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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.

Visual and Critical Studies Theses


Lex Burgoyne, "New Media Gray Zone: The Participatory Exhibition Forms of Char Davies' Osmose and Porpentine Charity Heartscape's With Those We Love Alive"

Kiera Charbonneau, "The Complications of Histories and the Semiotics of Form: Dieter Rother's Literaturwurst"

Dallas Fellini, "Fabricating Authority: Personified Anonymity in the Work of Jim Joe"


Victoria Girard, "You Are What Eats You: Maternal Perversion of Consumption"  

Won Jeon, "Certainty, Conscious Purpose, and the Creative Act"

Matthew Mancini, "Vain Utopia's in The Preservation of Rodin's Thinker at the Cleveland Museum of Art"

Anthony Masucci, "The Broken Telegraph: Godzilla and WWII Japanese-American Relations"

Yana Rydzevskaya, "Outsider Art: A Redefinition"

Vanessa Tadman, "Representing the Female Body in the Work of Jenny Saville, Ishbel Myerscough, and Aleah Chapin"

Megan Van Capelle, "The Constructed Situation and the Collection: My Point is just as Intangible as the Art"

Sammy Van Herk, "A Swarm of Misconceptions: Bees as Propaganda in Rome during Urban VIII's Pontificate"

Maya Wilson-Sanchez, "Giuseppe Campuzano's Living Museum: Travesti Methods and Performing History in the Andes"


Sylvia Evans, "On Historical Time and Redemptive Practice: A Philosophical Reading of Walid Raad's The Atlas Group"

Ginette Guidi, "Cripping the Arts with Judith Scott: A Celebration of Difference and the Gift of Creation"

Chantelle Hope, "Contextualizing Atrocity in the Image: Understanding the Recognized and the Unrecognized in Anti-Semitic Holocaust Propaganda Photography"

Claire Van Doornik, "Rethinking Craft: A Study of the Value of the Handmade"


Moon-kyoung Cho, "Expressivity of Superflat: Flat, Syncretic, and Limitless"

Rob Oswald, "It Is, as It Is, Not: Abstraction and Material Necessity in Art and Society"

Laura Thipphawong, "Erotic Death Symbolism: The Docile Maiden and the Mad Scientist in Gabriel Von Max's The Anatomist"

Journal of Visual and Critical Studies

The Journal of Visual and Critical Studies is a student-driven publication showcasing work produced by current and graduating students in the Visual and Critical Studies BA Honours program. For more information, please visit the Journal of Visual and Critical Studies page.


 2018 Journal of Visual and Critical Studies

JVCS 2018 Cover



Contact information

For admission-related inquiries, contact:

Admissions & Recruitment
416-977-6000, Ext. 4869

For program-related inquiries, contact:
416-977-6000, Ext. 372

This program is offered under the written consent of the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development 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).