Humanities (PhD)


Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities (HUM PHD)
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences (GA)
Department: Comparative Humanities
Program Website 
Academic Plan Code(s): HUM_PHDCCC, HUM_PHDPAL

Program Information

Established in 2003, the University of Louisville’s Doctoral Program in Humanities is a four-year course of study providing rigorous interdisciplinary training in the Humanities.

Administratively housed in the Department of Comparative Humanities, its faculty belongs to many departments across the university. Our students have the possibility to work with research-active scholars, artists, and writers across the Humanities, the Social Sciences, Studio Arts, Medicine, Law, and more.

The program was redesigned in 2013 in order to increase its focus on theoretical and global perspectives with the goal to produce top-level scholars and artists not only for the academic profession, but for innovative careers well beyond the academy.

Program Options

The Program currently offers two specialized career tracks:

  • The traditional, yet innovative, Culture, Criticism, and Contemporary Thought (C3T): for scholars oriented toward the academy, museums, and other institutions and organizations employing doctoral degree recipients.
  • The unique Public Arts and Letters (PAL): for artists and writers across fields wishing to produce works of literature, art, music, opera, performance, film, etc. that is grounded in and informed by intensive scholarship.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Humanities PhD Program is exclusively for the fall semester of each academic year.

All materials must be received by January 15 for the following fall. No late applications will be accepted.

All applicants must have completed an appropriate master's degree (MA, MFA, MDiv, or other) prior to beginning the program.

All applicants must also have fulfilled all requirements of the Graduate School.

Application requirements include:

  • Online Graduate Application for Admission
  • Graduate Application fee
  • A current curriculum vitae
  • A statement of intent (about 1000 words) focusing on the research interests and the applicant’s professional goals
  • A scholarly or creative writing sample
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate- and graduate-level work
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores.  NOTE: GRE scores are required; however, the Humanities Graduate Admissions Committee will do a holistic review of all the application material in order to make a final decision.
  • Three letters of recommendation from former professors or colleagues attesting to capability for doctoral-level work
  • If applicable, proof of English proficiency

Program Requirements

In addition to the coursework outlined below, students are required to demonsatrate basic proficiency in two classical and/or modern languages, or advanced proficiency in one (in addition to English). 

It also is strongly recommended that students orient completion of specialization coursework toward a specific discipline, and supplement required coursework with elective courses in that discipline.

Required Coursework

Foundation Courses12
Proseminar: Introduction to Doctoral Study (Global Humanities)
Historical Perspectives on Arts & Culture I
Historical Perspectives on Arts & Culture II
Global Perspectives on Arts & Culture
Theories and Methods Courses 6
Topics in Cultural Theory
Topics in Aesthetic Theory
Supervised Projects 9
Graduate Internship
Doctoral Project I
Doctoral Project II
Courses in Area of Specialization12
Dissertation Research9
Dissertation Research
Minimum Total Hours48