History and Facts

IDSVA students at the Acropolis during residency


  • 2006 - the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts is founded
  • 2007 - IDSVA is granted authority by the State of Maine to confer the PhD in Visual Arts. Inaugural classes are convened.
  • 2010 - IDSVA is granted Candidacy Status for Accreditation by the Commission on Institutes of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
  • 2015 - IDSVA is granted initial accreditation by NEASC.
  • 2019 – IDSVA is granted full accreditation by the New England Commission of Higher Education (formerly NEASC).

George Smith is the founding president of IDSVA.

A group of art Ph.D. students in Berlin

Important statistics about IDSVA students

Each cohort is made up of approximately fifteen students, for a total of 45 students in the course of study. Additionally, another 45 students are writing dissertations.
The student body is:

35% male;
65% female;
12% Hispanic/Latino;
2% Asian; and
20% Black or African-American.

The average retention rate for 1st-year students continuing on to the 2nd year is 89%. The graduation rate is 70%. The cohort default rate on federal student loans is 0% for each of the past three years.

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