Financial Aid

The Visual Studies program is participating in a new initiative, designed by the School of Humanities with financial support from the Mellon Foundation, to provide all admitted students with higher levels of funding and to open up a new track of study with an unprecedented seven years of financial support. We call this program “5+2.” It consists of a five-year trajectory to the Ph.D., followed by the opportunity for a two-year teaching and research appointment.

All entering students enter with first-year fellowships, as well as covered tuition, fees, and health insurance. In the second and third years, students receive Teaching Assistantship (TA) positions, in-state tuition, fees, and health insurance. By the end of spring quarter of the third year, students are expected to complete all degree requirements except the dissertation and advance to Ph.D. candidacy. Students who reach candidacy at the end of their third year receive TAships in their fourth year and fellowships in their fifth year, with in-state tuition, fees, and health insurance both years. All students receive summer funding after the first and second years; students who are on track to complete their dissertations within five years will also receive summer funding after their third and fourth years. TAships beyond the fifth year may be available but are not guaranteed.

For U.S. citizens who are non-residents of California, it is students’ responsibility to establish California residency by the beginning of their second year, which will exempt them from all future nonresident tuition bills. Please see for information on how to establish residency. For international students, we strive to cover non-resident tuition.

The 5+2 provides a unique opportunity for students’ postdoctoral years. Students who file their dissertations and receive their Ph.D. degrees by the end of their fifth year become eligible for an appointment as Mellon Humanities Faculty Fellow (MHFF) (For international students, this is contingent on securing valid immigration status and work authorization before the expected start date.) These appointments are contingent on excellent performance as TAs during students’ second, third, and fourth years, and demonstration of strong scholarly promise. The MHFF positions can be renewed for a second year, again contingent on a record of excellent teaching and scholarship. The appointments will normally be at 2/3 time, and the salaries will be based on that of a beginning Assistant Professor. The MHFF positions include teaching but are designed to provide recent alumni with time for research and professional development as well. Our goal is to give graduates two years to hone their teaching skills, prepare material from their dissertations for publication, engage in professional activities, and apply for jobs for permanent employment elsewhere. Of course, it is up to alumni whether to accept the MHFF appointment; they should regard these positions as opportunities rather than as obligations. If alumni secure a faculty position or another post-graduate opportunity, they are free to decline the MHFF.

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All applicants who are not citizens of countries where English is either the primary or dominant language, as approved by the Graduate Council, and who wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship (TA) appointment must meet the English Language Proficiency Requirements for International TAs International applicants should refer to the additional information provided by UC Irvine Graduate Division about qualifications, language testing, etc.