Students from the fields of fine art, design, library or information science, anthropology,
sociology, political science, cultural studies, etc. may find the addition of a certificate
in Visual and Critical Studies advantageous to advancing the development of their
research, practice and career.
In the Visual and Critical Studies certificate program, you’ll explore the influence
of visual images on everyday life through a theory-driven, integrative, and experimental
course of study. By focusing on the strategic points of cultural context, material
conditions, and critical theory, you’ll learn to investigate visual culture through
a synthesis of multiple qualitative research methods and concepts and to communicate
your analysis through scholarly writing suitable for peer-reviewed journals.
As you move through the Visual and Critical Studies certificate program, you’ll develop
the ability to critically unpack visual information and meaningfully situate research
within a broader epistemological horizon. You’ll build versatile critical thinking
and critical reading skills that will empower you to effectively analyze theoretical
You’ll elevate your writing and public speaking skills in order to publish scholarship
in peer-reviewed journals as well as communicate your findings through engaging and
informative oral presentations. All of these skills will be informed by your awareness
of how images shape our attitudes and actions, allowing you to more effectively navigate
the ever-shifting landscape of the modern world.
Housed in an institution with a rich history of innovative art and design education,
the Visual and Critical Studies certificate program is attentive to the concerns of
practicing artists and designers, which means that you have more freedom to dive deep
and experiment than in similar programs situated in a traditional liberal arts setting.
You even have the opportunity to take classes alongside other graduate students in
the Master of Fine Arts and the Master of Arts in Design programs at KCAD.
In earning this 18 credit-hour certificate, you’ll receive intensive and personalized
instruction from the program’s diverse, faculty, who possess interdisciplinary expertise
in visual art, digital media, art history, visual culture, and literary studies in
addition to critical theory and analysis.
The skills and knowledge you’ll develop in the Visual and Critical Studies certificate
program are invaluable in today’s highly visual world, as the growing need for critical
analysis and cultural synthesis demands a new kind of interdisciplinary scholar who
is invested in a more experimental mode of research and scholarship. As society negotiates
an increasingly complex landscape of visual information, the ability to understand
the visual world becomes paramount.
You’ll emerge from the program equipped with the tools and framework to be an individual
researcher who can suture together knowledge in new ways, fostering experimentation
and discovery through published peer-reviewed scholarship.
If you’re entering the program with an undergraduate degree in fine art, design, library
or information science, anthropology, sociology, political science, or cultural studies,
obtaining a certificate in Visual and Critical Studies will aid you in advancing the
development of your research, practice, and career. If you’re entering the program
with an MFA, you'll develop enhanced theoretical knowledge and writing skills that
will enable you to achieve more in your professional artistic practice.
In addition to the support of the faculty in the Visual and Critical Studies certificate
program, you’ll have access to the KCAD Library, which provides access to millions of books through the MeLCat shared library catalog
as well as access to specialized research databases and subscriptions to scholarly