School of Art

Research + Work

Critical Visions

The undergraduate critical visions certificate is a joint endeavor between faculty from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) and the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). The cross-college curriculum will teach students how to effectively combine critical theory and social analysis with art, media and design practice and has two primary goals: (1) Increase students' understanding of what is at stake in how we see, including the social and political ramifications of advertising, art, media, popular culture and science, among other dominant and subversive visual forms and visualizing practices. (2) Develop new artistic, media or design forms and practices that will intervene in dominant ways of seeing and explaining the world.

Through core classes and approved electives, students will critically examine the relationships among power, image and imagination; situate and theorize vision alongside other modes of perception; and historically and cross-culturally explore a range of forms of seeing. Through studio and production courses they will learn to reflexively produce and rethink the ontology and epistemology of vision. More than just promoting a sophisticated, academic visual literacy, the certificate will enable students to actively engage, critique and reinterpret the visual objects and forms they encounter in their everyday lives.

In addition to core courses in anthropology and fine art, students will enroll in at least one studio course at or above the 2000-level from DAAP and between nine and twelve units of electives from across the two colleges. After fulfilling these requirements students will enroll in critical visions, where they will develop and execute independent projects organized around a critique of a dominant way of seeing. The goal of these projects, which will be sponsored by two core faculty members from opposite colleges, is to wed together the three core components of the certificate: critical theory, social analysis and art, media, or design practice. Ultimately, we envision having a student-edited art/media/design and theory journal, annual exhibition or virtual venue to display and circulate student projects, stimulating discussion and broad university engagement with their work.

Student Learning Objectives

  1. Identify and describe the social and political ramifications of both dominant and subversive visual forms and visualizing practices such as advertising, art, media, popular culture and science, highlighting the relationship among image, imagination and power.
  2. Using methods and theories from critical theory and social analysis, situate and theorize vision alongside other modes of perception, recognizing its historical, social and cultural contingency.
  3. Using art, media, or design practice, gain a deeper understanding of how visual forms are produced while also becoming more reflexive and thoughtful in producing them.
  4. Develop new artistic, media, or design forms that effectively combine critical theory, social analysis and creative practice to intervene in dominant ways of seeing and explaining the world.

Degree: Undergraduate Certificate

Full-time program duration: 2.0 Years

Location: Uptown Campus West

Contact Information:

College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning
School of Art
Professor Jordan Tate
PO Box 210016
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016
(513) 556-2178

Admission Requirements

Students already pursuing a degree in any college at UC can add the certificate to their program. Be sure to submit a declaration of the certificate program using our online form.

In addition, you must meet with the program director so that they are aware that you are pursuing the certificate and can advise you appropriately. Do this early enough to avoid delay in obtaining your certificate.

Students not currently pursuing a degree may declare the certificate after establishing non-matriculated status.


Major Map Versions:
Critical Visions Curriculum Guide


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Details