Master in Critical Studies 2021

Deadline: Monday, Mar 1, 2021, 11:59pm

The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna is offering a Master programme in Critical Studies.

It is an artistic-academic course of study, which lasts four semesters with an artistic-academic project being developed in the final semester. The course is completed with a Master of Arts (MA) degree.

The programme is aimed at students who either possess a diploma or B.A. in a discipline from the field of humanities or those who have achieved a corresponding qualification in an artistic discipline.

The programme pursues three teaching objectives. It is intended to prepare students for academic doctoral studies, primarily in art theory and cultural studies but also in the disciplines of education in the arts and in architecture. It is intended to equip students to continue artistic research towards a Ph.D. in practice or a comparable qualification. It is intended to prepare students for activities in public artistic and cultural fields of practice, especially for work in journalism, specialised and academic journalism as well as for curatorial, archival, mediational and other such activities.

The programme has artistic, theoretical, propaedeutically preparatory, practical and such parts in which forms of practice are purposefully intermingled and their clear demarcation called into question.

The programme comprises of five modules. Studentsenroll for course units from these modules during each of the first three semesters. In the first module students individually participate in the regular artistic study programme at the Institute for Fine Art although to a limited extent. In the second module students develop artistic-academic approaches in a study project with teachers from different discplines. In the third module students select seminars from the Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies. In the fourth module students attend a practice-oriented seminar held by an external specialist. In the fifth module students are inducted into methodologies of academic work. In the fourth semester students develop their master's project.

The Master's programme in Critical Studies follows the critical traditions of the 20th century (from the Frankfurt School and the psychoanalysis to the New Left, Post-structuralism and Deconstruction), expanded by those developments, ramifications and problematisations of critical standpoints inspired in recent decades by fields such as Gender Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Subaltern Studies, Cultural Studies and Queer Studies. In addition, approaches developed in relation to new theories of the visual, medialities, the public and the social will be treated - consistently in relation to artistic processes.

Students will work in small teams and groups of rarely more than ten. They will be tutored by lecturers from a large pool from almost all the institutes at the academy.

Admission Examination for the Master in Critical Studies and Submission of the examination assignment online:

from February 8 until March 1, 2021, until 11:59pm.

Review of the assignment by a commission:

March 2 until March 22, 2021.

Applicants who are invited for a personal interview / oral examination will be notified by email on March 26, 2021.

Examination interviews of the invited applicants with the commission:

April 19 and 20, 2021, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. online via zoom.

The interviews take place in small groups of two to four applicants. You can decide whether you want to conduct the interview in German or English. You will be asked to briefly introduce yourself and outline your proposed project before the commission (please be very brief and keep this presentation to a maximum of five minutes), and shortly explain your decision to apply for the Master in Critical Studies. Afterwards, members of the commission will ask you a few questions regarding your application.

The commission will decide who is admitted to the study program by April 21, 2021. You will be informed about the results by e-mail.

Master in Critical Studies: Completion of a bachelor degree in a related field or equivalent, proof of possession of special university entrance qualification (for applicants from so-called Third States), successfully passing the admission test and proof of German and English language competency before admission (at least B2 of the Common European Reference Scale for Languages)

For inquiries please contact:

Examination Assignment:

Please sketch an artistic-academic project that you could imagine to realize as a Master's thesis at the end of the program. This project should combine scholarly and artistic components in an interdisciplinary manner. Explain which research methods you would like to use, whether and how you would like to work on which humanities and cultural studies questions, which artistic techniques and realization modes could be used. Which social contexts could your project be relevant in? Do you have a specific audience in mind?


Please write no less than 4,000 characters and no more than 10,000 characters.


Use your own words but define your terminology. You are not expected to apply a specific academic or artistic jargon. State the reasons for your decisions.


Your text can be written in either German or English.

Documents to be submitted:

* CV (1 single document; pdf)

* Examination Assignment (1 single document; pdf)

* work samples: portfolio or text work (If no portfolio is available at the time of application, also independently written works in shorter formats (no final papers or seminar papers) can be submitted); (1 single document; pdf)

* Diploma and transcript of the highest academic degree (unlimited files; pdf)


For further information please contact Dunja Reithner (, +43 1 588 16-8101)


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