programs, or directors of art centers. The ability to pursue a Museum Studies certificate at the university’s Kennedy Museum has resulted in some graduates pursuing careers in museums, as curators, for example.

Link to Program:

Link to Program Handbook:

Graduation Requirements:  Minimum semester hours required: 90.

Required Courses (Scholarly Track)

  • Two Interdisciplinary Arts seminars (IART 8901)
  • Four seminars in primary area (any area from African arts and literatures, art and architectural history, ethnomusicology/musicology, film studies/comparative literature, philosophy of art, and theater/performance studies), three of which should be taken in Interdisciplinary Arts, and one of which should be taken from outside Interdisciplinary Arts. Seminars are to be chosen in consultation with the primary advisor.
  • Two seminars in secondary area (any area from African arts and literatures, art and architectural history, ethnomusicology/musicology, film studies/comparative literature, philosophy of art, and theater/performance studies), one of which should be taken in Interdisciplinary Arts, and one of which should be taken from either inside or outside Interdisciplinary Arts. Seminars are to be chosen in consultation with the secondary advisor.
  • seminar in Philosophy of Art (IART 7401, IART 7402 or IART 7403)
  • One Critical Theory seminar (IART 7404)
  • One Transnational and Global Theories seminar (IART 7407)
  • One graduate level elective
  • Two research/pedagogy courses (IART 7001 and 7002)
  • One dissertation proposal course (IART 7003)

Required Courses (Scholar/Artist Track)

  • Same as the Scholarly Track, except that the secondary area will be Art + Design, Dance, Film, Music, or Theater training, with at least two graduate-level performance/studio courses with the pertinent arts faculty member over a two-year period.

Additional Requirements

  • Reading knowledge of a language other than English
  • Comprehensive Examination
  • Professional Portfolio

Maximum number of dissertation hours credited to the degree: 40.

Culminating Experience:  Students will complete a scholarly dissertation (scholarly track) or an integrated scholarly/creative dissertation (scholar/artist track).

Admission Requirements:  Potential candidates must possess a Master’s degree from an accredited American or international university.

The following materials must be submitted for the scholarly track:

  • Official transcripts of all previous degrees.
  • Three current letters of recommendation that address the candidate’s academic achievement and potential.
  • A three-five page essay in which the applicant discusses reasons for selecting a PhD in Interdisciplinary Arts and the intended primary and secondary areas of study. 
  • Admission application form from the Ohio University Graduate College.
  • A sample research paper from the applicant’s previous work.
  • Graduate Record Examination scores.
  • International students must submit evidence of proficiency in the English language to be offered a teaching stipend, and must achieve at least the minimum score on the TOEFL/IELTS required by the Graduate College. Students with scores lower than the minimum may be considered for admission, but will be retested upon arrival at Ohio University and may be required to take additional intensive English courses.
  • A personal interview is recommended.

Scholar/Artist track: admission requirements are the same as above. In addition, the student should contact the appropriate College of Fine Arts professor (outside of IARTS), indicating interest in applying. The student’s portfolio of creative work will be reviewed by this professor. A letter from the professor indicating support for the student’s project, as well as the portfolio, should be included in the application (along with the other required materials).

Application deadline: January 31, for priority consideration for a graduate teaching assistantship.  Later applications may be considered, depending on enrollment and availability of financial assistance.  For students receiving a stipend, admission is granted for fall semester only. Students will be notified within one month of the application deadline.

International Students:  This program permits full-time enrollment in residence at Ohio University, and an I-20 may be issued based on admission to this program.

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