The field of visual studies encompasses a diverse range of images and artifacts as well as the history, processes and technologies of vision itself. This certificate will provide PhD students with the tools necessary to think critically about visual objects and experience and to apply that thinking to their ongoing scholarly work and doctoral research. Students will combine the sustained analysis of specific representations with attention to broader philosophical frameworks and historical conditions.
Graduate students intending to concentrate in visual studies must be admitted to a PhD program at USC. While fulfilling all the requirements for their departmental graduate degree, they may also earn a certificate of competency in visual studies. To receive this certificate, students must take VISS 501 Introduction to Visual Studies: Methods and Debates , a team-taught VISS 599 Special Topics course, and two other graduate seminars from an approved list of relevant courses, 500 level and above, for a total of at least 16 units. Directed research may not be taken toward certificate requirements.
In addition to the completion of these course requirements, students must demonstrate a focus on visual studies as part of their doctoral dissertation. Alternatively, they may take an oral examination based on three research papers they have written within the context of their visual studies course work. The oral exam will be administered by faculty members affiliated with the visual studies graduate certificate. Faculty will be responsible for judging the adequacy of the visual studies component in the student’s dissertation or oral examination.