PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Visual Arts

The PhD in Visual Arts is a practice-based program of study in which individually defined conceptual foci are materialized and disseminated through an integration of art works, research and writing. Research questions in this context are focused on visual arts, as well as other areas of scholarly investigation that are defined by candidates as relevant to their studio interests.

Inaugurated in 2008, the PhD in Visual Arts is a four year full–time advanced degree that will prepare mature artist–researchers with the highest qualifications to teach studio and theory courses, supervise graduate students within a university context, and have significant professional careers as artists. These objectives are achieved through a combination of course work, independent studio practice, and writing.

Courses are completed in the first two years, taken in the program and in the university at large, Students complete a comprehensive exam that is based on a self–curated exhibition in the second year and write a dissertation proposal by the end of the second summer (term 6) of the program. They must defend a dissertation in the form of a significant solo exhibition, accompanied by a substantial dissertation research support paper that amplifies and contextualizes the theme(s) in their studio work. Students’ scholarly/creative research is supported by a committee composed of faculty and artworld professionals. Students must demonstrate maturity in research as recognized by the academic sector as well as by their peers in the art community.

Admission Requirements

Application to the PhD program requires an MFA with a minimum B average, or an MA with studio concentration, as well as presentation of a portfolio of works and a writing sample (MFA thesis paper or comparable peer-reviewed article). Selection committees to adjudicate the submissions are composed of graduate faculty.

The PhD in Visual Arts is a program for advancing artists who already have a significant body of work. These terms refer to their level of interest in and commitment to the development of research methods for exploring questions related to their practice. We treat the visual arts as a broad field of study and practice that has various specializations within it. Applicants to the PhD program identify the specializations most pertinent to their work.

Proficiency in written and spoken English is required.