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 Student work from Xtension, 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.

Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories (MA)

Offering students a compelling array of perspectives to investigate and assess the ever-shifting worlds of contemporary art, design and new media art.

Student work from Xtension, 2013. Photo by Christina Gapic.

Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories (MA)

OCAD University’s MA in Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories is unique in Canada in its focus on contemporary production and theory across art, media, and design. Students in this interdisciplinary program engage with contemporary issues and works, while drawing on theoretical frameworks, historical contexts, and creative precedents that have shaped today’s visual and critical landscape.

Program facilities are located in the heart of Toronto’s arts and culture district, in close proximity to the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Design Exchange, the Textile Museum of Canada, the Gardiner Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery.

The program is small, allowing direct access to faculty expertise and supervision. Core faculty in the program are internationally-known scholars, writers, historians, and curators, active in their fields. Faculty expertise in global art history, Indigenous theory and practice, feminist and LGBTQ2+ studies, cinema studies, performance art, photography, video games, comic art, and design studies fuels a diverse range of approaches and course offerings, and supports students’ cutting-edge research into contemporary art, design, and media.

The program is able to offer generous funding packages in many cases, and most incoming students are granted teaching assistantships in undergraduate art and design history courses, providing valuable teaching experience.

To apply to the program, you should have a four-year bachelor’s degree in art history, visual culture, film studies, communications or a similar program, with a minimum 75% (B+) average over your last two years of study.

Students can take courses across a range of offerings in contemporary art history, design history, and media studies, as well as elective courses offered in OCAD U’s six other graduate programs. Additionally, there are opportunities to develop Independent study courses with faculty members, participate in study-abroad courses, and gain credit for internships.

Current Students and Faculty Profiles

See profiles of faculty and current students here:

CADN Alumni

Since 2012, the program has graduated nearly 60 students, who have gone on to work in arts and culture institutions, the film industry, museums, galleries, and publishing, as well as further study at the PhD level (at universities including Concordia University, University of California San Diego, University of Toronto, Western University, and York University). For profiles of selected alumni, click here:

CADN MRPs and Theses

Our students are working at the forefront of contemporary issues and analysis in art history, design history, and media studies; see a full list of completed Major Research Papers and Thesis titles here:

CADN Conferences

Students in the program organize a graduate-student conference each year, which is one of the highlights of the program. See previous CADN conferences:

This event is supplemented by frequent lectures and workshops from visiting scholars, artists, and curators. Past speakers have included: Nicholas R. Bell, Aleesa Cohene, Douglas Coupland, Robert Diaz, Brendan Fernandes, Hal Foster, Monika Kin Gagnon, Luis Jacob, Séamus Kealy, Janaya Khan, Mark Kingwell, Rick Lowe, Janine Marchessault, Sean Martindale, Lisa Myers, Karyn Olivier, Abdullah Qureshi, Kirsty Robertson, Terry Smith, Sarah Thornton, Eve Tuck, and others

Program Course Offerings

For a complete list of courses for this program,
please see the applicable program guides:

View Program Guides