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OCAD University Masters Degrees

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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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Designers affect the quality of life and well-being of individuals and entire populations through the designs they create. Today, some of the most exciting design work is being carried out in the broad and diverse field of health. Read more
Designers affect the quality of life and well-being of individuals and entire populations through the designs they create. Today, some of the most exciting design work is being carried out in the broad and diverse field of health.

OCAD University’s Master of Design (MDes) in Design for Health offers you a unique opportunity to create designed solutions to health challenges.

Nearly every aspect of health care needs design expertise. Here’s a sample:

Charting streamlined pathways for accessing treatments such as chemotherapy
Closing the gaps in hospital-based infection control
Consulting on health-promotion approaches to urban development
Enhancing patients’ and care providers’ management of chronic diseases
Expanding access to information and services across diverse communities

Problem Based Learning through Studio

The interdisciplinary Design for Health program has four main themes delivered primarily through studio-based learning with partnered projects:

Health context: Develop domain knowledge to health, healthcare delivery, communications, technology and innovation.

Research and application: Identify, design, conduct and apply qualitative, co-design, and evidence based techniques to health challenges.

Design and innovation: Create new, ethical, and sustainable solutions with health sector stakeholders, patients, and partners.

Proficiency and leadership within interdisciplinary collaborations: Be embedded in interdisciplinary teams of researchers, health-service providers and designers to develop design solutions and communicate outcomes.

Current and Future Needs in the Health Sector

Many issues are calling out for people with specialised design-for-health knowledge and skills. Some of the most urgent are:

Increases in chronic diseases
An aging population
Escalating costs and shrinking budgets
The emergence of new infections
Growing cultural diversity
Consumer demand for more involvement in care planning and delivery
A shift to multi-setting health-care delivery
The spread of digital technologies

Embedded in the Health Context

We are situated in downtown Toronto at the heart of Canada’s creative sector, and just a short walk from world-calibre hospitals and health-research institutes.

The MDes in Design for Health leverages our location in the heart of the medical sector of Toronto as well as our faculty members’ expertise and abundant collaborations and connections to offer you an unparalleled environment in which to expand your knowledge and experience.

For Designers and Health Sector Specialists

We developed the MDes in Design for Health primarily for people who already have educational and practical experience in an area of design but also for people in the health sector who are committed to design. Most students will hold an undergraduate degree in design or a related field, and some will have experience in health administration, patient advocacy, health services, or health technology.

Design for Health Scholarships and Funding

We have many scholarships and funding opportunities available to students in the Design for Health program. We awarded over $60 000 in scholarships in 2016.

One of our scholarships is the AGEWELL award which is a collaboration between OCAD U and the AGEWELL Network on the topic of aging. For this scholarship there are special application requirements. For further details, please click here.

Program options

Full-time, 20 months (5 semesters)
Part-time, 32 months (8 semesters)

Special features

Faculty members who are directly engaged in health-design research and innovation
Small class sizes and close faculty and student collaborations
On-site studio learning with local partner organizations
Guest lectures by designers, scholars and industry experts
Optional internships with design/health-innovation companies
Elective and shared courses from other graduate programs at OCAD University and other post-secondary institutions
Connections – that support research and experiential learning – with leading health-care organizations in Toronto and elsewhere
Potential for support for the commercialization of ideas and products through the Imagination Catalyst, OCAD University’s entrepreneurial and commercialization hub

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The graduate program in Digital Futures responds to the increasingly important and sophisticated role of digital technology as a catalyst for change. Read more
The graduate program in Digital Futures responds to the increasingly important and sophisticated role of digital technology as a catalyst for change.

Digital Futures has an international student cohort and faculty. The program features collaborative overseas eGlobal courses with world-wide educational and industry partners. A global perspective is key to securing our graduates’ futures in the eclectic international creative digital industries, encompassing design, arts, creative services, entertainment, media and cultural industries. The Digital Futures program is offered in partnership with the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) Media Lab.

The Digital Futures student-centred learning approach applies to both research and practice. The curriculum ensures that you gain core digital knowledge and skills as you explore your specific areas of interest through electives, industry internships, residencies and independent study.

The program focuses on practice-based learning and prototyping, with an enterprise component and supporting thesis research. Industry partnerships help students to build a career runway in advance of graduating. You are encouraged to work with industry partners in internships which lead to mentorship for your thesis research.

WHO SHOULD APPLY?

You should have a background in design, technology, culture and/or enterprise as demonstrated by an undergraduate degree and relevant work experience. Our students are designers and artists, filmmakers, architects, journalists and media specialists, scientists, engineers and business people. This diversity drives peer learning and collaboration across disciplines in the program.

THE MASTER’S DEGREE IN DIGITAL FUTURES

The master's in Digital Futures is a two-year full-time program. In the program, you will develop practice-based and scholarly research in technologically advanced design, art and media through the following:

Critical thinking
Research and practice
Business and innovation studies
Computing and emerging digital methodologies

This is a full-time, 8-credit program comprising:

Foundational courses in computation, business creation, innovation and leadership
Core courses in digital methods, research, theory and practice
Intensive digital project and prototyping courses
Individual research and creation overseen by a principal advisor and supervisory committee
Summer internship and/or study abroad
Elective choices
Creative digital thesis project and supporting paper (MFA/MDes) or a written thesis and supporting creative project (MA)

Students declare their intention to pursue the Master of Design (MDes), Master of Fine Arts (MFA) or Master of Arts (MA) at the time of application. The outcomes of the chosen degree are distinctive. The MDes and MFA focus on practice-based research creation with a supporting thesis. The MA flips that focus, with an emphasis on a scholarly research thesis and a supporting creative project.

ELECTIVE CHOICES

New elective courses are continuously created in response to trends and emerging technologies. These cutting-edge courses cover theory and practice in design, art, media, technology and enterprise. Some examples include:

Body Centric Technologies
Dialogues in Feminism and Technology
Digital Games
Information Visualization
IP: Getting Value from Your Creativity
Web + Mobile System Design
Transmedia Storytelling
Ubiquitous Computing
Affect and Emotion in Practic
Making It Real
From Data to Perception
Special Topic: Family Camera at the ROM

WHERE MIGHT YOUR GRADUATE DEGREE IN THE DIGITAL FUTURES PROGRAM LEAD YOU?

As a Digital Futures graduate, you’ll be qualified to work in positions such as:

App, web, and games designers and developers
Digital project leaders
Cultural industry producers
Managers and coordinators between art and design departments and IT
Creators and developers of your own start-ups
Film, television and digital transmedia producers
Digital strategists and educators

Graduates of the Digital Futures program will be poised to play leadership roles in research and development in the media, arts, technology, entertainment and education sectors.

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Inclusive Design advances accessibility, and encompasses the full range of human diversity including ability, language, culture, gender and age. Read more
Inclusive Design advances accessibility, and encompasses the full range of human diversity including ability, language, culture, gender and age. Inclusive Design recognizes that we aren’t all the same. Design must be usable, flexible, and customizable among other qualities to be truly inclusive. From policies, customer service, infrastructure, technology, buildings to everyday products—we can design so that everyone can be accommodated and included.

MASTER OF DESIGN IN INCLUSIVE DESIGN

This program is primarily delivered through an online technology and learning system. It is the only one of its kind in Canada. We offer you the opportunity to become uniquely qualified as a global leader in the growing field of inclusive design.

You will learn to think differently and aim to break through societal barriers to address the growing demand for access and inclusion

The program benefits from accomplished faculty engaged with multi-disciplinary research and design practices, and you will bring valuable and diverse insights from your own educational and professional experiences, to both study and research projects.

You will explore equity and access issues through the lens of design thinking, leveraged by the application of inclusive digital technologies

The program prepares graduates for doctoral programs or advanced careers in:

Digital Media and ICT Systems
Public Sector Policy and Administration
Design for Built Environments
Arts and Culture
Healthcare sector
Graphic and Communication Design.

PROGRAM DELIVERY

The program accommodates the needs of working professionals and international students. The full-time two-year program includes:

Two-week, on-campus, residential intensives in both the first and second year of the program
Seminar courses delivered in a highly interactive online format throughout the year
A major research project in the second year of the program that will position you at the leading edge of inclusive design thinking
Colloquium session in second year, open to the public
A culminating festival and graduate symposium

You will co-create your pathway through the program with opportunities for elective courses in both the first and second year of the program

Seminar courses are delivered through both online and face-to-face sessions that support students learning both remotely and on campus. Coursework includes group projects, online discussion forums, and contribution from guest experts and leading innovators in the field of inclusive design. Research positions and assistantships are available throughout the program as opportunities arise with the Inclusive Design Research Centre, and both private and public sector funded projects.

All courses and class materials are accessible and assistance is available for students with English as a second language, and for those experiencing other challenges for learning and coursework.

Intensive on-campus ‘residencies’, consist of two full courses, and take place in each of the two summer terms. Students are required to attend these classes and activities on campus at OCAD University in Toronto.

Program Objectives

You will learn the systems and methodologies to tackle equity and diversity issues facing contemporary society

You will graduate with advanced skills, insights and resourcefulness to lead the critical transitions and meet rising demand for inclusive design practices globally

You will be equipped to excel in evolving professional fields including digital media, ICT, health, education, government and other public and private sector fields

You will contribute to meeting legal and policy commitments for accessibility, equity, diversity and inclusion at local, national and global levels.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) has legislated an accessible Ontario, Canada by 2025 which means inclusive design is fast becoming an essential skill for every business and organization in Ontario.

You will be joining the practice and research communities devoted to the design systems for diversity and accessibility

You will be prepared for doctoral programs to further leading-edge research advancing knowledge of inclusive design across many sectors and professional fields

You will have access and engagement with the renowned Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) at OCAD U. This research and development centre hosts an international community of developers, designers, researchers, advocates, and volunteers working together to ensure that emerging digital and information technology and practices are designed inclusively, and equitably.

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The Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design (IAMD) draws experienced artists and designers from around the world, encouraging them to investigate and produce works that combine art, design and interdisciplinary academic study to create new forms of visual and social research and creative production. Read more
The Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media and Design (IAMD) draws experienced artists and designers from around the world, encouraging them to investigate and produce works that combine art, design and interdisciplinary academic study to create new forms of visual and social research and creative production.

Each student’s primary discipline and chosen emphasis among art, design, or media practice and theoretical inquiry will determine whether the degree earned is an MFA, MDes or MA.

Students thrive in a creative environment led by an accomplished faculty. Matchless opportunities for innovative learning are offered through visiting experts, internships, independent studies and the Annual First-Year Graduate Student Exhibition.

Upon entering the IAMD program, students will already have strong disciplinary expertise in art, design, media, art history, visual culture or a related discipline, plus an appropriate undergraduate degree and practical experience. They will be interested in augmenting their skills through a program that relies on research, collaboration and practice models to reframe contemporary issues through hybrid and interdisciplinary forms. Importantly, participants will rise to the challenge of working in an experimental environment where the outcome of their interdisciplinary efforts is not crystal clear at the outset and where the path of discovery may take them to unexpected places. This will entail rigorous academic study and the creation of a significant body of studio-based work and critical/theoretical writing.

The IAMD program aims to achieve these objectives through a course of study that includes:

Intensive graduate level directed study in the student’s studio practice
Seminars in critical theory and research methods
Elective courses that supplement the core curriculum by allowing each student to explore his or her individual interests in studio, theory or research
Either a major studio project supported by a written critical analysis (leading to the MFA or MDes degree) or an academic master’s thesis accompanied by a creative project (leading to the MA degree).

Objectives

Provide a flexibly structured, advanced studio-based learning environment that enables students to integrate art, media and design production, in combination with other disciplines, through processes that remix theory, methodology and practice.

Ensure that students acquire advanced research skills for visual and academic investigations in the areas of art, media and design practice and critical theory.

Foster the development of individuals who can think, create and practise in interdisciplinary ways.

Contribute to new knowledge in the areas of interdisciplinary art, media and design methods, discourses and creative practices.

Promote the development of practices that facilitate sustainability, social responsibility and diverse social and cultural perspectives.

Each cohort will be carefully selected to maximize opportunities for interaction among art, media, design and non-studio subject areas. Students will work with an Advisory Committee that includes leading scholars/practitioners in each of their disciplines who will guide the students' individual studies and contribute to the development of their master's thesis work.

Key features

The opportunity for students to undertake coursework, directed studies, lectures and workshops with OCAD U faculty and with visiting faculty from other institutions and visiting experts in a wide range of disciplines
The option of an independent study, internship, elective and/or residency during the summer term between the first and second years of the program
Annual First-Year Graduate Student Exhibition
Graduate Thesis Exhibition

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The Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation is creating a new kind of designer. A strategist who sees the world from a human perspective and re-thinks what is possible; An innovator who can imagine, plan and develop a better world. Read more
The Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation is creating a new kind of designer: A strategist who sees the world from a human perspective and re-thinks what is possible; An innovator who can imagine, plan and develop a better world.

Recognizing the increasing importance and need for new thinking skills to positively impact society, enhance business success and manage organizational change, this innovative program was launched in 2009 to address these issues and opportunities. Emphasis is placed on teaching complex problem finding, framing and solving, to envision and develop sustainable futures.

With an interdisciplinary, co-creative approach only possible at an art and design university, the entrepreneur, social scientist, artist, designer, and engineer will develop together the skills required for leading innovation. Our program prepares graduates to think holistically - exploring, challenging and finding meaning in order to reframe and guide both present and future actions.

Small class sizes and access to outstanding faculty and experts foster new learning opportunities: students practise foresight to envision possible futures; study systems to see the bigger picture; and explore human factors for a broader understanding of motivation and behaviour. This allows students to lead innovation, generating insight-driven ideas that will result in new possibilities, new outcomes and new opportunities for the world.

Program options

The MDes in Strategic Foresight and Innovation is offered as:

a part-time two-year (seven-semester) program
a full-time 16-month (four-semester) program (as of September 2013)
Both programs consist of 7.5 credits.

Objectives

Students will develop design-thinking skills that include analysis, synthesis and strategic and creative thinking, which are critical for professionals in the public, private and voluntary sectors. The program will develop students’ expertise in foresight, research and innovation methodologies and will enable them to acquire sufficient contextual knowledge to develop intelligent, innovative, visionary and future-enhancing solutions in their culminating projects.

Upon completion of the course, students will be ready to tackle the complexity of real-world issues as future-conscious developers of ideas and solutions, and entrepreneurial co-creators.

The program will enable students to:

explore and test innovative methods of organization, creation and production from a human perspective;
develop strategic, innovative and anticipatory solutions (strategic foresight) and implementation plans for design, business or policy innovations, or for organizational or infrastructural change;
navigate complex problems and find solutions that will lead to the development of new and sustainable futures.

Key features

Students will be engaged in a collaborative, co-creative studio environment in their core directed studio classes. Working in trans-disciplinary teams on many projects, students will benefit from the diverse backgrounds of their faculty and fellow students.
An advisory committee of faculty and—in the case of real world projects—public or private sector professionals will support and guide each student’s major project.
Guest lectures and critiques from professional strategists and foresight experts.
Part-time and full-time program options accommodate diverse scheduling needs of the students.

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