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Visual Studies

Students seeking the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies become part of the Visual Studies Workshop (VSW). As members of VSW, students join a community of interest in the media arts that supports and encourages the development of images in all their myriad forms including series, sequence, installation, film and video, and digital media. The Visual Studies MFA program also shows how experimentation with visual books is an innovative means to make emergent ideas public and grow visual literacy.

Program Design and Requirements

  • Students in the MFA program become part of the VSW community of artist-producers.
  • The program accepts people from a wide range of experience, as well as those with degrees other than visual arts, such as history, geography, urban studies, psychology, and anthropology.
  • The Visual Studies MFA program is designed for two-and-a-half-years that include three fall and two spring semesters and one summer session.
  • The MFA program culminates in a final thesis project presented to the public.

Admission Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum undergraduate 3.0 GPA
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Statement of objectives
  • Portfolio of images, book samples, writing excerpts, or short videos that represent a body of work

Application Deadlines

  • February 15 for the fall semester
  • Students are admitted for the fall semester only

Career Opportunities

  • More than 90% of VSW’s graduates work in media arts related fields. Many have gone on to prominent careers as artists, curators, executives, and educators with world-renowned institutions.
  • Hybrid careers such as artist-publishers, administrator-activists, educator-archivists

Internships and Graduate Assistantships

Several graduate assistantships are available in the second and third years of the program to those students who exhibit leadership potential within the VSW community. Graduate assistants manage VSW’s website, teach undergraduate photography and video courses, work as the photo editor and designer for Afterimage, and are assistant coordinators in VSW’s Research Center, Exhibitions and Events, and Community Education programs.

Application Instructions | Apply Now

Program Contact

                  Tate Shaw

                  Graduate Program Director

                  (585) 442-8676


For complete information about the Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies visit:     


Last Updated 11/11/15