Theory and History of Arts

Artibus Atque Historiae. Dedicated to Art and Its History.

Doctoral degree programme, full-time study mode, Czech, 4 years 
Doctoral degree programme, combined form, Czech, 4 years 
Expand all the items

The study of art history offers students the opportunity to understand visual objects in all areas of the discipline of art history (architecture, sculpture, painting, applied art, and visual culture) in their various historical and contemporary forms, styles, and functions.

The doctoral degree study programme in the theory and history of art consists of the scholarly preparation of highly educated specialists who are involved in basic and theoretical research in the humanist discipline of art history.

The subject of art history concerns itself with knowledge, analysis and a historical understanding of works of art. It studies artistic formation, styles, and functions, and later critical reception. It examines the creators themselves: artists and patrons, the art movements, and “the operations of art history” (gallery institutions, monument care, and art criticism). On the most general spectrum of interest, art history currently provides a general historical study of images and hermeneutics of visual images.

The primary focus of the art theory and art history study programme is to first and foremost prepare and defend a dissertation which explores new and as yet unexplored themes in research into art history or possibly examines existing themes with a new and original approach. The conclusions of the dissertation should contribute to contemporary research discussions in the field of art history and the work should have an essential impact on further research and practice in this subject.

Doctoral studies at the art history seminar are closely linked with the research interests of the Institute and with the research projects of its scholarly employees. The main areas at present for the research projects are: 1) Early Christian, Byzantine and Early Medieval art, 2) Late Medieval and Renaissance art in Central Europe, 3) Baroque architecture, sculpture art and painting in Bohemia and Moravia, 4) Brno as a centre for the history and theory of Modern architecture, 5) Modern and contemporary art in connection with visual cultures in current society, and 6) Collecting, patronage and art-history museum studies.

Potential students of the doctoral programme will be first and foremost those who have successfully completed a Master’s degree in art history and who are qualified for further work in the field or already have certain experience in specialized institutions. The doctoral degree study programme require the development of certain skills and abilities, in particular a knowledge of foreign languages, a widened knowledge in the area of scientific methodology and the methodology of the given field, and additional practical experience within the framework of the research specialization.

The art history seminar is an educational and scholarly research institute with extensive specialized activities. The Institute cooperates on the doctoral level closely with the Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences and with additional art-history specialized workplaces, in particular in Brno and Olomouc. The research and teaching focus of the art history seminar has been traditionally focused on research into the art history of Moravia and Central Europe, from medieval art up to the contemporary period. Emphasis is also placed on knowledge of gallery museum science and monument care as well as on a study of the historiography and methodology of art history. The Institute also includes the Research Centre for Early Medieval Studies: West – Byzantium – Islam which has extensive contacts with foreign institutes and specialists.

Students have the use of two libraries during their studies.


After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

  • understand the relation of the research theme to analysing the research problem and to analyse this connection in relation to the actual research specialization
  • work with digital information sources, the critical use of which is essential for obtaining information concerning works of art
  • use and critically evaluate art history sources (visual, documentary, and textual), creating hypotheses and testing their relevance when dealing with research problems
  • evaluate contemporary trends in art history research and explore the possible historical and contemporary art history approaches in connection with preparing their dissertations
  • prepare university semester lectures and seminars, and communicate their experience in teaching students on the Bachelor’s and Master’s level
  • prepare research projects and independently lead scholarly research work as part of the actual specialization
  • publish both scholarly and popular texts and design demanding exhibition projects
  • work within research teams and support research projects in transdisciplinary cooperation with other scholarly disciplines

Graduates of the doctoral programme in the field of art theory and art history can work as scholarly employees in research, university, and museum institutions.

They are prepared for work in teams for research and teaching. They can become specialized and scholarly assistants at the university level, obtain positions as curators in museums and galleries and as specialized employees in museums, galleries, and monument care, and find employment anywhere that requires a high level of art history specialization.

Now, when visual culture and the understanding of it play increasingly important roles in society, graduates from the doctoral programme can also make use of their skills and abilities in a range of additional research and teaching professions, as well as in marketing and on the media market.


Students in the doctoral programme study according to an individual study plan under the supervision of their supervisor. Their studies are monitored and administered by the academic commission and council of the doctoral programme. In the standard programme, which lasts four years for an internal student, students have to earn 240 ECTS credits in all.

Students sign in to the course on an ongoing basis; upon registering, they must earn a minimum of 20 ECTS credits each semester. An individual study plan therefore assumes a rational scheduling of energy and abilities in order to creatively establish realistic goals in the particular semesters in order to achieve regular credits along with the research for the dissertation.

Students have to meet conditions for completing shared subjects at the Faculty of Arts (theoretical-methodological seminar and a foreign language). The art history seminar also organizes regular doctoral collegiums, semester colloquia, and additional selected courses. An increased emphasis is placed on publishing, presenting papers at conferences, and the foreign mobility of students.

Prior to submitting their dissertation, students have to pass the final doctoral examination, ideally at the end of the second year of studies.


The final doctoral examination takes place ideally at the end of the second year of studies and always prior to the defence of the final dissertation.

The final examination should first and foremost test the preparation level of the graduate for scholarly and teaching work in the field of art history. The examination questions are linked with the particular specialization, within which the student analyses the theoretical and practical problem of their dissertation.

The examination is oral and consists of three parts: 1) specialized branches (architecture, sculpture, painting, applied art); 2) a wider periodical basis (history of architecture, art up to 1500, art up the year 1850, modern and contemporary art); and 3) historiography and methodology of art history.

Finally, the defence of the doctoral thesis takes place, during which the students should demonstrate the ability to discuss the issue being analysed in a cultivated manner and with critical terminology. They should be able to react in the discussion with their readers and carry out a general argument.


Field of study specifications

Field of Study: Theory and History of Arts
Abbreviation: TDU
Code: 8109V012
Type: doctoral degree programme
Degree: Ph.D.
Accreditation: to 31/12/2024
Programme: P8111 D-OT4 General Theory and History of Arts and Culture (4-years)
Faculty of Arts
Field of study guaranteed by:
Faculty of Arts
Field guarantor:
doc. Mgr. Ondřej Jakubec, Ph.D.