Miller Arts Scholars is an interdisciplinary arts program comprised of student researchers, creators, interpreters, collaborators and advocates actively engaged in the arts and beyond within the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia. Unlike the situation found at most large research universities, The J. Sanford Miller Family 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 designated scholars attend the Miller Arts Scholars Seminar, where they meet internationally-renowned arts faculty from each of the participating departments, hear talks on issues in the forefront of arts, visit arts facilities, etc. During the spring semester, scholars enroll in our discussion group and participate in exclusive events and work on building art portfolios. This deep engagement in the arts results in intimate connections with some of the most gifted fellow artists on Grounds. Our scholars benefit from priority enrollment, increased engagement with the arts, community, Miller Arts Scholars advising, and access to research support funds during the third and fourth year of study. The J. Sanford Miller Family Arts Scholars is overseen by the departments of Studio Art, Drama, Music, and Dance.


The Miller Arts Scholars program provides its participants with priority enrollment by academic year for course enrollment beginning in the fall.  Participants may elect to have the program's director serve as their lower-division advisor during the second year of study until a major field of study is selected.  Arts Scholars show commitment to participating in the arts at the University and in setting an example for other students involved in our programs.

Participants of the Miller Arts Scholars program 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), students 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.  Participants are also expected to attend our spring discussion meetings, Miller Arts Scholars Discussion (CASS 1011). After that, participants are expected to attend one seminar or discussion course each year. 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. 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. Applicants must have also remained in the College with a major or minor and have aminimum GPA of 3.4 in all arts classes and 3.2 at the University. 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 on our website

Fourth-Year Arts Trip

When funding is available, an all-expense paid arts trip will be offered to fourth-year Arts Scholars who have either made serious applications for OR 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 will be chosen based on evidence of commitment to the program.   

Choosing a Major

J. Sanford Miller Family Arts Scholars are strongly encouraged to major in the arts. Deep engagement with our program and the arts will secure a place within the Arts Scholar community. Rising second-year applicants are strongly encouraged to major (or minor in the case of dance) in the arts. Rising third-year applicants should be planning to declare a major in the arts (or minor in dance) or present evidence of major equivalent engagement in the arts to be eligible. Only students in the College of Arts and Sciences may apply to this program.