Skip to main content
Graduate Program in Visual Arts

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.


Admissions Requirements:

We require a Master of Fine Arts, or an MA with studio concentration, with a minimum B average for application to this program, as well as presentation of a portfolio of works and a qualifying research paper (MFA thesis paper or comparable peer-reviewed article). Short listed candidates are interviewed by faculty in the program.

Proficiency in written and spoken English is required.


Program Requirements:


Candidates for the PhD degree must successfully complete the following requirements:

A total of 3.5 graduate courses (21 credits); comprehensive examination exhibition and paper; dissertation proposal; dissertation

exhibition and paper.


For details on all of these components of the program, please see the Program Requirements pdf for the PhD in Visual Arts at

Requests for further information should be addressed to