The Department of Visual and Critical Studies was founded in 2000 to provide a home for interdisciplinary study at SAIC. The Visual and Critical Studies program is not only concerned with the study of visual media across many different disciplines, but also the development of hybrid research practices, particularly the overlap between studio and scholarly production. The program is part of an evolving paradigm that addresses the complexity of visual and critical practices in the 21st century—it is designed for students who are committed to working, writing, and creating in an environment of interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and postdisciplinary practices.

Critical feedback is central to the Department of Visual and Critical Studies. Both the graduate and undergraduate programs include one-on-one mentoring.  Additionally, the department organizes formal critiques each semester that include both studio work and critical/scholarly research.

Every year the Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies and Master of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies students organize their own symposia. The graduate students also organize an off-campus exhibition and produce an annual publication, Canon.

Visual and Critical Studies Faculty

The Visual and Critical Studies faculty are expansive in the range of their practice. They include cultural theorists, conceptual artists, and art and design historians—anthropologists with a focus on West Africa on the one hand, and comics on the other. They also focus on photo history, political science, and translation theory. The one thing they share is a deep commitment to the possibilities of the human imagination. Additional affiliated and part-time faculty also include specialists in a wide range of disciplinary practices.

Interested in learning more?

Continue to explore the Visual and Critical Studies website to learn more about our undergraduate and graduate curricular offerings, faculty, students, alumni, and more orschedule a tour.

Interested in learning how you can apply?

Visit the undergraduate or graduate admissions websites or contact the admissions office at 800.232.7242 or