Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Fine Arts Course Details, Syllabus and Scope

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Sakshi Gupta

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Stream Arts
Duration 3-5 years
Course Fine Arts
Course Type Doctorate 

Ph.D. in Fine Arts is a doctoral degree, minimum eligibility for which is an M. Phil or M.A. qualification in Fine Arts. Typically, the duration of the course is 5 years (minimum is 3 years in some cases). The doctoral course provides a detailed course in various forms of art including painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and poetry that are founded primarily in aesthetics or beauty.

Top Institutes offering Ph.D. in Fine Arts are:

Usually, students need to hold a Master's Degree to gain admission to a doctoral program. However, direct admission to a Ph.D. program after graduation is also offered by the IITs and NITs. In some disciplines, a Master’s degree in Philosophy (M.Phil.) is a prerequisite to enroll for a Ph.D. course.

For funding/fellowship, it is mandatory for students to qualify the National Eligibility Test for Lectureship and Junior Research fellowship (NET for LS and JRF) conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the University Grants Commission (UGC).

As per new rules formulated by the UGC, universities with Ph.D. Fine Arts program conduct entrance exams in the subject of General Ability besides the main subject for screening eligible candidates. After clearing these written tests, the shortlisted candidates are required to appear for an interview before the respective supervisor/guide.

After successful completion of the program, students are required to give presentations of their research proposal (plan of work or synopsis) at the beginning, submit progress reports, give a pre-submission presentation and finally explain the thesis in an open defense viva-voce in front of a panel.

The research program is oriented to one's individual ability and expression by means of one to one teaching, group tutorials and seminars, visual aids, books, exhibitions, visiting artists, craftsmen and activities like study tours and field trips to provide necessary exposure.

Ph.D. in Fine Arts: Course Highlights 

Name of the course Ph.D. Fine Arts
Course Level Doctoral
Duration 3 - 5 years, full time and part time
Stream Arts
Examination Type Semester System
Eligibility Master’s or M. Phil in relevant Arts stream (preferably Fine Arts) with at least 55% aggregate marks in post graduation
Admission Process Based on entrance test conducted by the respective university followed by either presentation or interview on the research proposal (Applicants who have cleared UGC NET, GATE, SLET, SET are exempted from the entrance test)
Average Course Fee INR 10K to 3 Lakhs
Average Starting Salary INR 3 Lakhs to 12 Lakhs
Top Recruiting Areas Media and Journalism, Universities, Public Relations, Animation Industry, Music Industry, Video Production and Designing, Publishing Houses

Ph.D. in Fine Arts: What is it about?

Fine Arts is a form of visual art which is different from applied art. The five main divisions of fine arts are painting, sculpture, architecture, music and poetry, with performing arts including theatre and dance. Recently, the fine arts also include film studies, photography, conceptual art, video production, and a few others. Topics covered in the curriculum of visual arts include history of art, visual art theory and film and media studies.

A Research Supervisor of the concerned department is allotted to each candidate pursuing Ph.D. in Fine Arts, keeping in view the mutual consent and facilities available with the Supervisor for undertaking the proposed research topic. The student has to submit the research plan proposal at the end of the 2nd semester which is examined by the research supervisor.

The Ph.D. thesis submitted by a research scholar is evaluated by her/his Research Supervisor and at least two external examiners, who are not employed with the university.  The public viva-voce of the research scholar to defend the dissertation/thesis shall be conducted before the committee.

On completion of the research work for the Ph.D., the candidate has to participate in the pre-submission seminar organized by the supervisor wherein the assessment of the research work will be provided to the student. Once the pre-submission work is approved, the candidate is required to submit the thesis within 6 months from the date of his/her pre-submission seminar. As a last step when the thesis is accepted, the candidate is required to defend his/her thesis in a viva-voce, before a duly constituted committee.

Candidates admitted to the PhD in Fine Arts (regular) are eligible for a monthly stipend of approximately INR 25,000 for the first 2 years and a monthly stipend of INR 28,000 for the next 3 years; and after 5 years, they are eligible for a monthly financial assistance of INR 12,000 for 1 year.

Top Institutes for Ph.D. in Fine Arts

There are many top institutes in the country which offer Ph.D. in Fine Arts. Given below is a list of such institutes and their details:

1. Lovely Professional University  Punjab Full Time and Part Time – Minimum 3 years from the date of initial registration 79,000 Master’s degree with 55% aggregate marks in a relevant discipline or equivalent, subject to clearing LPUNEST and Interview (5% relaxation to SC/ST/OBC candidates) Admission is based on LPUNEST and Interview of the shortlisted candidates.
2. University of Delhi (Faculty of Music and Fine Arts) New Delhi Full time – 3 years 2,122 The candidate should have obtained a Master’s/M.Phil. degree from the University of Delhi, or any degree recognized as equivalent in the subject in which the candidate wishes to pursue a course of research, or in an allied subject. She/he must have obtained a minimum of 55% aggregate marks or an equivalent grading in the Master’s degree. Students who are eligible for admission to the Ph.D. Program will be admitted through an entrance examination to be conducted by the respective departments or/and through an interview by the Departmental Research Committee.
3. Noida International University Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh Full Time – 3 years 100,000 Candidates should have a post graduate degree with at least 55% marks and Fine Arts as one of the subjects in the post-graduation. Ph.D. admission is through entrance examination (written test followed by group discussion or personal interview) conducted by Noida International University in the month of July. Last date to submit the application forms is in June last week.
4. Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda Vadodara, Gujarat Full Time – 2 to 5 years 65,000 (tentative) Candidates holding a recognized Master’s degree or a recognized equivalent degree with 50% aggregate or equivalent grades (without grace marks or rounding off) in Fine Arts are eligible to appear in this examination; where the subject vacancies are mentioned. Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda conducts Ph. D Entrance Test (PET) for admission to its Ph.D Program. Candidates who score at least 40% marks (40 out of 100 Marks) in Written Test, are eligible for the Personal Interview.
5. Kamla Raja Girls Government Post Graduate College Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh Full Time – 3 to 5 years 21,000 (tentative) The candidate should have a Master’s degree in the relevant stream (Fine Arts) with a minimum aggregate score of 55% or equivalent CGPA from any of the universities. A relaxation of 5% in aggregate is given for SC/ST candidates. Scholars are selected on the basis of performance in the entrance test conducted by the university. Admission form is available from January through May and August is the last month to submit the form. The 2- paper based written tests are held in August.
6. Himachal Pradesh University Shimla, Himachal Pradesh Full time – 3 years 2,700 Candidates seeking admission to the Ph. D. course must have at least 55% marks in aggregate (50% in case of SC/ST) in the concerned subject at Master's level. Selection is through entrance test conducted by the university. The qualifying score in the Entrance Test for admission is 50% aggregate. In case of SC/ST candidates, qualifying score in the Entrance Test is 45%.
7. Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh Full time – 3 years 10,100 Candidates are required to have a Master’s degree from Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith or any other university in the relevant discipline with minimum 55% aggregate (50% for SC, ST and Physically Challenged candidates). Admission is through entrance test conducted by the university. Those who have cleared UGC-NET, CSIR sponsored JRF, NET, GATE and SLET need not appear for the entrance examination, however, they need to clear the personal interview round. Application form can be filled and submitted from June first week till July.
8. Amity University Noida, Uttar Pradesh Full time – 3 years Part time – 4.5 years 50,000 Master’s Degree in Fine Arts / Visual Arts in Painting / Applied Arts / Art History or its equivalent from any accredited Indian or Foreign University in the relevant field with a minimum 55% aggregate score or grade point average. Admission is based on the following criteria:
  • Score obtained in the Amity Entrance Test
  • Performance in Interview Rounds
  • Proposed Research Idea
  • Academic Record
9. Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh Full time – minimum 3 years 15,518 Master’s degree in the concerned subject. At least 55% in aggregate or equivalent grade point average in the qualifying examination. Admission to the Ph. D. program is based either on the Research Entrance Test (RET) or through direct admission for those who have cleared the national or State level eligibility tests such as UGC-NET, GATE or its equivalent.
10. Kurukshetra University Thanesar, Haryana Full time – minimum 2 years 5,600  The minimum eligibility criteria is a Master’s Degree in the concerned subject from Kurukshetra University or an examination recognized as equivalent thereto with at least 55% aggregate score (50% marks for SC/ST candidates). Selection is based on performance in the entrance test conducted by the university followed by personal interview.
11. Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh Full time – 3 years 6,325 Master’s degree or equivalent in the proposed field of research with at least 55% aggregate marks from any recognized university along with a bachelor’s degree in the same field with a minimum aggregate score of 50%. Candidates applying for the Ph.D. course need to appear for the written entrance test conducted by AMU. They need to secure a minimum of 30 marks in the test in order to qualify for the Presentation/Interview round which will determine the final admission of the candidates.
12. Panjab University Chandigarh Full time – 3 years 7,500 Candidates who have passed the Master's examination in the concerned subject with a score of not less than 55% aggregate (50% for SC/ST/BC Category), or have appeared in the final year examination of the Master’s degree in the concerned subject from Panjab University, Chandigarh or from any other University. Admission is based on the following criteria:
  1. Entrance Test conducted by Panjab University level/UGC NET cleared
  2. Interview at departmental level
13. Maharshi Dayanand University Rohtak, Haryana Full time – minimum 2 years 12,750 Master’s degree with at least 55% marks in aggregate or its equivalent B grade in UGC 7- point scale in the concerned subject or in an allied subject (50% in case of SC/ST candidates) Admission to Ph.D. program shall be made through Entrance Test, the syllabus of which shall be the same as is prescribed for National Eligibility Test (NET) by the University Grants Commission/ Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)/ Indian Council of Agriculture and Research (ICAR).
14. Assam University Silchar, Assam Full time – minimum 3 years and maximum 6 years 18,900 Candidates for admission to the Ph.D. program need to have a Master's degree or an equivalent professional degree or a M.Phil. degree with at least 55% marks in aggregate or its equivalent grade. The minimum required score is 50% marks for candidates belonging to reserved category. Candidates will be admitted to the Ph.D. course through an Entrance Test and Interview. A student having a PG degree from Assam University, UGC-NET (including JRF)/UGC-CSIR NET (including JRF)/SLET/GATE/teacher fellowship holders will get 10% of her/his PG grade/ % of marks as bonus added to the entrance examination score.
15. IIS University Jaipur, Rajasthan Full time – 3 years of professional experience Part time – 5 years of professional experience 50,000 At least 55% marks in aggregate or equivalent CGPA/grade in the Master’s degree examination for a general category candidate or at least 45% marks in the aggregate for reserved category (SC/ST/PBC/PWD). Admission to the Ph.D. program is through the following modes:
  • Research Entrance Test (RET) conducted by the university
  • Direct Admission for applicants who have cleared NET-JRF, NET-LS, GATE, SLET, SET.
16. Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya Chhattisgarh Full time – 3 years 3,280 Post Graduation in the concerned subject with minimum 55% aggregate score. Admission is based on entrance test conducted by the university followed by personal interview (Strictly as per the schedule declared by the Dept. of Higher Education Govt. of Chhattisgarh).
17. Mangalayatan University Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh Full time – minimum 2 years 50,000 Candidates are required to secure a score of 55% in aggregate at the Master's level in Fine Arts to avail admission. Admission to professional courses in Mangalayatan University is based on Entrance Examinations (MUEE) conducted by the University or by Central/ State government agencies and Personal Interview. MUEE is held in May.
18. Gulbarga University Karnataka 3+2 (Full time) 4+2 (Part time) 4,132 M.V.A. / M.F.A. / M.A. in Fine Art / M.Phil. in Visual Art or any other equivalent Master’s degree with at least 55% marks in aggregate. Admission is based on entrance exam conducted by the university followed by personal interview. Application form is available from September last week.
19. Tripura University Agartala, Tripura Full time – 3 years 4,000 Candidates having a Master’s degree with minimum 55% marks (50% for candidates belonging to SC/ST/PWD category) in the related subjects or allied subjects from any recognized university. Selection is through Research Eligibility Test (RET) examination which consists of objective type questions. Candidates who have qualified UGC/CSIR (JRF)/ SET / NET / SLET / GATE are exempted from entrance exam.
20. Stella Maris College: Arts & Science College for Women Chennai, Tamil Nadu Full time – 3 years 4,975 M.Sc./MBA/M.A./MBBS or equivalent in Fine Arts with minimum 55% marks. Eligible candidates have to appear for the entrance test and will be called for an interview for the final selection.
21. Rabindra Bharati University Kolkata, West Bengal Full time – 2 – 5 years 19,700 M.F.A./M.V.A or any equivalent Master’s degree in the concerned or allied subject from any UGC recognized University with at least 55% Marks (50% for S.C./S.T) preceded by graduation with Honours in the concerned or allied subjects. Selection of the candidate for the research/doctoral program will be done on the basis of performance in the entrance examination and viva-voice.
22. Ambedkar University Delhi New Delhi Full time – 3 years 16,000 The minimum eligibility is a postgraduate degree with a minimum of 55% aggregate (B in the AUD grading scale) or its equivalent with a good academic standing from a recognized Institution. Relaxation of 5% for candidates belonging to SC/ST/PD categories. Entrance test conducted by the university followed by interview in July. Online application form is available from mid- June to mid- July.

Ph.D. in Fine Arts: Course Duration

The duration of the full- time Ph.D. is a minimum of 3 years (2 in some cases), including coursework and a maximum of 5 years (6 in some cases). The first 2 semesters, that is, the 1st year will consist of course work. The 3rd semester is devoted to the gestation of a fully-fledged research proposal. The next 3 semesters and any period of extension is meant for research, practical etc. A Ph.D. student is eligible to get 1 year of extension for thesis submission.

Duration of a part- time Ph.D. program ranges from 5 years to 8 years, as per university rules.

Eligibility Criteria for Ph.D. in Fine Arts

The minimum eligibility criterion to pursue the doctoral course of Ph.D. Fine Arts is a Master’s degree in Fine Arts [Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)] or any other relevant Arts stream with a minimum of 55% marks in aggregate or an equivalent CGPA/grade from any recognized university. Applicants who hold an M.Phil. degree with a minimum score of 50% marks aggregate are also eligible to apply for the Ph.D. program. Some universities also demand a few years of professional experience for admission. A relaxation of 5% marks, from 55% to 50%, or an equivalent relaxation of grade, is allowed for those belonging to SC/ST/OBC/PWD categories.

Ph.D. Fine Arts: Admission Process

Admission is based on performance in the entrance examination conducted by the university followed by the personal interview round. Candidates who have qualified national/ State level competitive examination such as National Eligibility Test (NET-JRF or NEL-LS) / State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) / Graduate Aptitude Test (GATE) accredited by UGC, Central or State Government, along with M. Phil degree holders, or university fellows are exempted from appearing in the entrance examination and are considered for direct admission to the Ph. D program.

The screening process for Ph.D. program is a 2- stage process that involves:

  • An Entrance Test (objective and subjective both) which is conducted by the university consisting of assessment of research methodology, subject specific knowledge, and logical and analytical capability. The syllabus of Ph.D. entrance test in Fine Arts includes subjects related to History of Western Arts and Indian Arts, Aesthetics Indian and Western, or related to advertising and marketing, and other relevant subjects.
  • An Interview is organized by the concerned department wherein candidates are required to discuss their research interest/area through a presentation before a duly constituted Department Research Committee (DRC) of the university. The interview is conducted to assess whether the candidate possesses enough competence for the proposed research, and the research work can be suitably undertaken at the department concerned, and the proposed area of research can contribute to new/additional knowledge or not.

LPUNEST – LPUNEST is National Entrance and Scholarship Test for admission to various programs in the Lovely Professional University. The entrance test forms the basis of eligibility for some exams conducted by the LPUNEST for PG Arts, Education and Commerce aspirants. Registrations for LPUNEST begin in the 1st week of March (tentative). The test is conducted in the online mode in the month of April. For all PG Arts, Education and Commerce programs, applicants may avail scholarship on the basis of LPUNEST ranging from INR 80,000 to 10,000 per annum. For Ph. D. Fine Arts (full time and part time), candidates with 90% marks in LPUNEST are eligible to receive INR 30,000 as scholarship amount per semester and top 10% students are awarded INR 20,000 per semester.

Ph.D. Fine Arts- Options for Distance Education

The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), located in Delhi, offers a full- time distance learning Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) course in Performing and Visual Arts with specialization in Fine Arts, Theatre Arts and Music (PHDPFVA). The minimum duration is 2 years and the maximum duration of the course is 5 years. Course fee is INR 7,500 with no minimum or maximum age bar. Candidates seeking admission should have a Master’s degree in Fine Arts with minimum 55% marks in aggregate (50% for SC/ST candidates) from any recognized university. Admission is based on presentation of the Ph.D. proposal and Personal Interview before the panel.

Ph.D. in Fine Arts: Course Structure and Syllabus

Given below is a list of the major courses covered under Ph.D. in Fine Arts:

  • History of Indian Art
  • Indian Aesthetics
  • History of Western Art
  • Western Aesthetics
  • Contemporary Indian Art
  • Fine Arts – Techniques and Technology
  • Art History & Art Criticism
  • Art History & Aesthetics
  • History of Indian Sculpture
  • Indian Pre-Modern and Modern Art
  • Major Stylistic Development in Western Paintings and Sculpture
  • Understanding of Art management and Marketing
  • Music and Aesthetics.

Career Prospects and Job Opportunities after Ph.D. in Fine Arts

Arts graduates have the option to join various fields such as art studios, advertising companies and publishing houses. Other associated fields are product design, manufacturing, online services, publishing houses, software companies and magazines where art graduates can work as art critics or arts specialists.

Artists and craftsmen also work as freelancers and sell their creation or display them in exhibitions. Although, steady income is an issue for freelancers, people with outstanding talent can manage to receive outstanding payment for their exquisite work.

Within the field of fine arts, success and job prospects depend on the individual's experience, creativity, market awareness, and talent. Some research scholars also step into entrepreneurship and build their own business.

A fresher with the degree can find several job openings such as:

  • Visualizing Professional
  • Illustrator
  • Art Critic
  • Artists
  • Art Professionals
  • Design Trainer

They may also qualify for jobs in the field of research or academia. Possible options include:

  • Professor
  • Art Museum Director
  • Art Business Owner

Arts professionals can find employment in various areas like:

  • Animation
  • Advertising companies
  • Art studios
  • Clothing industry
  • Dance studios
  • Digital media
  • Fashion houses
  • Magazines
  • Manufacturers
  • On-Line services
  • Print making
  • Publishing houses
  • Sculpture
  • Television
  • Publishing industry
  • Graphic arts
  • Teaching
  • Films and theatre productions
  • Textile industry

Listed below are some of the job titles and job profiles open after Ph. Din Fine Arts. Also listed are the remunerations offered and the job roles:

Ph.D. in Fine Arts

Job Title Job Profile Average Annual Salary in INR
Artist Fine Artists create original works of art, through a variety of media. They often specialize in a particular medium which can be drawing, painting, sculpture, moving images, etc. Many artists also specialize in a subject and may concentrate on areas such as landscapes, portraits or abstract. 262,716 -610,225
Art Critic Art critics function as reporters in their field. They write articles in which they interpret and analyze the meaning and quality of an artist's work. Art critics typically fall into two categories: Journalistic Art Critics and Scholarly Art Critics.  602,101- 1,398,870
Professor A career in Professorship is usually open to those who have years of experience in teaching art or art history or in working with renowned professionals; hold a Master’s or doctoral degree. College art professors help their students develop their artistic techniques and give insight into ways to market and build their creative professions.  120,000- 244,587
Advertising Art Director Advertising Art Directors, often known as 'creatives', produce innovative ideas for visual elements of advertising campaigns in all kinds of media including cinema and television, Internet, radio and press. An art director usually works alongside a copywriter to form a 'creative team'.  1,231,452

Ph.D. (Fine Arts) Fee Structure in India

27.86 K (Minimum Fee)PUBLIC COLLEGES58.60 K  (Maximum Fee)
47.15 K (Average Fee)
82.50 K (Minimum Fee)Private COLLEGES6.59 L (Maximum Fee)
2.78 L (Average Fee)

Ph.D. (Fine Arts) Fee Structure By state

Uttar Pradesh

47.15 K
3 LPrivate COLLEGES3.65 L
3.18 L


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Ph.D. (Fine Arts) Colleges IN INDIA

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Amity University
Noida, Uttar Pradesh
1 L first year fees
9.29 K first year fees
1 L first year fees
NIMS University
Jaipur, Rajasthan
1.15 L first year fees
4.63 K first year fees
CMJ University
Ri-Bhoi, Meghalaya
2.55 L Total fees
91 K first year fees