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Virginia Commonwealth University’s 42-hour MATX PhD curriculum comprises 36 hours of coursework and a minimum of six hours of dissertation research.

All incoming students must take four required core courses during the first two semesters. Three of the courses are doctoral seminars that provide a shared historical and theoretical foundation for the study of media, art and text. The fourth, a workshop, offers the opportunity to develop and expand the skills needed to maintain a professional presence online and to support dissertation research. In addition, all students will take a course on research methods in a field relevant to their anticipated area of dissertation research.

Beyond the core, students select 21 hours of elective credits from course offerings in disciplines relevant to their research interests and career goals. The program occasionally offers a topics seminar focused on the history, theory or practice of media, art and text. Independent study and internships are also available as electives.

Together, the core and the electives provide a foundation for the interdisciplinary work of the dissertation, which is an original examination of some aspect of media, art and/or text. It is supervised by a committee consisting of four or five members drawn from disciplines relevant to the research topic. Although the dissertation is a scholarly research document, it may include work in media other than text. Such non-textual elements will relate to the primary research component in a manner approved by the dissertation committee.

MATX Sequence

For full-time students:

  • Two years coursework
  • One semester for candidacy requirements
  • Dissertation

Part-time students take all four core courses in their first year, electives at their own pace.

The core elective (methods) can be taken any time during years one or two.

All candidacy requirements must be completed in the fall of year three.

Dissertations usually take from one to three years, depending on the topic and the home discipline.

1MATX 601MATX 603
MATX 602MATX 604
E-portfolio, stage 1 (August) E-portfolio, stage 2 (April) 
Bibliography exam
Dissertation prospectus and defense
4Dissertation credits as neededMinimum one per semester

Curriculum Map

Core and Elective CoursesStudent Learning Outcomes
Advanced communication skillsHistory and theory foundationResearch methodsSpecialized knowledgeIndependent research and new knowledgeProfessional practice
601: Text and TextualityXX  X 
602: History of Media, Art and TextXX  X 
603: History of Interdisciplinarity and MultimediaXXX XX
604: WorkshopX X XX
Methodology Elective  X   
Subject Electives (7)   X  
DissertationX X X 

Read more about the MATX program on the VCU Bulletin website:

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