Visual Studies draws from a number of disciplines to explore the meanings, practices, and processes of looking and imaging across historical periods and diverse cultures. Visual Studies is inclusive and broad-ranging in its methods and approaches as well as its objects of inquiry, which include the art and archeology of the ancient and medieval worlds; Asian art, photography, and cinema; contemporary art and exhibition histories; and film, television, and digital media.
UCI offers one of the premier graduate programs in Visual Studies, with core faculty from the departments of Art History and Film & Media Studies. Our particular strengths include cultural studies, critical race theory, feminist and queer studies, postcolonial theory, and digital technologies. In addition, our graduate students may choose to supplement their Visual Studies degrees with graduate certificates in Critical Theory, Feminist Studies, Asian American Studies, Latin American Studies, and Chicano/Latino Studies.
Our location near Los Angeles gives students access to the rich cultural offerings and research institutions of southern California, such as the Getty Museum, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, UCLA’s Film & Television Archive, and the Huntington Library, among other institutions.
We admit all students, with BAs or MAs, directly into the PhD program in small cohorts with multi-year funding packages.
The annual admissions deadline is December 1. Graduate Division Website