The Graduate/Professional Certificate in Visual Cultures is intended for master's degree students (usually MFA and terminal MA candidates) from across the university who desire training in the study of visual cultures. This transdisciplinary field analyzes the social construction of the visual as well as how the visual creates our social world. Visual culture studies differs from other related disciplines in two ways: first, its field of inquiry includes an expansive array of visual cultural artifacts and practices; and, second, its methodologies focus on the constitution of power relations through visual markers of race, gender, disability, and nationality. As the world continues to become increasingly understood through, and reliant on, the visual (the internet, films, television, scientific graphs, data visualization, video games, and advertisements), the need for people trained with the ability to critically interpret, create, and evaluate those mediums is essential.


To apply, applicants must complete and submit the following document to

Applicants may contact the faculty director for questions (refer to contact information box).

All Graduate School students must utilize the Graduate Student Portal in MyUW to add, change, or discontinue any graduate/professional certificate. To apply to this certificate, log in to MyUW, click on Graduate Student Portal, and then click on Add/Change Programs. Select the information for the certificate for which you are applying. Professional students in the careers of Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary cannot add the certificate in the Graduate Student Portal, and should contact the program for more information.


The graduate/professional certificate in Visual Cultures is research-driven. Coursework should contribute to a student's professional development.

Students must complete 9 graduate-level credits in a combination of required and elective coursework, with a GPA of 3.0 (4.0 basis) and submit the assessment form, including a portfolio and essay.

Required Courses
Students must complete the following courses.
ART HIST/​AFROAMER  801 Historiography, Theory and Methods in Visual Culture3
ART HIST/​AFROAMER  802 Visual Cultures: Topics in Visual Cultures 13
Students must complete at least 3 credits.
Studies in Japanese Literature
History of Photography
Special Topics in 4D Art
Visual Culture, Gender and Critical Race Theory
Topics in LGBTQ Sexuality
Disability and Gender in Film
Space and Place: A Geography of Experience
Television Criticism
Visual Cultures of India
Curatorial Studies Exhibition Practice
Mapping, Making, and Representing Colonial Spaces
Seminar in Islamic Art and Architecture
Queer Bodies
Visualizing Bodies
Contemporary Queer Art and Visual Culture
Visual Culture, Gender and Critical Race Theory
Theory and Practice of Hispanic Theatre
Seminar in Hispanic Culture
Topics in East Asian Visual Cultures
Interdisciplinary Studies in the Arts
Selected Topics in Afro-American Culture
Contemporary African and Caribbean Drama
Interactive Cartography & Geovisualization
Topics in Digital Studies
Advanced Studies In Theatre and Performance Studies Research
Seminar-Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies
Total Credits9

Substitutions for this course may be available, contact the CVC director for more information.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Show comprehension of the history, theories, and methods of Visual Culture as a field of study as they are practiced in the field of Visual Cultures
  2. Demonstrate critical ability to work with and develop Visual Culture theories and methods
  3. Develop capacity to conduct original research in Visual Culture
  4. Show ability to work with Visual Culture theories and methods in the analysis and presentation of original research which may take oral, written, and visual forms
  5. Develop the critical analytic, rhetorical, and technical skills necessary to effectively communicate original research in Visual Culture


CVC Director

Laurie Beth Clark (Art)

Steering Committee 

  • Anirban Baishya (Communication Arts)
  • Sara Anne Carter (Design Studies)
  • Mercedes Alcalá-Galán (Spanish and Portuguese)
  • Jill Casid (Visual Culture/Art History)
  • Christine Garlough (Gender and Women's Studies)
  • Erica Halverson (Curriculum and Instruction)
  • Timothy Portlock (Environmental Studies and Art)
  • Keith Woodward (Geography)

Program Assistant

Sara Champlin (Art History)

A list of affiliate faculty may be found here.