PhD Visual Arts

Description of the programme

The PhD in Visual Arts is a doctoral programme that offers an opportunity for an independent, specialised and advanced research project that makes an original and creative contribution to the broad discipline of media and the visual arts. The study as a whole can consist of theoretical work or it can be the result of an integrated study of creative or practice-led and theoretical research.

We co-host interdisciplinary degrees with other departments and research centres in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences because we believe in the fruitfulness of intellectual exchange and collaboration. We also host a joint PhD with Hasselt University in Belgium and offer the possibility of international travel and residencies through the University’s International Office.

A yearly PhD colloquium provides students with a opportunity for community-building and the sharing of ideas.

Research areas

The PhD in Visual Arts programme can accommodate studies in the broad areas of Visual Studies and Theory (including, for instance, nationalism and the visual arts, media studies, gender and performativity, postcolonial studies, queer theory, theories of subjectivity, photographic discourse, forensic art, applied science, multiculturalism, posthumanism, art education, social responsibility, fine arts discourse, design discourse and theory of drawing) and Media or Arts Practice (graphic design, illustration, photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, book arts, installation, new media, performance and jewellery design).

Please visit our PhD projects page for an overview of some of our current and past projects.

For more information

Students are selected for the course on the basis of a research proposal, the strength of their academic record and portfolio (if applying for a practice-led study).

We assess doctoral applications three times a year. The deadlines are:

  • 31 March
  • 31 July
  • 30 November

Please send the necessary documents to Prof Stella Viljoen before one of these deadlines and she’ll let you know whether your application was successful. You are also welcome to contact a potential supervisor before you apply but this is not a requirement.

To find out more about the application process you can contact:

Prof Stella Viljoen Coordinator: PhD (Visual Arts) | +27 21 808 9087