In 1972, faculty members in the arts at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas USA designed an innovative PhD in Fine Arts degree program in which doctoral students in music, theatre and visual arts embrace core study in all three disciplines, yet maintain a focus on established studies in one particular area of specialization. Students participate in an interdisciplinary curriculum, enrolling in core courses in philosophy (aesthetics), visual arts, theatre and music as well as traditional coursework in their various specialized arts fields. Thirty eight years later, this unique degree offering has had hundreds of graduates, and it is now possible to examine the impact of this program as an example of best practice in interdisciplinary curricula in the arts. The purpose of this paper will be to examine the history of this unique degree offering, to specify the coursework pursued by current participants, and to explore the philosophical underpinnings of the program. Additionally the presenters, representative of the areas of music, theatre, and visual arts, will discuss the various career paths undertaken by PhD in Fine Arts graduates, and will enumerate the scholarly productivity of selected degree recipients. The session will conclude with a discussion of our plans for future evaluation and expansion of this unique, interdisciplinary PhD degree option in the arts.
Author(s): Janice N. Killian, Linda Donahue, Carol Edwards