Department of Visual Studies at SUNY Buffalo

Department of Visual Studies at SUNY Buffalo

University at Buffalo, SUNY

Eduardo Boleyn Velazquez, MFA Candidate, “The bitten peach with Birkin rrs,” 2011. Still from performance created during the Visual Studies Exchange Program in Beijing. Photo by by Shasti O’leary.
December 19, 2011
Department of Visual Studies at SUNY Buffalo

PhD in Visual Studies Priority Deadline: January 10, 2012
MFA/MA Priority Deadline: January 10, 2012

The Department of Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo announces a new PhD in Visual Studies in addition to our MFA in Art and two distinct MA’s in Visual Studies and Art History.


The Department of Visual Studies unites the disciplines of art, art history and theory. Visual Studies is a new intellectual frame for hyper-linked media and image-saturated 21st century cultural producers and scholars of the visual. The emphasis of our programs on interdisciplinarity, utilizing the University at Buffalo’s comprehensive research facility, is at the core of the emerging field of Visual Studies across the nation.


Faculty include Nancy Anderson, Sylvie Bélanger, Charles Carman, Millie Chen, Adele Henderson, George Hughes, John Jennings, Lori Johnson, Jonathan Katz, Steve Kurtz, Joan Linder, Megan Michalak, Gary Nickard, Elizabeth Otto, Jack Quinan, Reinhard Reitzenstein, Stephanie Rothenberg, Renee Ruffino, David Schirm, Benjamin Van Dyke, Paul Vanouse, Livingston V. Watrous.


Recent visiting speakers have included Laylah Ali, Xu Bing, Maurizio Cattelan, Mel Chin, Douglas Crimp, Stan Douglas, Dan Graham, Gary Hill, James Luna, Lorraine O’Grady, Trevor Paglan, William Pope L., David Rokeby, Carolee Schneemann, Rebecca Schneider, Igor Vamos.


Doctorate [Ph.D.] in Visual Studies
The PhD program in Visual Studies is a small, highly selective program for motivated, independently-minded scholars invested in critical discourses that analyze and challenge the social norm. We specialize in exploring those structuring ideologies that lurk beneath the visible and help select, order and make legible what can be seen—and what cannot be. We especially welcome students interested in considerations of sexuality and the body, and the technologies and sciences that underwrite and make visible our embodied self-understandings.


All students admitted to the PhD program will receive a full tuition scholarship for at least three years, as well as living expenses and health care, in exchange for teaching and research responsibilities.


Jonathan D. Katz, a queer studies scholar specializing in postwar art and culture, is Director of the Doctoral Program in Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo, President of the newly opened Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York, and curator of the groundbreaking exhibition, first shown at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture—the first queer exhibition at a major museum in US history.


Master of Fine Arts [M.F.A.] in Studio
The M.F.A. is a full-time, two-year 60-credit art and design program that promotes freedom of creative inquiry and production. Research that redefines parameters and confronts contemporary issues is encouraged. Unique abilities and potential are developed in a community of students and faculty engaged in intensive discourse, investigation, and production of challenging new work. Critical interactions with resident faculty, visiting artists, designers and critics form the core of graduate level involvement.


Students have private or semi-private secure studios with 24-7 access and may use all departmental facilities and communal labs.


A joint M.F.A. venture with the Department of Media Study focusing on Emerging Practices (EP) is committed to exploring the interdisciplinary space between emerging technologies and the arts.


Master of Arts [M.A.] in Visual Studies
The MA in Visual Studies is a two-year 36-credit program of study designed for a small, highly selective body of students who have already identified an intellectual project in keeping with faculty specializations. 


Master of Arts [M.A.] in Art History
We offer an MA in Art History as a terminal degree. It is a two-year 36-credit program of study conceived according to a more traditional pedagogical model, with a broad distribution of courses across a wide geographical and chronological span. 


The priority deadline for applying to the PhD is January 10th for Fellowships.


The priority deadline for applying to the MFA/MA is January 10th for Scholarships.


For further information on applying please contact the program Directors:
Director, Ph.D. Program: Dr. Jonathan Katz, [email protected]
Director, Graduate Studies (M.F.A., M.A.): Prof. Paul Vanouse, [email protected] 


For complete information, please see the Department of Visual Studies website:


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December 19, 2011

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