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The University of Missouri has played a prominent role in the teaching of the visual arts in North America since Walter Miller and John Pickard first began lecturing on campus in the 1890s. The School of Visual Studies offers graduate degrees in Visual Studies that blend disciplinary training in the history of art, material culture, and media studies with a commitment to public humanities. Through a combination of coursework; outreach, research, and teaching opportunities; and interdisciplinary collaboration with scholars in other fields and professional programs, the MA and PhD prepare students for careers in a variety of educational institutions, cultural organizations, and the creative economy generally.

Degrees Offered

Visual Studies, Master of Arts

On Campus

*This program is eligible for the STEM OPT Extension.

Admission Criteria

Fall deadline: January 18

Admission to the department on the graduate level is granted yearly to a small number of candidates who hold recognized BA or MA degrees in art history, media studies, or related fields of the humanities and social sciences. In addition to the 3.0 GPA required by the Graduate School, the department requires: a GPA of 3.3 in the major field and a minimum GRE score (below).  It also encourages applicants to have at least three semesters of a single appropriate foreign language (normally German, French, Italian, or Spanish).

Minimum GRE scores

Test Type Verbal+Quantitative Analytical
GRE3004.5

Minimum Language Requirements

Click here to view the minimum English language proficiency test scores

Required Application Materials

For the Graduate School

  • Completed Graduate School online application
  • Unofficial Transcripts- As part of the application submission process, all applicants are required to upload unofficial copies of all post-secondary transcripts to the online application. Official transcripts are only required if accepted by the academic program.
  • Official Results of English Proficiency Exams (International applicants only)

For the Visual Studies Program

All application materials must be submitted directly through the Graduate School online application. Applications will not be considered complete until we receive the following:

  • GRE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation concerning academic qualifications to undertake graduate work
  • A short statement of the applicant’s scholarly interests, professional goals, and reasons for applying to do graduate work in Visual Studies.
  • A copy of a recent research paper as a sample of your scholarship and writing
  • Curriculum vitae

Visual Studies, Doctor of Philosophy

On Campus

*This program is eligible for the STEM OPT Extension.

Admission Criteria

Fall deadline: January 18

The department accepts as candidates for the Ph.D. students who have earned an M.A. or its equivalent in art history, media studies, or related fields of the humanities and social sciences, either from the University of Missouri-Columbia or from an institution recognized by the University. An M.A. thesis is a prerequisite for the Ph.D. in both art history and classical archaeology. The Doctoral Program Committee determines the acceptability of work completed elsewhere.

Students completing an M.A. degree in the School of Visual Studies who want to continue for the Ph.D. must be accepted for advising by a faculty member on the doctoral faculty. Such students should submit a statement of purpose and a current CV to the School by the January 18 deadline. If students are formally admitted by the faculty, they submit a “Change of Program, Degree, Emphasis or Advisor Form” to the Graduate School.

Minimum Language Requirements

Click here to view the minimum English language proficiency test scores

Required Application Materials

For the Graduate School

  • Completed Graduate School online application
  • Unofficial Transcripts- As part of the application submission process, all applicants are required to upload unofficial copies of all post-secondary transcripts to the online application. Official transcripts are only required if accepted by the academic program.
  • Official Results of English Proficiency Exams (International applicants only)

For the Visual Studies Program

All application materials must be submitted directly through the Graduate School online application. Applications will not be considered complete until we receive the following:

  • GRE scores
  • Three letters of recommendation concerning academic qualifications to undertake graduate work
  • A short statement of the applicant’s scholarly interests, professional goals, and reasons for applying to do graduate work in Visual Studies
  • A copy of a recent research paper as a sample of your scholarship and writing
  • Curriculum vitae