Doctor of Philosophy in Art History by Exhibition

The Doctor of Philosophy in Art History by Exhibition is designed primarily for curators and related visual arts workers who wish to curate an exhibition based on thorough academic research at PhD level. The Doctor of Philosophy in Art History by Exhibition is applicable to research proposals relating to all areas of the visual arts, however proposals dealing with the Candidate's own artwork are not applicable.

Entry Requirements

Minimum prerequisite for admission to PhD candidature requires one of the following:

  • Master of Philosophy in Art History or Musuem Studies; or
  • Bachelor’s degree in Art History or Museum Studies from an approved university with at least honours class IIA or equivalent; or
  • Coursework master’s degree with an overall grade point average of 5.65 on the 7- point UQ scale which includes relevant research experience, approved by the dean; or
  • Postgraduate degree (at least one year full-time or equivalent) with an overall grade point average of 5 on the 7-point UQ scale, together with demonstrated research experience equivalent to honours class
    IIA will be considered on a case-by-case basis; or
  • Bachelor’s degree plus at least 2 years of relevant research experience, including research publications.
  • Applicants with curatorial/arts industry experience and qualifications are strongly encouraged to apply.

The course of study

In order to have the degree conferred, the students must complete the following:

  • the University's milestones of candidature
  • curatorship of an exhibition
  • a catalogue essay + thesis
  • ENGL9000 Advanced Research Methods is highly recommended

It is expected that during the candidature the student will present research papers to the School and University research community and at conferences, and endeavour to publish work in high quality journals.


Applicants can discuss the degree program with UQ Art History and UQ Art Museum staff prior to making an Expression of Interest, which is required prior to being invited to formally apply.

Please send Expressions of Interest to Dr Andrea Bubenik,, and

An Expression of Interest should include:

1. A one page description of the project, including exhibition rationale and evidence of venue and budget support (for Kinnane PhD Scholarship in Art History by Exhibition applicants, evidence of venue and budget support from the UQ Art Museum)

2. A cv that includes all relevant academic and industry experience

Detailed information on application procedures can be found at the UQ Graduate School website. The number of places in the program is limited and entry is highly competitive. Applicants will be assessed on the quality of their publishing and academic record, curatorial/arts industry experience, and the suitability and strength of their research proposal.

The Exhibition

The exhibition would be staged under the direction of the appropriate personnel in the relevant art gallery and in consultation with the candidate's supervisor. Candidates are responsible for selection of artworks, supervision of exhibition design and installation, and production of all didactic material. Two examiners will attend the exhibition and examine the exhibition and catalogue as it relates to the thesis.

Assessment of the exhibition is based on:

  • Translation of research methodology into exhibition rationale
  • Explication of research topic
  • Critical framework grounding selection of works and didactic material
  • Innovative and professional curatorial practice

The Catalogue Essay

The catalogue essay should be 6,000-10,000 words in length and should adequately describe the exhibition. It should take the form of a fully argued introductory essay to the exhibition, drawing on key points of the thesis component, and making them available to the reader in a summary and accessible form.

Assessment of the exhibition catalogue is based on:

  • Elucidation of the exhibition
  • Contribution to Art History
  • Appropriate expression for intended audience

The Thesis

The Thesis provides the original research and articulated focus of enquiry developed from, or contributing to, the work of the exhibition and catalogue. An exegesis, or critical reflection on the outcomes of the exhibition project from a curatorial perspective, must be included as a chapter in the thesis. The thesis is assessed according to conventional criteria for a research thesis but at a length of not more than 40,000 words. Its primary task is to provide the conceptual framework and rationale for the exhibition.

Assessment of the Thesis is based on:

  • Contribution to knowledge with a level of originality consistent with at least three years full-time study and supervised research training
  • Relationship of research topic to the broader framework of knowledge in Art History and Curatorial Practice
  • Critical reflection on exhibition
  • Thesis must be clearly, accurately and cogently written, and suitably documented according to standard guidelines for presentation. Further scholarly material or visual documentation of the exhibition may be included in appendices for the guidance of the examiners.


The Exhibition and Thesis will be assessed by two examiners external to the University, according to the standard methods and criteria for doctoral theses. You will be required to undertake an oral examination.