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Program Description

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 of a student's first 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.


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 our fall seminar meetings, College Art Scholars Seminar (CASS 1010).  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. Scholars will attend outcome presentations/performances by fellow third and fourth-year Miller Arts Scholars.  Additionally, students 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.  A minimum GPA of 3.4 in all arts classes will be maintained.

Students maintaining good standing are encouraged to continue participation through applying for rising-third year, Arts Scholars Arts Awards to support research for arts related projects. These projects may be single research projects or collaborations and should be conservative in scope compared to possible fourth-year Arts Scholars projects.  Formal written proposals are required to apply for this support.  All projects require identification of a discipline specific faculty advisor.  Projects will be selected by our faculty advisory committee (MASFAC) during the spring semester and students will complete work through summer, fall, and the following spring semester.  The outcomes of these projects will be presented approximately one academic year later 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

Choosing a Major

Most J. Sanford Miller Family Arts Scholars choose to major in the Arts although the program encourages multidisciplinary study. Regardless of the major ultimately chosen, students involved with our program will always be part of the Arts Scholar community.