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So, just a general question...do the majority of Art History programs interview candidates prior to their acceptance? Coming from studio art, this is so different than the process I'm used to for applying for schools..

Edited by Emma2003
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Short answer is no. Most programs don't interview. But every department is different. Every year is different too, for that matter. I could envision a scenario in which the committee was really deadlocked between two candidates and decided to conduct interviews to bring in another layer of data.

There are too many problems with interviews for them to become a regular thing. The major one is the issue of meeting face-to-face: a phone interview is hard to arrange between multiple people, and if it's just one-on-one, then it's one faculty member's opinion of you. That's not in keeping with the way graduate admissions works-- it's always a discussion between more than one member of the faculty, all of whom have some degree of familiarity with your application. Sure, they could fly you out and interview you the way they do in a lot of social sciences programs, but that doesn't seem to be the way it's ever worked, and in academia, in case you haven't noticed, status quo counts for a lot.

Hope that's helpful.

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I think it really depends on your subfield. I contacted potential advisers during the application process and I was strongly encouraged by several of them to make the rounds before applications were due (I went in December, after some deadlines but before adcoms were meeting, just before winter break). As one of them put it "that way you won't just be another impressive set of grades on a piece of paper."

Meeting face to face with professors was an enlightening experience. I clicked immediately with some of the profs I talked to; after meeting with others (well, one other) I cursed the waste of my $90 application fee.

However, it is entirely possible that I was so encouraged because I have a less-common subfield. Maybe profs of modern/contemporary art will be less enthused to meet with 200 potential candidates.

I don't know if this was helpful or not! Anyone else have experiences to share?

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I applied to 10 programs, and so far no one has requested an interview yet. It seems that most Art History programs do not conduct formal interviews, though I do think that going to meet with professors or having some sort of phone contact with them before your application is due is extremely helpful. I met with or spoke to almost all of my potential advisers, and it really helped me sort out the strengths and weaknesses of each program. It also always helps to know which professors you might have a compatible personality with as well.

I think making the effort to meet with professors, visit the department, sit in a class, etc. shows a certain commitment to your application at that particular school, something that's not completely lost on the profs. Never hurts for them to have a face/personality to connect to your writing sample either!

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Thanks for the replies. I initially made some contacts with POI's when I was looking at doctoral programs, which is what got me directed towards getting the MA first. I have been attending the school I've applied to for my MA as a non-degree seeking grad student. I asked one of my professors for a LOR. I think visibility wise, I'm in good shape. I just wasn't sure if I should take NOT being interviewed as a bad sign. You guys have put my mind to rest in that regard.


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