After leaving school, Hood studied art history at the University of Georgia, where he achieved a Bachelor and Master. After his Ph.D. he succeeded 1977 at the Institute of Fine Arts in New York City. Hood got a job as a high school teacher and taught from 1974 to 2007 at Oberlin College. In addition, he taught at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti in Florence, where he had two visiting professorships from 1989 to 1990 and from 1999 to 2000. Since January 2008, Hood teaches Italian Renaissance art history at Columbia University's Department of Art and History.
Hood received in 2005 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City an award from the Andrew W. Mellon Research Centre. The focus of his research are works of art of the Italian Renaissance.
Hood has published several books, including the work of Fra Angelico at San Marco. For this book, he received the 1993 George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award, the 1994 Eric Mitchell Prize and this book was a finalist for the Premio Salimbeni competition in italy.The Paper Made Men: After- Lives of the Classical Nude is in preparation.