Institute for Doctoral Studies
in the Visual Arts

The IDSVA PhD in Visual Arts: Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory is a non-studio PhD for artists and creative thinkers.


IDSVA’s pioneering curriculum—fusing interactive online education with intensive residencies—allows working art professionals to pursue rigorous advanced scholarship without having to interrupt or abandon their teaching careers, art practice, or other professional responsibilities.

Ph.D. students at an exhibition at the MoMA in NYC


As a true nomadic institution, IDSVA does not have a campus. We exist everywhere our students and faculty are. The IDSVA experience fuses interactive online education with intensive residencies in Rome, Spannocchia Castle (Tuscany), Siena, Florence, Venice, Berlin, Paris, Athens, Madrid, Marrakech, Mexico City, and NYC.

IDSVA students reading in Berlin


Artists, architects, curators, educators, philosophers, and creative scholars. Throughout this experience, IDSVA students are joined by world-leading artists and philosophers who make up the Core Faculty and Visiting Faculty.

Application Requirements
IDSVA Ph.D. students in conversation during residency


Our innovative curriculum explores the deeply intertwined relations between the history of ideas and the history of visual culture. IDSVA grants a PhD in Visual Arts: Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Art Theory.

Course of Study

Changing the Way Humans Think

IDSVA’s aim is to change the way human beings think, to change the way we see the lifeworld and the way we see one another. That change—the change we are working toward as a shared communal aspiration—stands as IDSVA’s vision of the possible.

Visting Faculty

The IDSVA Visiting Faculty bring together the world's leading philosophers, artists, and scholars. These internationally renowned educators join students at residency sites and lead seminar discussions about the site's historical, aesthetic, and ideological significance.

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2018 Takashi Murakami exhibit in Paris

With a wide-ranging and prolific array of exhibitions, conference presentations, and publications, IDSVA students & alumni are changing the way we see and think.

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Job Appointments

We are proud to share the latest job announcements from our students & alumni.

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Book Publications

Recent book publications from IDSVA students, alumni, and faculty.

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David Driskell

"IDSVA is one of the single most important developments in the recent history of art education."

David C. Driskell, (1931-2020) American artist and preeminent historian of African American Art. The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora is located at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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