The PhD program in Visual Studies is a small, highly selective program for motivated, independently-minded scholars invested in critical discourses that analyze and challenge the social norm. We specialize in exploring those structuring ideologies that lurk beneath the visible and help select, order and make legible what can be seen—and what cannot be. We especially welcome students interested in considerations of sexuality and the body, and the technologies and sciences that underwrite and make visible our embodied self-understandings.
The VS Doctoral program prides itself on close faculty/student contact, more in a European than American pedagogical model. We admit no more than three students annually and we work closely with them not only through the degree program, but afterwards towards securing a position. Instead of a standardized program with requisite steps, we will meet with you frequently and tailor a program that builds from your interests. This means you can take any course offered in the graduate school for credit, and there is active encouragement to explore subjects from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. This wide latitude in course selection means that you can also take some studio or practice-based courses for doctoral credit—but at the same time, we want to emphasize that this is not a studio program. On the contrary, it’s a highly rigorous doctorate with the traditional emphasis on research and writing, designed for the student with an active politics, precisely the kind of student often alienated from more traditional art history doctoral programs.
All students admitted to the VS PhD program will receive a full tuition scholarship for at least three years, as well as living expenses and health care, in exchange for teaching and research responsibilities. In addition to this support, highly competitive applicants are eligible for supplementary stipends awarded by the offices of the President and Dean.
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