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How to choose the right PhD program for me? What is the best way to research PhD programs?



Background: I am a recent MA art history grad, thinking about applying to PhD programs this coming Fall 2013. My specialization/dissertation topic is on 1960's performance art and proto-feminism. I have looked into various schools that offer PhD's in both art history and performance studies, such as NYU, Duke, Berkeley, etc., and researched faculty working in similar areas as well. 


Question: What is the best way to research PhD programs? My current method (besides checking individual program webpages) is to look at writers who have written articles/books on similar topics as mine and search for where they are teaching/have gone completed their education. Is there a better way? Are there any helpful resources for searching PhD programs to fit my personal topic and area of interest?



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You're on the right track. First, I'd talk to some profs in your field and get a survey of programs as well as some possible feedback regarding which programs might be a good fit for your intellectual interests AND aptitude. You need to know a good program for you vs. a long shot or 'safety' school.

I would also do exactly what you're doing. Get a list of all the programs in your field and check out their websites. Do they have faculty that work with your interests? If so check out the work of these profs. Could you see yourself working with them? Of course, be sure to make contact with them.

In addition to getting an idea of program rankings, find survey ranking online.

Good luck.

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