2024-25 Catalogs

125 Jesse Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
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Visual Studies

Lee Ann Garrison, Director
School of Visual Studies, College of Arts and Science
102 Swallow Hall
(573) 882-7547

School of Visual Studies general email: muassvs@missouri.edu

Academic Advisor - See School of Visual Studies website.

Artists today make videos and oil paintings, create digital art and intaglio prints, and use fibers, clay, and other materials. They work in motion graphics and visual effects, design animations, and produce narrative films. They work in advertising and web design. Historians of art and visual studies engage with these creative works and those from the past, enriching the experiences of viewers and students of art in the fields of education, public humanities, programming, marketing, and outreach. Together, they help tell the world's stories in a variety of ways. That's why Mizzou has assembled visual art, graphic design, digital storytelling, film, and art history under the big tent of the School of Visual of Visual Studies that is also embedded in a Research 1, land grant university.

Creators and thinkers of the future must be agile and open, and prepared to bring artistic insight and sensibilities to a broad spectrum of occupations. Graduates of the University of Missouri School of Visual Studies will be skilled visual artists, designers, arts researchers and interpreters, filmmakers, animators, and storytellers who are prepared to challenge conventional thinking to make a difference in the world.

Available degrees within the School of Visual Studies:

  • Art - BA, BFA, Minor
  • Art History - BA, Minor
  • Digital Storytelling - BA, Minor
  • Film Studies - BA, BA with emphasis in Film Production, Minor
  • Visual Studies - MA, PhD, MFA

Professor J. Johnson*, J. Pintz*, B. Prager*, C. Sampson*, K. Schwain**
Curators Distinguished Professor D. Huelsbergen*
Associate Professors K. Bitsicas*, C. Daniggelis*, L. A. Garrison*, R. Greene*, S. C. Rozier, *, T. Shaffer*, A. Stanton**, J. Van Dyke**, R. Wilson* 
Assistant Professors X. Guo, L. Kim, C. P. Mannella*, D. Moore*, A. Salinas*, A. Wehrwein*, R. Zhang
Assistant Teaching Professor V. Goelkel Garcia*, M. LeMieux*, B. MacNeel*, N. Potter*, A. Shaffer*, R. Wise*
Teaching Professor M. Ballou*
Visiting Assistant Professor B. Rancour*, K. Wells*
Instructor M. Coleman, I. Etter* 
Adjunct Instructors C. Armbrust, M. Estes, J. McCormack, K. Shults, S. Wade
Professor Emerita J. Brueggenjohann, J. Calvin, B. Cameron, R. Clarke, R. Cook, W. Hawk, L. Kantner, L. Leong, O. Schuchard, F. Stack, J. Stealey


Graduate Faculty Member - membership is required to teach graduate-level courses, chair master's thesis committees, and serve on doctoral examination and dissertation committees.


Doctoral Faculty Member - membership is required to chair doctoral examination or dissertation committees. Graduate faculty membership is a prerequisite for Doctoral faculty membership.

For undergraduate degree programs within the School of Visual Studies please refer to the Art (includes Graphic Design), Art History, Digital Storytelling, Film Studies (includes Film Production) program pages. The School of Visual Studies, along with the School of Music and the Theatre Department, offers an Arts Entrepreneurship Certificate to help students prepare for careers.

Nick Potter, Director of Undergraduate Studies
102 Swallow Hall

For information about the School of Visual Studies Laptop Requirement see the SVS homepage.

The catalog provides a complete list of degree program options.

The School of Visual Studies also offers a Graduate Minor in Museum Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Arts Entrepreneurship

Visual Studies Graduate Programs
School of Visual Studies
102 Swallow Hall
Columbia, MO 65211

Joseph Pintz, Director of Graduate Studies, MFA in Visual Studies (Art)
James Van Dyke, Director of Graduate Studies, MA, PhD in Visual Studies (Art History)
School of Visual Studies general email: muassvs@missouri.edu 

Degrees Offered

MFA in Visual Studies

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Studies is a three-year, 60 credit, interdisciplinary, thesis-driven program that focuses on the creative goals of the individual. We guide all MFA students to find and develop a direction and language as they create a coherent and conceptually unified body of artwork.

Through an intense studio-based practice, our MFA program prepares students for advanced professional art careers and provides teaching experience to those interested in teaching at the college level. The structure of our MFA curriculum allows students direct access to faculty whose engagement of traditional studio production blends with contemporary approaches. The program supports student movement between media areas as needed to tailor a student’s experience to the goals of their creative research.  Additionally, the department supports consistent integration of contemporary and historical theories of art as appropriate to each student’s individual studio practice.

MA & PhD in Visual Studies with a concentration in History, Theory, and Criticism

The MA and PhD programs in Visual Studies blend disciplinary training in the history of art, material culture, and media studies with a commitment to public humanities. The MA and PhD programs combine coursework; outreach, research, and teaching opportunities; and interdisciplinary collaboration with other professional programs, to provide students for careers in educational institutions, cultural organizations, and the broader creative economy. 

The graduate program is designed around three distinct but interrelated curricular goals. The program provides students with a breadth of knowledge about the history of fine art, material culture, and new media, as well as the opportunity to develop a depth of knowledge in a particular field of study. Second, it offers a hands-on approach to the study of visual and material culture that emphasizes reflexive scholarships: learning that allows research and practice to inform one another. Students work closely with original objects, historical archives, and collections through our associations with (among others): the MU Museum of Art and Archaeology, MU Museum of Anthropology, Ellis Library Special Collections, Center for Missouri Studies, and local art galleries and arts organizations. Third, the graduate program enhances career readiness through its collaboration with other departments, programs, and schools.

The school participates in interdisciplinary graduate minors in  Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Museum Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Students can also earn graduate certificates in Digital Humanities, Public Engagement, and Arts Entrepreneurship. 

Funding: Internal and External

The School of Visual Studies offers a variety of graduate assistantships, scholarships and fellowships for research and travel. It also participates in university-wide fellowship programs. Incoming students are considered for funding when they apply, and returning students submit applications for continued funding in the spring semester. The program follows the rules set by the Graduate School regarding tuition waiver limits.

Generally, the School of Visual Studies offers a .50 Graduate Assistantship (approximately 20 hours of work per week) for the MA, MFA, & PhD (FTE = full time equivalent). Graduate Assistantships provide a nine-month stipend; a tuition waiver that covers resident educations and non-resident fees; and a 50% medical insurance subsidy if students enroll in the "Student Accident and Sickness Insurance" program. 

The School of Visual Studies awards a number of fellowships to advanced students in the area of art history, theory, and criticism, including the Herbert Schooling Fellowship and the John Pickard Fellowship. It also offers a number of travel awards, including the Edzard Baumann Traveling Fellowship in European Art; Irina Hans Fellowship in Art History; and the Osmund Overby Fund for research in American art, architecture, and museum studies. Students interested in these awards should contact the director of graduate studies and their advisors for application instructions.

In the MFA program, the School of Visual Studies awards several scholarships and fellowships, including the Donald L. Bartlett Scholarship Fellowship, the Ann Stevens Hoffman Memorial Scholarship, the Dorothy L. Rollins Memorial Scholarship, and the Verna Wulfekammer Art Fellowship.

The School of Visual Studies participates in the major fellowship programs sponsored by the University of Missouri Graduate School. Nominations for these campus-wise competitions are completed by the director of graduate studies in consultation with the entire faculty after students are admitted to the programs. Students in the School of Visual Studies have held a number of these awards, including the G. Ellsworth Huggins Scholarship, the Gus T. Ridgel Fellowship, and the Robert E. Waterston Award. Graduate students are also eligible for awards from The Graduate Professional Council (GPC) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA).

The School of Visual Studies encourages graduate students to apply for internships, study abroad programs, grants, residencies, and fellowships that support their programs of study.