Visual Studies Minor

The Interdisciplinary Visual Studies Minor invites students both to investigate their place in a global system of images and make images, objects, and digital artifacts with critical awareness. Additionally, the program trains students in interdisciplinary rigor and encourages them to examine the relationship between the visual and various structures of power.

Curriculum & Courses

The Visual Studies curriculum is organized to help students develop critical and creative engagement with visual experience across media, time, and cultures.

All students are required to take an introductory gateway course and a senior-level capstone course. The introductory course will cover a variety of disciplinary approaches to the field of Visual Studies, and will include guest lectures, field trips for hands-on learning, and an introduction to some form of making. The capstone course will consolidate a student experience of the interdisciplinary minor that integrates visual scholarship, making, and public engagement. Students will select their four elective courses from three categories: Visual Literacy, Labs/Studio Courses and The Ethics of the Visual.

Students interested in the Interdisciplinary Visual Studies Minor should plan their course schedule in consultation with the Director of Visual Studies and with their major advisor. Please note: currently no more than one of the six minor credits may count towards the student’s major.

  • Minor Requirements

    The minor will include six courses:

    • The Introduction to Visual Studies (VIST H142), the gateway course offered each fall
    • Four elective courses that meet the following three learning goals (please find here a list of current courses approved for the minor):
      • Visual Literacy
        Courses that teach students how to describe and analyze the visual and the impact of digital and/or analogue technologies on art, culture, science, commerce, policy, society, and the environment.
      •  Critical Making
        Labs/Studio Courses that create curricular opportunities for students to make media of all kinds, from images and films to objects and performances, and to develop a critical awareness of the relationship between process, product, and reception.
      • Ethics of the Visual
        Courses that invite students to examine the relationship between the visual and structures of power, analyzing the role of images in making and swaying consumers and attending to the role that images play in constructing “others” through such categories as race, gender, or disability.
    • A Senior Capstone Seminar (VIST H399) where students will work in small groups to research and propose projects that engage the larger campus community.

    Both the Introduction and the Capstone courses must be taken at Haverford College. Additionally, at least two of the four elective courses must be taken at Haverford, Bryn Mawr, or Swarthmore in order to be counted for the Visual Studies Minor.

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