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Masters Degrees in History of Art, Architecture & Design, Canada

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The MA in Art History is a stand-alone program providing an intensive two years of coursework during which students will gain an understanding of the centrality of art historical study in comprehending the contemporary world and the history of ideas that are embedded in the subject. Read more
The MA in Art History is a stand-alone program providing an intensive two years of coursework during which students will gain an understanding of the centrality of art historical study in comprehending the contemporary world and the history of ideas that are embedded in the subject. In their first year students are exposed to both the most current thinking in the field and to art history’s disciplinary archive through the Department’s required Methodologies seminar. Through their coursework and research students are encouraged to explore and engage with the art historical discourse and supplement their understanding of art and its cultural context. Students also augment their skills by completing a language requirement and by presenting their research to peers, faculty, and the public during Round Tables.

The MA degree culminates in a thesis designed to train students in scholarly research and analysis, providing the opportunity to contribute to a significant and relevant global discourse.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Arts
- Specialization: Art History
- Subject: Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Arts

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The Critical and Curatorial Studies Program aims to address the growing need for curators and critics who have theoretical knowledge and practical experience in analyzing institutions, preparing displays and communicating about contemporary art. Read more
The Critical and Curatorial Studies Program aims to address the growing need for curators and critics who have theoretical knowledge and practical experience in analyzing institutions, preparing displays and communicating about contemporary art. The program aims to produce individuals who are:
- able to engage productively with critical discussions of art and visual culture
- capable of developing and working with new modes of exhibition
- able to work creatively in both traditional and innovative situations
- familiar with issues and institutions affecting contemporary art

Critical and Curatorial Studies (CCST) is an emerging field of scholarship and training that looks directly at the roles and responsibilities of curators and critics as mediators between objects, institutions, experiences, individuals and groups. While this involves investigating and negotiating a number of disciplinary fields, from ethnography to aesthetics, organizational behaviour to cultural studies, the main focus is on contemporary conditions of display and understanding.

CCST students take three required graduate seminars that engage with historical frameworks and contemporary contextual issues within curatorial practice, and case studies in exhibitions and institutions. These popular seminars are open to other graduate students as well and foster interesting dialogues on issues surrounding curation. CCST students supplement their knowledge with Art History courses and are given the opportunity to take additional credits outside the department as well. They are also challenged to achieve reading knowledge of a language other than English for their language requirement, along with the MA in Art History and PhD students.

During the graduate practicum students gain professional experience through the research, planning, and realization of a significant project and are expected to rationalize their exhibition in written work and presentations at various stages during its production. Students are exposed to the practical and theoretical concerns of exhibition creation and are rewarded in their endeavour with local, if not national and international exposure.

The final requirement for the MA in Critical and Curatorial Studies program is the Major Paper. This extended essay provides students with the opportunity for original and in-depth research on a topic related to the themes or cases examined in the course of study.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Arts
- Specialization: Art History (Critical Curatorial Studies)
- Subject: Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Major Project/Essay required
- Faculty: Faculty of Arts

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The Master of Arts program is a course-based and research-intensive degree designed to prepare history of art students for curatorial work, art consultation, heritage programs, cultural journalism, secondary school teaching, and doctoral research.. Read more
The Master of Arts program is a course-based and research-intensive degree designed to prepare history of art students for curatorial work, art consultation, heritage programs, cultural journalism, secondary school teaching, and doctoral research.

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The Masters of Arts in Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories explores today’s creative practices and works produced since 1970. Read more
The Masters of Arts in Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories explores today’s creative practices and works produced since 1970. OCAD University is one of only a few universities in North America that concentrates on current artists and issues. It’s the first program in Ontario to offer a graduate specialization in design history.

In this program you’ll be shaping contemporary art, design and new media scholarship. OCAD University is a unique place to study this exciting field – the program is small, so you’ll get personal attention, have access to top-notch faculty and be studying at Canada’s largest art, design and new media university. You’ll work with the producers of cutting-edge art, design and new media in your studies.

This program is normally completed in two years. Students in this program can take advantage of being located in the heart of Toronto’s cultural district – you’ll have access to the archives of major institutions only a few blocks away such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto International Film Festival and the Design Exchange.

You should have an honours, four-year bachelor’s degree in art history, visual culture, communications or a similar program to apply.

What will you learn?

The program comprises the following:

You’ll learn to understand the zeitgeist, current movements and practices in today’s art, design and new media world. You’ll use established conventions of art history, theory and terminology in seminars and engage in independent study.

You can take courses from any of three specializations. You will choose one as your focus:

Contemporary Art History
Design History
New Media Art History

Drawing on the long established discipline of art history and sharing analytical techniques, theory and terminology, these three areas of study are complementary. However, these areas of investigation and specialization bear and retain their own distinctiveness, which is emphasized in field-specific seminars and independent study. While students may take courses in any one of the three specializations, one field will be selected as the focus for the degree.

The MA in Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories is a full-time, 7.5 credit program normally completed within two years (five semesters).

Two core graduate courses
Field-specific graduate seminars
Two electives
Individual reading and research
Major Research Paper (MRP) / Thesis writing workshop
MRP or Thesis

Students are required to complete a major research project or thesis. Here are a few recent examples:

Lady Gaga and the Other: Persona, Art and Monstrosity
The Comic’s Heartbeat: Framing Affective Structures in Comics History
Hip Hop as a Tool of Decolonization
New Media as a Platform for Indigenous Self-Representation and Social-Political Activism

You’ll be at the centre of contemporary art scholarship by planning and hosting the CADN Graduate Students’ Conference which is a major conference that attracts students and art historians from across the country.

What will I be able to do with my degree?

After graduating, you’ll be positioned to continue your research in a PhD program in cultural studies or contemporary art.

More and more contemporary art galleries and institutions are opening every day. These spaces want to hire people with their finger on the pulse of contemporary art and how it relates to history. Graduating with this highly prized skill set will give you a leg-up on students coming from traditional art programs.

Graduates from this program work as magazine and journal editors, researchers and curators.

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The Master of Fine Arts in Criticism & Curatorial Practice program offers graduate students an exceptional opportunity to explore and experiment with contemporary art, media and design through engagement with history, theory and criticism within curatorial practice. Read more
The Master of Fine Arts in Criticism & Curatorial Practice program offers graduate students an exceptional opportunity to explore and experiment with contemporary art, media and design through engagement with history, theory and criticism within curatorial practice.

OCAD University’s distinctive program focuses uniquely on the practices of curating and criticism, leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree. Our graduate faculty and adjunct faculty include practising curators and critics who bring deep intellectual and professional expertise to the studies of criticism and curatorial practice.

OCAD University’s reputation for excellence entices internationally renowned authorities to its annual Artist-in-Residence program, and assists students to establish programmatic internships in Canada and abroad.

The MFA in Criticism & Curatorial Practice is a full-time, 60-credit program normally completed within two academic years or five sequential semesters. With the Program Director’s approval, some part-time students may be admitted with a more flexible completion schedule.

The program comprises the following:

Five core seminars (critical theory, research methods, issues in exhibitions, critical writing, and issues in criticism and curatorial studies)
Two core practice and issues-based studio/seminars
An institutionally embedded theory and practice-based course,"Inside Curatorial Practice", which including a collaborative group exhibition
Two elective seminars or studios
Individual research
Summer internship or study abroad
Thesis: curatorial exhibition and critical essay, or criticism thesis

Students entering the program will have an honours-equivalent four-year bachelor’s degree in studio art or design, or art history/visual culture, or a related discipline, and several years of practical experience. They will be interested in augmenting their existing knowledge base through a program of study that facilitates exploration of and experimentation with the full range of contemporary art and/or design curatorial and critical practices, and that provides the historical, theoretical and critical armature required.

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the MFA in Criticism and Curatorial Practice are:

to ensure that students acquire advanced research skills for visual and academic investigations in the areas of art, media, and design practice and critical theory;
to contribute to new knowledge in the areas of art, media, and design research methodologies in criticism and curatorial practices;
to promote the development of practices that facilitate sustainability, social responsibility, and diverse social and cultural perspectives;
to develop and advance curatorial and critical practices in design;
to promote contemporary art, media, and design practices within public contexts;
to contribute to the development of the field of Canadian art, media, and design criticism;
to contribute to the development of the field of curatorial practice in private and public galleries and museums and to independent curatorial practices.

KEY FEATURES

Partnerships, internships and events at organizations such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Textile Museum, C Magazine, the Toronto Alliance of Art Critics, and various Toronto artist-run centres.
The Summer Internship, which is an approximately four-week placement with a gallery, museum, arts publication or other relevant cultural institution in Canada or abroad. The internship allows students to integrate the knowledge gleaned from first-year seminars with the practices of curating and criticism.
The annual Artist-in-Residence program, which brings internationally renowned artists, designers, curators and critics to OCAD U for a one-week residency during which they conduct seminars, attend studio critiques, and give a public lecture/presentation.

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