Application requirements

Applications for the 2020-2021 academic year will open in October 2019.

All programs, except the Master's of Design in Inclusive Design, begin in the Fall 2020 semester. The Master's of Design in Inclusive Design starts one semester earlier, in the Spring/Summer 2020.

Our application requirements are described below. A FAQ is also available to help you along the way.

General application requirements

In addition to general graduate studies application requirements, found below, that are applicable to all programs, individual programs may have unique application requirements that you can consult, on the right hand side.

Transcripts

Transcripts are a record of your studies at an institution that include a list of courses completed, grades obtained, and indicate the conferral of your degree. Unofficial transcripts (i.e. scanned copies of your transcript or printouts of your student record) from every post-secondary institution you have attended must be uploaded as part of your online application. If your transcript does not clearly state that your degree was conferred, upload a copy of your degree certificate along with your transcript.

Scanned transcripts must conform to the following presentation standards:

  • One copy of the legend/grading scale information (normally found on the reverse of each transcript) must be included.
  • PDF format (.pdf extension); unprotected
  • Must be scanned as a single document
  • Transcript text orientation should be upright (if possible) and must be readable on a computer monitor without any adjustment by the viewer

Documents from non-English speaking institutions must be accompanied by a certified translation to English or a World Education Services (WES) course-by-course assessment of the credential.

If you are unable to obtain or provide transcripts, upload a document explaining the circumstances.

If you are offered admission to one of our programs, this offer will be conditional upon receiving official transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary institutions. These transcripts must be sent directly from the institution in unopened, sealed envelopes. We cannot accept unsealed, opened, photocopied, faxed, or scanned transcripts as official transcripts.

If an appropriate WES course-by-course assessment is not provided for an international credential, OCAD University reserves the right to require the provision of a credential assessment by the applicant at any point during the application or admissions process.

Reference letters

All program applications require three (3) reference letters.

Referees must complete their reference letter directly through the application portal. Contact information for your referees must be entered into the application portal before your application is submitted. It is your responsibility to ensure that your referees complete this step in a timely manner. We encourage you to contact your referees as early as possible, as review of your application may be delayed until all reference letters are received.

A good referee is someone who can speak to your post-secondary performance, capacity for research and potential for academic study at the graduate level.

Application fee

The application fee is $110 CAD, payable through the application portal.

Application fees are non-refundable and charged for each program for which you apply.

English language competency

The official language of instruction at OCAD U is English. To demonstrate English language proficiency at a graduate level, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Completion a bachelor’s or higher degree from an institution where the language of instruction was English;
    • Applicants should provide official documentation from the institution stating that the degree was taught in English, in one of the following ways:
      • A transcript that includes information on language of instruction;
      • A document issued by the institution stating that the language of instruction for the degree was English
  2. Your first language is English;
  3. Completion of an English language test within the 24 months prior to the application deadline, meeting the below minimum test scores:
  • TOEFL iBT
    • Overall: 90
    • Reading: 22
    • Listening : 20
    • Writing: 22
    • Speaking: 22
  • IELTS
    • Overall: 7
    • Reading: 7
    • Listening: 7
    • Writing: 7
    • Speaking: 7

Applicants who are required to provide TOEFL or IELTS scores are encouraged to schedule their test date as soon as possible to ensure that test scores are received by OCAD University prior to the application deadline. Review of your application may be delayed until test scores are received.

OCAD University reserves the right to require an applicant to take the TOEFL or IELTS, or to provide documentation proving that the language of instruction at an institution attended was English, at any point during the application or admissions process.

Funding

Visit the Funding page for more information about entrance scholarships, graduate assistantships, bursaries and awards.

Program-specific application requirements

To consult each programs’ unique application requirements, please click on the program titles.

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

Criticism and Curatorial Practice (MFA)

Design for Health (MDes)

Digital Futures (MA, MDes and MFA)

Inclusive Design (MDes)

Interdisciplinary Masters in Art, Media and Design (MA, MDes & MFA)

Strategic Foresight and Innovation (MDes)


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

Application for admission into the MA in Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories is competitive. Applicants must hold a BA, BFA, BDes, or comparable honours degree/certification with an average of 75 per cent (B+) or better during the last two years of study, or must demonstrate exceptional related experience/expertise as a practising art or design professional. All applicants must demonstrate creative and conceptual competence at a high level.

For consideration by the admissions committee, and in addition to the basic application requirements outlined below, applicants need to complete and submit the following through SlideRoom:

  • Research Proposal: Maximum 250 words that clearly outlines your background and describes your research interests; bibliography and illustrations may be included.
  • Writing Sample: Not more than 20 pages, which can be in published or manuscript form; if manuscript, the text must be typed and the context in which it was produced identified.
  • CV: Applicants should include an updated copy of their curriculum vitae.

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Criticism and Curatorial Practice (MFA)

Application for admission into the MFA in Criticism & Curatorial Practice at OCAD U is a highly competitive process. Applicants must hold a BA, BFA, BDes, or comparable honours degree/certification with an average of 75 per cent (B+) or better during the last two years of study, or must demonstrate exceptional experience/expertise as a practising artist, designer, critic or curator. All applicants must demonstrate creative and conceptual competence at a high level.

For consideration by the admissions committee, and in addition to the basic application requirements outlined below, applicants need to complete and submit the following through SlideRoom:

  • Research Proposal: Applicants should clearly outline their background in their area of concentration and describe their research interest or theme for their graduate work in the program. The proposal must be typed and should not exceed 500 words. Appendices including bibliography and examples of visual work may be included if appropriate.
  • CV: Applicants should include an updated copy of their curriculum vitae.

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Design for Health (MDes)

Application for admission into the Master’s in Design for Health will be competitive. Applicants must hold a bachelor degree in a design field, such as BA (in design studies), B.Arch., BED, BID, BDes, BSc, BEng or comparable honours degree/certification with a GPA of 75% (B+) or better during the last two years of study, or must demonstrate exceptional experience and expertise as a practitioner in a relevant discipline. All applicants must demonstrate creative and conceptual competence at a high level, as well as the clear potential for acquiring a sufficient level of expertise in the diverse disciplines relevant to this degree.

A portfolio comprised of 10 examples of design work and a 750-word statement of interest will be required.

For consideration by the admissions committee, and in addition to the basic application requirements outlined above, applicants need to complete and submit the following through SlideRoom:

  • Statement of Interest: Applicants should describe their key areas of interest in the health sector, detailing how their academic background and professional experience relate to their interests, and how their intended practice and research align with the objectives of the program. The proposal must be typed and approximately 750 words in length. If you are also applying for the AGE-WELL scholarship, please also describe in your Statement of Intent how your experience, expertise, and proposed area of interest/research aligns with AGE-WELL’s Goals and Priorities. AGE-WELL’s vision is to harness and build upon the potential of emerging and advanced technologies to stimulate technological, social, and policy innovation and create technologies and services that benefit older adults and caregivers.
  • Design Portfolio: Applicants must submit samples of relevant student or professional work produced in the last five years. Visual work, analytic reports, proposal documents etc. may be included. Applicants are expected to demonstrate proficiency in their primary design discipline(s). The applicant’s best work should be represented.
  • Alternative Portfolio (for non-design applicants): A limited number of candidates with ‘non- design’ qualifications and backgrounds such as engineering, computer science, public health and medicine may be considered for entry on a case-by-case basis, considering criteria such as professional and personal experience within the area of design for health. Requirements for applicants with non-design undergraduate degrees are the same as for design degree graduates, except that the portfolio should focus on providing sufficient documentation of experience relevant to health innovation.
  • CV: Applicants should include an updated copy of their curriculum vitae.

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Digital Futures (MA, MDes and MFA)

Applicants must hold a BA, BFA, BDes, BComm, BSc, BEng or comparable honours degree/certification with an average of 75 per cent (B+) or better during the last two years of study, or must demonstrate impressive experience and expertise as a practitioner in a relevant discipline. All applicants must demonstrate creative and conceptual competence at a good level, as well as the clear potential for acquiring a practical knowledge in the diverse disciplines relevant to this graduate program to create an innovative and implementable thesis project.

For consideration by the admissions committee, and in addition to the basic application requirements outlined below, applicants need to complete and submit the following through SlideRoom:

  • Letter of Intent: Applicants should explain their personal philosophy and reasons for applying to this program and refer to any relevant experience, background and future ambitions. The letter must be typed and be 1000 to 1500 words in length.
  • Research Outline: Applicants must provide an initial proposal for a research project that they are interested in pursuing in the program. This should include: 1) a title, 2) the area of interest and/or idea, 3) the rationale for the research, 4) your proposed field of study including any relevant theories and methodologies, 5) expected outcome in terms of innovation and realized creative work, 6) the relevance of the applicant's background and experience, 7) any reference sources used in the proposal, 8) bibliography of relevant sources. (800 to 1,000 words in length.)
  • Samples of Work: Applicants must submit samples of relevant student and/or professional work produced in the last five years. Visual work, analysis reports and proposal documents may be included. Applicants are expected to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of their primary area of interest. Applicants must submit samples of relevant student and/or professional work produced in the last five years.
  • Academic References: Applicant will be asked to provide exactly 3 references that can speak to your post-secondary performance, capacity for research and potential for academic study at the graduate level.
  • CV: Applicants should include an updated copy of their curriculum vitae. Short-listed candidates may be invited for an interview. The interview is an ideal opportunity for the candidate to meet with faculty, ask questions about the program and visit studio facilities and labs at OCAD U. Alternate arrangements will be made for applicants who are unable to attend the interview in person.

Note: admission to the degree program is contingent on the availability of an appropriate Principal Advisor in the student’s declared area of research interest.

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Inclusive Design (MDes)

The application process for admission into the Master of Design in Inclusive Design at OCAD U is highly competitive. Applicants must hold a BA, BDes, BComm, BEng, BSc, BFA or comparable honours degree/certification in a program that provides a foundational grounding in information and communication systems and practices (e.g., Computer Science, Software Engineering, Information Studies, Culture and Technology or similar field) with an average of 75 per cent (B+) or better during the last two years of study, or must demonstrate exceptional experience/expertise as a practitioner in a relevant discipline. All applicants must demonstrate creative, technical and conceptual competence at a high level, as well as the clear potential for acquiring a sufficient level of expertise in the diverse disciplines relevant to this degree to create a truly innovative, germane and implementable project at the master’s level.

For consideration by the admissions committee, and in addition to the basic application requirements outlined below, applicants need to complete and submit the following through SlideRoom:

  • Statement of Intent: 1,000 words maximum that describes the applicant’s key area of intended research in the program, how their academic background and professional experience relates to the program, and how the intended research aligns with the objectives of the program. Appendices including bibliography may be included.
  • Samples of Work: Representative samples of relevant student or professional work produced in the last five years. Software, user-experience designs, analysis reports, proposal documents, web applications and websites, may be included.
  • CV: Applicants should include an updated copy of their curriculum vitae.
  • Shortlisted candidates may be invited for a teleconference or in-person interview.

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Interdisciplinary Masters in Art, Media and Design (MA, MDes & MFA)

Application for admission into the Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media & Design at OCAD U is a highly competitive process. Applicants must hold a BA, BFA, BDes, or comparable honours degree/certification with an average of 80 per cent (A-) or better during the last two years of study, or must demonstrate exceptional experience/expertise as a practicing artist, designer or scholar.

All applicants must demonstrate creative and conceptual competence at a high level, as well as the clear potential for acquiring a sufficient level of expertise in a secondary discipline to create an integrated interdisciplinary thesis project at the Master’s level.

For consideration by the admissions committee, and in addition to the basic application requirements outlined below, applicants need to complete and submit the following through SlideRoom:

  • Research Proposal: Applicants should clearly outline their background in at least two areas of expertise and describe their interdisciplinary research interests or theme for their graduate work in the program. One of these areas of expertise must be in studio art, media or design. The proposal must be typed and should be a maximum of 500 words. Appendices including bibliography and examples of visual work may be included. It is strongly suggested that applicants identify at least one graduate faculty member they would like to work with during their studies.
  • Portfolio and Statement: Applicants must submit a maximum of 15 still images representing no more than five bodies of work. Quicktime movies or other time-based image files should not exceed three minutes in length. Applicants are expected to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of their primary area of concentration and are encouraged to submit any examples of interdisciplinary work. The portfolio should represent the applicant’s best work (formally, conceptually, and contextually resolved). A significant number of the images should represent work produced in the last 12 months. The portfolio must be accompanied by an artist/designer statement of no more than 250 words. The statement should speak to recent work and explain its relevance to the research proposal. It is suggested you discuss the discursive vectors of your practice, your existing expertise and how you would like to grow your practice during your graduate studies. A list of the works submitted should also be included in the portfolio.
  • CV: Applicants should include an updated copy of their curriculum vitae.
  • Shortlisted candidates may be notified regarding an interview. No original work is to be presented during the interview. The interview is an ideal opportunity for the candidate to meet with graduate faculty and to discuss the program and the candidate's research proposal. Alternative arrangements will be made for applicants who are unable to attend the interview in person.

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Strategic Foresight and Innovation (MDes)

Application for admission into the Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCAD U is a competitive process. Applicants must hold a BA, BFA, BDes, BComm, BEng or comparable honours degree/certification with an average of 75 per cent (B+) or better during the last two years of study, or must demonstrate exceptional experience/expertise as a practitioner in a relevant discipline.

All applicants must demonstrate creative and conceptual competence at a high level, as well as the clear potential to create a truly innovative, germane and implementable project at the master’s level. Short-listed candidates will be invited for an interview.

For consideration by the admissions committee, and in addition to the basic application requirements outlined below, applicants need to complete and submit the following through SlideRoom:

  • Statement of Intent: 800 to 1,000 words that describe significant personal or professional experiences which have shaped the applicant’s goals, how the SFI program can support the applicant in meeting those goals, as well as a brief description of a topic area or challenge for which the applicant would be interested in conducting research, including a rationale for its potential value. A student may change the research topic prior to embarking on his/her major research topic. A bibliography and relevant examples of work may be included. The statement serves to assist us in better understanding the alignment between the objectives of the SFI program and of the applicant.
  • Samples of Work: Please submit relevant professional and/or student work produced in the last five years. Applicants are encouraged to include the best examples of work that are typical of the variety of work they have done. Diversity in experience in the cv should be evident in the portfolio. Visual work, analysis reports and proposal documents may be included. Applicants are expected to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of their disciplinary/professional work.
  • CV: Applicants should include an updated copy of their curriculum vitae. Applicants should include information regarding educational achievement, professional practice and community service.

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