September 28, 2022

PhD in Visual Arts: Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory

Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA)

Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, Mexico City, 2020. Courtesy of Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA).

The IDSVA PhD in Visual Arts: Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory is a non-studio PhD for artists and creative thinkers. With no campus, IDSVA is a truly nomadic institution, existing everywhere our students and faculty are. The program fuses interactive online education with intensive global residencies.

Low Residency
IDSVA has been pioneering and refining blended education since 2007. During the three-year course of study, online coursework and independent studies are pursued through the fall and spring semesters, via live video conference seminars, one-on-one phone calls, and asynchronous discussions. Summer and Winter intensive residencies in places like Mexico City, Madrid, and Marrakech alternate with online seminars and give IDSVA students an educational experience like no other.

The Course of Study
The Course of Study comprises 60 credits over three years. At the end of the third year, candidates are required to pass oral and written qualifying exams before starting the dissertation. The dissertation is typically submitted within two years following completion of the Course of Study. The PhD degree is granted upon successful defense of the dissertation. Total time to complete the degree is about five years.

What may be most surprising about IDSVA is the strong sense of community, even though IDSVA is largely a distance-learning program. The intensive residencies are designed to enhance a sense of communal belonging among members of a cohort and their faculty. The shared meals, museum visits, and travels together forge a bond that carries over into the virtual seminars and discussions of the online semesters.

IDSVA students and alumni are makers, curators, scholars, and philosophers making substantial contributions to their fields of interest. Since enrolling at IDSVA, students have led panel discussions and presented papers at prominent conferences, published papers and articles, been awarded fellowships and promotions, and participated in solo and group exhibitions around the world.

The IDSVA Faculty, Visiting Faculty, and Special Lecturers bring together major philosophers, artists, and scholars from around the world. These internationally renowned educators join students at residency sites and lead seminar discussions about the site's historical, aesthetic, and ideological significance. This impressive list includes: Emilia Kabakov, Carmen Boullosa, Mel Edwards, David Webb, Giovanbattista Tusa, Adrienne Childs, Jane Taylor, Grant Farred, and Santiago Zabala, to name a few.

Tuition & scholarships
IDSVA offers generous scholarships, and our low-residency format allows IDSVA students to keep their job while working on the degree. IDSVA students also qualify for Federally Guaranteed Student Loans that can help with tuition and the cost of living. More information about scholarships and tuition can be found here.

Apply by December 5, 2022 for May 2023. To learn more: Contact Molly Davis, Director of Admissions, info [​at​] or book a conversation here.

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