MA Program

The MA program in Visual Studies blends disciplinary training in the history of art, material culture, and media studies with a commitment to public humanities. Our students combine coursework with outreach, research, and teaching opportunities in preparation for work in educational institutions, cultural organizations, and the broader creative economy. Disciplinary training includes a range of coursework in historical and theoretical studies in the SVS, and students are also encouraged to take courses in other graduate programs such as English, History, Women’s and Gender Studies, as appropriate to the students’ interests. Students may also elect to combine their Visual Studies degree with one of several graduate certificates, for example those offered in Digital HumanitiesPublic Engagement, or a minor in Museum Studies. 

Area resources include our excellent Ellis Library, steps away from Swallow Hall, the comprehensive collections of the Museum of Art and Archaeology, the archival and museum resources at the Center for Missouri Studies, and a vibrant arts community on campus and in the broader community. The cost of living in Columbia is uniquely affordable given its diverse and progressive cultural advantages. Columbia is home to three colleges, a dynamic live-music scene, numerous cafes and bars, the annual True/False documentary film festival. World-class museums in Saint Louis and Kansas City are less than a two-hour drive from campus.

Admission to the MA program in history, theory, and criticism in the School of Visual Studies is granted yearly to a small number of candidates who hold a recognized BA degree in art history or a related field in the humanities and social sciences. In addition to the 3.0 GPA required by the Graduate School, the School requires  a GPA of 3.3 in the major field. Incoming students are considered for funding when they are admitted to the program. Returning students submit applications for continued funding in the spring semester. Sources of funding include graduate teaching or research assistantships, pending enrollment and budget issues, as well as an array of recruitment fellowships available through the SVS, the College of Arts and Science, and the Graduate School.

For more information contact Jim van Dyke (, Director of Graduate Studies.

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Teaching Assistantships
Along with admission, teaching assistantships and non-teaching assistantships may be offered to qualified graduate students. All assistantships include a monetary stipend. Funding may continue to be awarded in subsequent semesters if graduates qualify and if additional positions are available. Be sure to carefully follow admissions instructions if you wish to be considered for these opportunities.

Tuition Waivers
Graduate Teaching Assistantships also entitle participating graduates to receive a tuition waiver for the semesters that they have a GTA position.

To learn more about funding opportunities available through the SVS Art Program and the Graduate School, see Scholarships and Awards 


Course Catalog