Home » PhD in Arts: Eligibility, Admission, Syllabus, Top Colleges, Scope

PhD in Arts: Eligibility, Admission, Syllabus, Top Colleges, Scope

A PhD in Arts is a three-year doctoral program that allows students to specialize in either humanities subjects such as psychology, history, or journalism, or performing arts such as music, or visual arts such as video, animation, and film-making. Aspirants can expect an annual salary of about INR 3,000,000 after having completed a PhD Arts course. The maximum annual salary is expected to be around INR 11,00,000.

Students who have earned a Master’s or equivalent degree in the specific field with a minimum grade point average of 55 percent are eligible for the PhD Arts program.

PhD in Arts: An Overview

The following table summarizes the key features of the PhD Arts program 

Level of CourseDoctoral
Also referred asDoctoral degree in Arts
Duration of Course3 years
Type of ExaminationSemester/Year wise
Eligibility CriteriaMaters or M.Phil. in the relevant subject.
Process of AdmissionEntrance based
Fees for the CourseFrom INR 15,000 to INR 2,00,000 
Average Salary
INR 4,00,000 
Top Hiring Firms Colleges, Boutiques, Fashion Houses, Art galleries,Textile Industry
Position of Job Art Consultant, Art therapist, Researcher, Sculptor

PhD in Arts Eligibility

  • A master’s degree or equivalent in the specific field from a recognized college or university is required of the applicant.
  • The applicant must have received an average grade of 55 percent in their overall grade.
  • To be considered for the course, the applicant must pass national or university-level entrance exams.

PhD in Arts Syllabus

Though the exact syllabus varies by specialization, we’ve put together a list of all of the main specializations and the most important topics covered in each.

First Year Second Year
Indian History: Ancient, Medieval and ModernHistory of Photography 
Indian Culture and its HeritageSocio-economic Aspects of Medieval India
Research MethodologyProse Fiction
Data Collection and Survey MethodsWomen’s Literature 
Colonial Literature Literature in the Twentieth Century 
Political Philosophy Indian Administration 
Political HistoryPsychological Process 
Development of Human Behaviour Psychological Methods
Third Year
History of Indian Music
The World History
Advanced Research on Psychological Disorders
International Economics: Theories and Policies
The Art of Thesis Writing
Research Idea and Viva – Voce

PhD in Arts Admission

The majority of universities use an entrance exam system, but some colleges may also conduct another round of personal interviews. Only a few colleges offer merit-based admission. The general admissions procedure is described further down.

  • Most colleges accept students who score well on UGC-recognized entrance exams or national level tests such as UGC-NET, UGC-CSIR-NET, DBT (JRF), ICMR, and others.
  • When applying for merit-based admission, the result is usually announced after the application has been processed and the qualifying exams have been completed.
  • Admission is determined by the candidate’s performance on the entrance exam in the case of entrance exams. This is calculated after the entrance exam is completed.
  • There would be a personal interview round for final selection in both cases. The applicant will have to explain his research proposal to the board in this round. If the panel approves the candidate, he or she will be admitted to the program.

PhD in Arts: Focus Areas

A PhD in Arts is a doctoral degree that provides students with the advanced skills needed to advance in their chosen field of the arts and humanities.

  • At the end of the course, students would be expected to submit a dissertation concerning the research area in which they chose to do their thesis.
  • Depending on the specialization, students are able to gain an in-depth knowledge of multiple art forms, the procedures, the history, and so on.
  • This course is ideal for all those who are artistically inclined and enjoy working with their hands.
  • This course thoroughly covers all aspects of the chosen specialization. Visual arts, music, history, English literature, psychology, and other specializations are among the options.
  • Candidates who successfully complete this course can work as educational researchers in colleges, universities, and research institutions.

PhD in Arts: Important Entrance Exams

The following are some of the most important entrance exams for admission to a PhD Arts program.

  • UGC NET: For admission, it is held in the month of June. This exam is required for PhD admission to UGC-approved universities.
  • IIS RET: In most cases, the exam takes place in September. Because the topics are similar to those on the UGC NET exam, candidates should study the UGC NET syllabus while preparing for the examination.
  • The entrance exam for Savitribai Phule Pune University is usually held in the month of August. The curriculum is mainly associated with the arts, such as art history, theories, and so on.
  • The entrance exam for Mangalayatan University is usually held in December. It contains questions about the arts, primarily on topics covered in your master’s degree.

PhD in Arts: Areas of Specialization

Numerous PhD arts specializations are available to assist candidates in specializing in their chosen field. The following are some of these specializations:

  • The PhD Visual Art course is designed to prepare students to create works that primarily rely on the visual environment.
Average FeesINR 2,00,000
Average SalaryINR 2,00,000 to INR 8,00,000 
  • Advanced research on human behavior and mental disorders is part of the PhD Psychology program.
Average FeesINR 2,00,000
Average SalaryINR 4,00,000 to INR 10,00,000 
  • A comprehensive study of all aspects of history, ancient, contemporary, and modern, is included in the PhD history course. It is divided into two sections: Indian History and World History.
Average FeesINR 50,000 to INR 2,00,000 
Average SalaryINR 3,00,000 to INR 8,00,000 
  • The study of English literature, significant writers, and the history of some major literary works are covered in the PhD English Literature course.
Average FeesINR 10,000 to INR 1,00,000 
Average SalaryINR 3,00,000 to INR 6,00,000 

PhD in Arts: Preparation Plan

  • Exams are usually given online, so practice with online mock exams.
  • The syllabus usually consists of sub-subjects that fall underneath the major discipline chosen by the candidate, so review what you’ve learned in your master’s program.
  • Most exams also include a personal interview section, so practice by having someone undertake mock interviews on oneself.
  • Examine the provided syllabus and the exam pattern thoroughly.
  • While studying, take notes. These can be useful for last-minute revisions.
  • Concentrate on ones weak subjects and give them more time.
  • Study from the UGC-Net recommended books, because this will help you prepare for other exams as well.
  • It is a good idea to solve previous year’s question papers if they are available, as this will boost your confidence. Remember that there will be negative marks when solving previous papers, so proceed with caution.
  • Every day, study for at least 4 hours and try to finish the syllabus.
  • Keep up with all of the news from the colleges you would like to apply to.
  • If you have any questions about admission, call the office and ask for the most up-to-date information.
  • Continue to solve previous study material and model papers.
  • Plan your approach to the paper based on ones strengths and weaknesses.
  • Make certain you’ve met all of the admission requirements.

PhD Art: Top Institutes

This program is only offered by a few top institutes in India.

Ranking by India Today 2019InstitutePlaceAverage Fees 
7Loyola CollegeChennai INR 10,000 – 30,000
8Christ UniversityBangalore INR 50,000 
5Madras Christian CollegeChennai INR 10,000 – INR 50,000 
12Mithibai College of ArtsMumbai INR 5,000 to INR 50,000 
17Women’s Christian CollegeChennai INR 27,830
24KJ Somaiya College of Arts and CommerceMumbai INR 6,000
25St. Xavier’s CollegeAhmedabad NA
30Kishinchand Chellaram CollegeMumbai NA
38Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous CollegeMumbai NA
51Maharani Lakshmi Ammanni College for WomenBangalore INR 10,000 to INR 30,000

PhD Arts and PhD Fine Arts

Many students are confused between a PhD in Arts and a PhD in Fine Arts, but these are two completely different programs. We compared these two courses based on their overview, duration, eligibility, admission process, and other factors.

Basis of Comparison PhD ArtsPhD Fine Arts
Highlight This course covers the entire Arts stream as well as all of its specializations, such as History, English Literature, and Political Science. Visual and musical arts are also involved.This course examines a variety of artworks and art forms, including mosaic, ceramics, various types of antique artworks, paintings, craftsmanship, and so on.
Duration of Course3-5 years 3-5 years 
Eligibility CriteriaMaster degree with minimum 55% marks. Master degree in relevant discipline 
Process of AdmissionEntrance exam followed by interviewEntrance exam followed by interview
Top Institutes  Christ University, Madras Christian College, Loyola College, Lucknow University, LPU. , Amity School of Fine Arts,
Average Fees 
INR 24,000 – INR 1,50,000 INR 10,000 – INR 2,75,000
Roles of Job Lecturer, Teachers, Therapist, Professor,Performer, etc. according to his/her specialization.  Designers, Interior Decorator, Painters,etc. 
Average Salary 
Per Annum
INR 3,00,000 – INR 11,00,000 INR 3,00,000 – INR 10,00,000 

PhD Art: Important Books Recommended

The mentioned books are essential for PhD candidates in the arts, as they will aid them in properly conducting their research.

Book NameAuthor’s Name
Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working ArtistsSharon Louden
Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and CreativityDavid Lynch
Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of ArtmakingDavid Bayles & Ted Orland
Creative BlockDanielle Krysa

PhD Art: A Comparison among Institutes

A comparison of the best colleges in India that offer PhD programs in the arts.

Basis of ComparisonChrist University Women’s Christian College KJ Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce 
HighlightIt is a Bangalore-based deemed university. It began as a self-contained college in 1969. Three campuses are located in Bangalore, one in Ghaziabad, and one in Pune. It offers courses in Engineering, Arts, Commerce, Science, and other fields at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.Women’s Christian College is a female-only Catholic college in Chennai. It offers courses in Science, Arts, and Commerce at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.This college is part of the KJ Somaiya group of educational institutions. It is devoted primarily to subjects in the arts and commerce. It offers a variety of courses in each of these two areas at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels.
Ranking by India Today81724
PlaceBangalore Chennai Mumbai 
Eligibility CriteriaMaster Degree with minimum 60% marksMaster degree with minimum 55% marksMaster degree with minimum 55% marks
Process of AdmissionEntrance Based Entrance Based Entrance Based 
Average Fees
INR 50,000 INR 27,830INR 6,000
Average Salary
Per Annum
INR 6,85,000INR 2,40,000 INR 2,75,000
Top Hiring FirmsKPMG, Ernst and Young, Deloitte, Accenture, etc.  Amazon, Axis Bank, Accenture,Capgemini, etc. HDFC, Kotak, Wipro,etc. 

PhD Arts: Top Job Profiles

PhD Arts graduates will find employment in colleges, as well as in the private and public sectors. They can work in ad agencies, art studios, theaters, fashion houses, boutiques, animation, and the textile industry, among other places.

The table below lists some of the most important positions for such candidates. 

Position of JobDescription of JobAverage Salary 
Per Annum
Art TherapistA person who uses various forms of art to improve the mental health of children and adults.INR 2,80,000 
Gallery ManagerA person in charge of organising art exhibits and selling works of art.INR 3,00,000
ResearcherA person who researches a particular field about a particular topic and tries to find solutions on the same.INR 4,00,000 
Journalist The applicant seeks to figure out the most up-to-date information on all global events and publishes it in print or electronic media.INR 3,50,000 to INR 7,00,000 
WriterThe candidate composes a new piece. It can be a work of fiction or nonfiction literature. They can also write study guides and books as academic writers.INR 3,50,000 to 5,00,000 
HistorianThe person who meticulously researches every aspect of history and attempts to present it in a new light in their own publications.INR 3,50,000 to INR 6,00,000 

PhD Arts: Benefits and Scopes

  • It opens doors for you, both academically and professionally, because you will be well-versed in both fields.
  • Because the arts are a creative field, possessing a PhD will give you an advantage over your competitors by sharpening your skills.
  • It will also earn you respect in society because you will be working in a creative field, and people will respect your ideas because you’ll be involved in many innovative ideas.
  • It is a good option if you are interested in art and research.
  • It also gives you the opportunity to try something new, as the majority of these options are non-traditional career paths.
  • Because the job opportunities will be diverse and unique, the pay packages offered will be substantial.
  • If you want to keep studying in the future, you could do a double PhD.


Which examinations should I take in order to be admitted to this course?

You can take the CET, UGC NET, and other exams, and most universities have their own examinations as well, but you must first determine if you are eligible to take them.

What are the typical annual fees associated with completing the degree?

The fees would range from INR 24,000 to INR 1,50,000 on average.

Is there a PhD in Arts entrance exam?

Yes, you will be required to take an entrance exam in order to enroll in a PhD program in the arts.

What can you expect in terms of a typical salary?

Salary ranges from 2 to 5 lakhs on average.

Why aren’t more people interested in pursuing a career in the performing arts?

Mostly due to the misguided belief that the pay is low.

What is the course’s duration?

The course lasts about 2-3 years, but some universities allow students to complete it in as little as 6 years.

What is the cost of this course?

No, the curriculum is not prohibitively expensive, with annual fees ranging from INR 20,000 to 2 lakhs on average.

What career options are available after completing a PhD in Visual Arts?

A photojournalist, a screenwriter, a film director, an actor, a graphic designer, an art therapist, and so on are examples of professions.

Is it a good idea to take this course?

Yes, particularly if you are interested in art and want to make a name for yourself in the field. Furthermore, it opens doors for you both professionally and academically.

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