Upon Entry: All decisions concerning all forms of financial assistance from the graduate program are the sole responsibility of the faculty members of the Program in Visual Studies. The faculty allocates available financial assistance to members of the entering class based on merit as exemplified by each student's application dossier, with full recognition that the dossiers can only provide a partial profile of the applicants' intellectual strengths and scholarly interests. No student--funded or unfunded--will be admitted unless the faculty has full confidence that the individual will thrive at UCI, and no one--faculty, staff, funded students, or unfunded students--should interpret the level of any student's funding as an indication of his/her long-term academic prospects. 

Throughout your study: In principle, the program will attempt to continue financial support to all funded students who are making satisfactory academic progress, and will seek additional sources of funding for those students who matriculate with no or only limited financial aid. Our resources are quite constrained, however, and no student should enter the program on the assumption that his/her financial aid package will improve significantly in future years. 

Students can expect program support to drop off after the completion of the qualifying examinations. Students at this stage become eligible for a variety of fellowships granted by outside agencies, and for TAships offered by the Humanities Core Course. The program will do its utmost to assist students in locating and applying for these awards, but students should also take the initiative to locate opportunities on their own. The Visual Studies Graduate Student Association may maintain a fellowship file available to all students. 

Fellowships: Some students, mostly those in their first year, will receive all or some of their funding in the form of fellowships. Where applicable, these funds will be applied first to non-resident tuition and then to student fees; this arrangement gives the student a tax break, since funds applied directly to tuition and fees are not subject to taxation. Any remaining funds will be paid out at the beginning of each quarter in the form of a stipend, and these payments are subject to taxation.

Teaching Assistantships: Students receiving financial assistance in the form of Teaching Assistantships will usually be given a .50 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) TAship, although in some cases the program may choose to assign a TAship at some smaller increment. Each TA will be assigned to a specific undergraduate lecture class, and will be paid and supervised accordingly either by the Department of Art History or the Department of Film and Media Studies. The .50 FTE TAship entails approximately 20 hours of work each week during the school year; the TA normally attends the lectures of the department's or program's undergraduate lecture course to which s/he is assigned, leads required section meetings, holds office hours, and grades the papers and examinations of the students in his/her sections. TAships assigned at a smaller increment will perform proportionally less work. All TAs, regardless of their level of FTE, should enroll for 4 units of University Teaching (AH399 or FS399) each quarter in which they teach. TA stipends are paid monthly, and--as a form of salary--are subject to taxation. All TAships at .25 FTE and above receive a significant reduction in student fees. 

Faculty members submit a brief written evaluation of each graduate student they have supervised as a TA to the student and Director of Visual Studies at the conclusion of each quarter. These evaluations will be part of the student's ongoing file. 

Additional Financial Aid

Throughout the school year the Program and the School of Humanities put out numerous calls for applications for various funding options for continuing students, including diversity funding, faculty mentorship programs, museum programs, etc.

Students can apprise themselves of other funding options by visiting the Resources/Links section of the Graduate Office website. There are also numerous scholarship opportunities listed on the Graduate Division webpage.

The Program in Visual Studies also annually awards a few awards internal to the program. These include the Best Teaching Assistant for Art History and for Film and Media Studies, the Best Graduate Essay Award, and the Robyn Shikiya Memorial Award.

Robyn Shikiya Memorial Fund

This fund was established in 1999 by contributions from numerous friends, faculty, and relatives of Robyn Shikiya. Robyn received both her B.A. (1992) and M.A. (1995) at UCI in Comparative Literature. She entered the Visual Studies PhD Program in 1995 and pursued the study of modern Asian visual culture, Asian American art, and critical theory, while also serving with dedication as a T.A. for the lower division survey in the history of Asian art. This Fund is dedicated to supporting graduate students in the Visual Studies PhD Program whose interests correspond to Robyn's or academic events dealing with related topics sponsored by the Visual Studies PhD Program. Robyn died in August 1998 after a courageous fight against cancer.

(Contributed by Professor Bert-Winther Tamaki, Department of Art History)