MA in Visual Culture
The M.A. in Visual Culture offers graduate students the opportunity for critical study and analysis of artistic and cultural production throughout history.
As an interdisciplinary field of study, visual culture emerges out of a number of established disciplines including, but not limited to, art history, anthropology, cultural studies, history, literature, media studies, music, and theatre.
In addition to the study of canonical works of art, a MA in Visual Culture allows for the examination of those objects and images that have not fit into the traditional boundaries of art history. This new degree program is intended to complement and take advantage of the fact that individuals in many different fields are already working within the bounds of visual culture.
The Visual Culture Sequence participates in an interdisciplinary forum that is bringing together Illinois State students and faculty interested in visual culture regardless of their home department or school.
The M.A. in Visual Culture at Illinois State University is currently the only such degree program to exist within a liberal arts environment at a state university in Illinois. It is also aimed at students intending to pursue careers in any number of art-related professions; examples include curator, gallerist, archivist, librarian, museum and gallery registrar, and positions within publishing, editorial work, media studies, and cultural studies.
The Visual Culture Sequence also serves graduate students with a variety of needs within the visual arts, from art education students concerned with the role of visual culture in public school systems, to MFA students in the studio arts, and those students in history, literature, and languages whose interests include visual culture.
Students are expected to have a background in art history or other fields, including cultural studies, English literature, literary theory, history, anthropology, or music. Students will take a series of courses in the areas of Visual Culture and Art History. In addition, students in the Sequence are required to take courses outside the School of Art.
Admission to the Program
The Sequence in Visual Culture is a small program that will accept a limited number of full-time graduate students per year. Graduate assistantships and tuition waivers are dependent upon available funding. Part-time students will also be accepted but without graduate assistantships. Tuition waivers are possible for full-time and part-time students, but are not guaranteed. For more information see the Graduate School Web site on financial assistance for graduate students. Students, both full-time and part-time, are also encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office for information on financial assistance.
Students seeking admission to the M.A. in Visual Culture will submit an application to the Graduate School. In addition, prospective students are required to submit supplemental information to the School of Art by February 1. This will be comprised of
- A statement of intent explaining applicant's goals and interest in pursuing studies in visual culture.
- Official copies of undergraduate and graduate transcripts.
- At least three papers illustrating applicant's research and writing skills.
- At least three letters of recommendation by people familiar with the applicant's character and academic qualifications and potential. These letters should be sent directly to the Graduate Secretary.
Academic Advisement Information
The sequence in Visual Culture requires a minimum of 32 semester hours of graduate credit, a master's thesis, and a comprehensive examination. Only the M.A. is offered in the Visual Culture Sequence. Students who have not satisfied the language requirement for an M.A. before entering the program must do so by the commencement of the third semester (or, for part-time students, with the acquisition of the equivalent number of semester hours) while pursuing the program. Details regarding the language requirement are available in the Graduate Catalog. It is expected that students in the Visual Culture Sequence will choose courses in consultation with the graduate coordinator in Visual Culture. Additional coursework may be required of students with limited experience in art history.
All students pursuing an M.A. in Art with a Sequence in Visual Culture must complete a core requirement of three courses:
- Art 475 Graduate Seminar in Visual Culture (3)
- Art 478 Introduction to Critical Theory (3)
- Art 497 Introduction to Research Methodology (3)
The following requirements are in addition to the three core courses for the M.A. in Visual Culture. Of these 18 hours of coursework, at least 9 must be at the 400 level:
- At least 9 hours coursework in Art History and/or Visual Culture
- At least 9 hours in related field(s) outside the School of Art (history, literature, anthropology, etc.)
- 4-6 hours of Thesis work (ART 499)
For more information, please use the following contact information:
Graduate Coordinator, Visual Culture:
, 309 438-7715
, 309 438-2728