University at Buffalo
Department of


Art & Design

Art History

Visual Studies

Ph.D. Admission, Fellowships and Funding

Admission Requirements for the PhD in Visual Studies

We usually admit no more than two students annually, out of approximately 50 who apply internationally. This is in part to keep the program small and focused, and in part because there are a limited number of positions available for our graduates to fill.

There is an entirely online application using the GrAdMIT website. If you experience any problems or frustrations with this process, please contact the Director of the Doctoral Program, Jonathan Katz.


January 1 is the application deadline to be considered for Presidential and Dean’s fellowships in addition to full Teaching Assistantship and tuition waiver. Applications received until February 1 will be considered for full Teaching Assistantship and tuition only.

 A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a GPA (or equivalent) of 3.5 or above–unless a compelling case can be made for the waiver of this requirement. (There is a section of the application that allows you to explain any impediments to high academic scores.) Please note that you are required to submit an application essay, a work sample, references, transcripts and pay an application fee. Failure to complete any one of these disqualifies your application from consideration.

GRADUATE RECORD EXAMINATION (GRE) scores are required, and will be consulted, but are always contextualized within a range of other measures, recognizing that standardized tests are not subtle instruments of knowledge. The standard GrAdMIT form offers only a binary selection of gender. If your gender falls outside that binary, feel free to leave the category blank.

To be reviewed for admission all applications must contain the following:

  1. Complete the online application (International students need to fill out the appropriate application form which is different from the domestic application). All materials should be uploaded as part of your application and should not be mailed to the Department.
  2. A RESUME: Please upload your resume. This is a good place to list any publications, honors, research skills, extracurricular interests, special skills and/or teaching experience. The resume can be cut and pasted into the form.
  3. STATEMENT OF INTENT: Please upload your well-written statement of intent that describes your preparation (academic and related work/life experience) and motivation for graduate study in Visual Studies. Describe academic areas of focus that you are interested in pursuing, interdisciplinary interests, career objectives and any other information that may be helpful to the admissions committee. This can also be cut and pasted into the form.
  4. WRITING SAMPLE: Please upload a writing sample, which is commonly a well-written paper from an undergraduate course.
  5. COPIES OF TRANSCRIPTS from all undergraduate institutions (with degree conferral indicated). Please upload these documents. (Note that official transcripts will be required upon acceptance to the program.)
  6. A minimum of THREE LETTERS OF REFERENCE, preferably from former professors or museum professionals attesting to your level of maturity and intellectual capability. When you submit your references’ email addresses they will receive an automatic electronic solicitation.  It is crucial that you provide a viable email address for each referee. You may wish to notify them in advance so that they can have their letter ready to upload.  Please note that your recommenders will only receive this solicitation after you have submitted your application for final review.  As such, we recommend that you plan to finalize your application prior to the deadline.
  7. An APPLICATION FEE OF $75 per online application instructions for payment.

IMPORTANT NOTE TO INTERNATIONAL APPLICANTS: To be reviewed for admission you must fill out the ONLINE APPLICATION FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, provide all of the supplemental materials listed above and provide additional documentation to the department before the application deadline. YOU WILL NEED TO SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING:

  1. COMPLETE FINANCIAL FORM WITH SUPPORTING BANK DOCUMENTS (follow the instructions from the International Graduate Admissions website.)
  2. Officially verified TOEFL score from ETS

Department of Art
202 Center for the Arts
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY 14260-6010

 Important Links

Doctoral Program details.

APPLY NOW to the Ph.D. Program through the UB GrAdMIT on-line application.

Download the Grad Brochure containing information about the Department of Art and all of our graduate programs.

Visit the UB Graduate School to view information for prospective and current graduate students, faculty and staff.

Request More Information regarding admissions requirements, applications, funding opportunities and deadlines.

202 Center for the Arts, North Campus
Buffalo, New York 14260-6010
(716) 645-6878
(716) 645-6970 fax
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