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Visual and Critical Studies (Honours BA)

Pursue the study of art history in the creative and dynamic environment of Canada’s premier art and design university.

Photo by Ansel Schmidt.

Honours BA in Visual and Critical Studies

The Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Visual and Critical Studies offers students the opportunity to pursue the academic study of art history in the creative and dynamic environment of Canada’s premier art and design university.

The unique features of this Honours BA program include:

  • An emphasis on the expanded field of modern and contemporary art history, which includes design, photography, architecture, performance and new media, as well as painting and sculpture.
  • Integration of select studio courses into the core program of study, which provides students with the opportunity to pursue studio minors.
  • A range of innovative interdisciplinary minors to choose from, such as Indigenous Visual Culture and Digital Futures, as well as minors in English, Creative Writing and Social Science.
  • Access to international study opportunities, including OCAD University’s flagship Florence Program.
  • Fourth-year honours seminar, which provides students with the opportunity to research and produce a major research paper.

View the admission requirements for more information.

Core faculty members in the BA in Visual and Critical Studies are internationally recognized scholars in the fields of art, design and new media art histories, and are professionally active in the fields of curating and publishing. The range of their scholarly expertise in Asian, Latin American, African, Islamic, Indigenous, Canadian, mediaeval, renaissance and modern European visual culture ensures that the study of art history at OCAD U is genuinely global in scope.

The exceptional educational experience offered by the Honours BA in Visual and Critical Studies prepares graduates for careers in curating, arts management, arts journalism and criticism, publishing and digital industries, such as writing for websites and gaming. The program’s academic specialization and breadth — with more than 90 visual culture courses and more than 80 breadth courses in English, humanities, social sciences and science/ technology to choose from — also provides a thorough foundation for post-graduate study in art history and related fields.

The program accepts applications for direct entry into the first year of the program, and for advanced second-year entry from students wishing to transfer from OCAD U studio programs or other universities.

Contact information

For admission-related inquiries, contact:

Admissions & Recruitment
416-977-6000, Ext. 4869
admissions@ocadu.ca

For program-related inquiries, contact:

Karen Hanna
Assistant, Curriculum and Communications
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences
416-977-6000, Ext. 3351
khanna@ocadu.ca



This program is offered under the written consent of the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities for the period from 26 June 2012 to 26 June 2020. Prospective students are responsible for satisfying themselves that the program and the degree will be appropriate to their needs (e.g., acceptable to potential employers, professional licensing bodies or other educational institutions).



2015/2016 Program Overview

Course Code Course Title Credits
VISC-1001 Global Visual & Material Culture: to 1800 0.5
VISC-1002 Global Visual & Material Culture: to Present 0.5
VISA-1001 Critical Frameworks for Art History 0.5
ENGL-2005 Writing the World - Intro to Literature 0.5
2000 1 HUMN Course 0.5
2000 1 course ENGL, HUMN, SCTM or SOSC 0.5
1000 Studio Courses 2.0
Course Code Course Title Credits
VISA-2001 Art and Globalization 1250 to 1800 0.5
VISA-2002 History of Modern Art 0.5
2000, 3000, or 4000 Art History Electives* 1.5
2000, 3000, or 4000 2 courses ENGL, HUMN, SCTM or SOSC** 1.0
2000, 3000, or 4000 Open Electives*** 1.5
Course Code Course Title Credits
VISA-3022 History & Methods Art History 0.5
2000, 3000, or 4000 Art History Electives* 1.5
2000, 3000, or 4000 3 courses ENGL, HUMN, SCTM or SOSC** 1.5
2000, 3000, or 4000 Open Electives*** 1.5
Course Code Course Title Credits
VISA-4901 Honours Seminar: Thesis Research 0.5
VISA-4902 Honours Seminar: Thesis Paper 0.5
2000, 3000, or 4000 Art History Electives* 2.0
2000, 3000, or 4000 2 courses ENGL, HUMN, SCTM or SOSC** 1.0
2000, 3000, or 4000 Open Electives*** 1.0

*Art History Electives Requirements:
-minimum 1.0 credit in Pre-1850
-minimum 1.0 credit in Global Perspectives
-minimum 1.0 credit in Indigenous and Canadian Art
-minimum 2.5 credits out of the total 9.0 credits Art History must be year 4


**Breadth Electives Requirements:
-minimum 2.0 credits at year 3 or 4
-minimum 0.5 credit must be completed in 3 out of the 4 breadth areas of ENGL, HUMN, SCTM and SOSC


***Open Electives Requirements:
-maximum 3.0 credits studios
-maximum 1.5 credits of year 1 studio