Doctoral Candidacy and Dissertation Hours


  • The online doctoral candidacy application must be final approved by the graduate dean before you are eligible to  register in dissertation hours
  • If you need placeholder hours until you can add dissertation hours, register for as many sections of ARH 396C Reading Tutorial as needed
  • If you still have an advising bar when you are eligible to register for dissertation hours, email the Graduate Coordinator to request that the advising bar be cleared and include your UT EID in the email

Applying for Doctoral Candidacy
Once you have completed all program requirements (including both foreign language requirements) and passed the written and oral qualifying exams, the committee supervising the dissertation is formalized in the doctoral candidacy application process.   First, confirm with the Graduate Coordinator that all program requirements, including both language requirements, have been met.

Forming the Dissertation Committee
In consultation with the committee supervisor, confirm the four or five people who have agreed in advance to serve on the dissertation committee, following these criteria:

  • The supervisor and at least two other people on the committee must be from the Art History Graduate Studies Committee (tenured or tenure-track faculty)
  • One person on the committee must be from outside the department
  • The “outside” person may be from the University of Texas at Austin or another university

Applying for doctoral candidacy
Review the Application for Doctoral Candidacy

  • You must be registered (tuition paid) to submit the online candidacy application.  If you have not launched the application by the end of the semester, you must wait until your registration is completed for the following semester before you can initiate the application.
  • After admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree, you must stay in continuous enrollment in dissertation hours each Spring and Fall semester until the degree is completed, unless in ISR status (see bottom of page)
  • Students may register for 3, 6 or 9 dissertation hours.  The first digit of the course number indicates the number of credit hours, so ARH 399 = 3 credit hours, ARH 699 = 6 credit hours, and ARH 999 = 9 credit hours
  • Students employed in these job titles — Teaching Assistant, Assistant Instructor, Graduate Research Assistant, Grader — must be enrolled for 9 credit hours
  • Once the doctoral dissertation committee is final approved by the Graduate School, it can be changed only by petition to the Graduate School, and with the agreement of all committee members
  • If the doctoral candidacy is final approved early in the semester, the student can drop place-holder hours and register for dissertation hours.  Contact the Graduate Coordinator for information
  • Once in online doctoral candidacy application has been approved, a student may request to be put on the wait list for an individual study room in the Fine Arts Library.  Direct your request to  Adam Hatley at the front desk or email him at

Registering in dissertation hours
Please read the following carefully and remember it always (or just refer back to this page):

  • The online doctoral candidacy application must be final approved by the graduate dean before you can register in dissertation hours
  • In the first semester of doctoral candidacy, you will register ONCE in the “R” option. Register ONCE for ARH 399R, 699R or 999R and you will NEVER register for the “R” option again
  • For the second semester and all subsequent semesters, you will register for AHR 399W, 699W, or 999W   Remember, register for the W option after the first semester in dissertation hours.  Think of it as Writing
  • After the second semester in dissertation hours, all students in doctoral candidacy are batch registered for the same amount of hours as the previous semester.  Any type of financial or non-financial bar will block the batch registration process.  Always check your registration and make sure you are registered and for the correct number of hours
  • You must be registered in dissertation hours in the semester that you defend the dissertation and graduate
  • If you do not submit your completed dissertation and graduate in the semester the dissertation defense takes place, you will need to continue to register in dissertation hours until you graduate

ISR status
In certain circumstances, students conducting independent research outside of the U.S.  may be eligible for Independent Study and Research (ISR)  status in lieu of registering for dissertation hours.  However, as noted above, you must be registered in dissertation hours to defend your dissertation and graduate.  If you are approved for ISR status, the International Office staff will register you.   Pay careful attention to the health insurance requirements of ISR.



General information, forms, guides, and news for current Art History graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin.