The J. Sanford Miller Family Arts Scholar is a multidisciplinary collective of undergraduate artists/scholars supported by grants and a creative community. Our Arts Scholars are researchers, creators, interpreters, collaborators, and advocates actively engaged in the arts within the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia and beyond. Unlike the situation found at most large research universities, Miller Arts Scholars are part of a small group of undergraduate students who have increased access to resources in the arts at the University of Virginia including personal introductions to our most distinguished arts faculty. In the spring semester of a student's first or second year, those involved in and interested in the arts submit applications to receive the Arts Scholars designation, which is awarded in early May. Upon their return in the fall of the second year, all new scholars attend the Miller Arts Scholars Seminar, where they meet renowned arts faculty from each of the participating departments, build community, share their artistic portfolios, etc. During the spring semester, scholars enroll in our discussion course and explore issues in the forefront of arts. This deep engagement in the arts results in intimate connections with some of the most gifted fellow artists on Grounds. Our scholars receive priority enrollment, enhanced engagement with the arts, community, and access to research support funds. The J. Sanford Miller Family Arts Scholars is overseen by the departments of Studio Art, Drama, Music, Dance, and Creative Writing.


Arts Scholars are expected to meet certain requirements during their first year of participation to be eligible for third and fourth-year research support.  During their second year of study in the College (first year of Miller Arts Scholars participation), Arts Scholars must attend the weekly Miller Arts Scholars Seminar (CASS 1010, Wednesdays, 2-2:50) where they are personally introduced to a cross-section of our faculty.  Arts Scholars are also expected to attend our spring discussion meetings, Miller Arts Scholars Discussion (CASS 1011). Our scholars should prove measurable engagement with the arts at the University and within their discipline throughout their academic career. Participants will attend outcome presentations and/or performances by fellow third and fourth-year Miller Arts Scholars each April. 

Additionally, Arts Scholars are required to enroll in a minimum of four, credit-bearing art courses within their respective nominating department between their second and fourth year of study, regardless of majoring in another discipline. In Studio Art and Drama, one of these courses should be at 3000 level or above. In Dance, two of these courses should be at the 3000 level or above selected from two distinct areas: Movement Practice, Creative Process, Critical or Somatic Studies. In Music, two of these courses should be at the 3000 level or above, including at least one MUSI course. Participants should major or minor in the College and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.4 in all arts classes and 3.2 for the University to remain in the program. Each participant is required to read and understand our evolving program design/description document.

Students remaining in good standing are encouraged to continue participation through applying for rising-third and fourth year, Arts Awards to support research for arts related projects. These projects may be single research projects or collaborations.  Formal written proposals are required to apply for this support.  All projects require identification of a discipline specific faculty advisor.  Funding for projects is selected by our faculty advisory committee (MASFAC) and recipients of these awards will complete work through the following academic year when the outcomes of these projects will be presented before the public.  Those receiving awards will have both their original written proposal and outcome report, complete with examples and/or links to media published at this webiste.

Fourth-Year Arts Trip

Miller Arts Scholars is actively seeking funding to sustain a potentially named, all-expense paid arts trip, originally piloted in 2019 and 2020.  This trip will be offered to fourth-year Arts Scholars who have received at least one Arts Award from Miller Arts Scholars AND attended the required seminar/discussion classes while maintaining our required grade point averages.  In the event that extra seats become available for this trip, other travelers may be chosen based on evidence of commitment to the program.

Choosing a Major

The J. Sanford Miller Family Arts Scholars is a College of Arts and Sciences program so participants must remain in the College to be involved.  Most Arts Scholars choose to major and/or minor in our arts programs. Regardless of the major ultimately chosen, students involved with our program will always be part of the Arts Scholar community.  Students in programs such as Education or Architecture may apply, provided they are also completing an arts major or minor in the College of Arts and Sciences. Such students may become Arts Scholars and are eligible for grant support, but will not be eligible for priority enrollment in College of Arts and Sciences courses.