The University of Ottawa’s Department of Visual Arts offers a graduate program leading to the degree of Master of Fine Arts (MFA).

The program is bilingual and covers a variety of artistic practices, from photography and media arts to sculpture, painting and drawing, video and installation art. Students take an in-depth look at theories informing contemporary art and image culture, and can choose to pursue either an interdisciplinary studio approach or to specialize in a single medium. In accordance with University of Ottawa policy, students may choose to complete written assignments, examinations, and studio critiques in either English or French.

The program is two years in length and is offered on a full-time basis only.

The program is governed by the general regulations in effect for graduate studies.

Learn more on application deadlines, language requirements and more by visiting the specific requirements webpage.

Applicants to the program are required to have a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts (either a BFA, or a BA with major or specialization in Visual Arts), with a minimum B+ (75%) average in the last two years of study and an overall B (70%) average. Candidates with an honours bachelor’s degree in another discipline may be accepted if they submit a portfolio of exceptional quality.

To be eligible, the candidate should have:

  • A portfolio that demonstrates significant artistic accomplishment and potential;
  • A solid background in the history and theory of art, with a particular emphasis on contemporary art and art discourse, as demonstrated by the student having completed at least 12 units of art history and theory courses at the undergraduate level, with at least nine of those units in contemporary art.
    • Note: The Admissions Committee may, when recommending admission, add up to two undergraduate art history and theory courses to the normal requirements of the master’s.
  • At least a basic technical grounding in the visual and multi-media disciplines in which they will be working during their time in the program, as shown by the admission portfolio and/or undergraduate studies;
  • Proficiency in one of the two official languages (English or French) and at least a passive knowledge of the other official language, that is, the ability to read and understand it;
  • Proof, as demonstrated by their portfolio and exhibition records, that they have been capable of sustaining an artistic practice for at least two years since completing undergraduate studies. This regulation may be waived for older students with outstanding records of artistic accomplishment.

In accordance with the University of Ottawa regulation, assignments, examinations, research papers and theses can be produced in either English or French.

A detailed description of the program, and of the guidelines for studio courses and the thesis preparation, can be found on the website of the Department of Visual Arts.

A total of 42 units is required:

Studio Courses:
ART 5063Independent Studio6 Units
ART 5961Intergrade Studio I3 Units
ART 5962Intergrade Studio II3 Units
ART 6964Advanced Studio I3 Units
ART 6965Advanced Studio II3 Units
Theory Courses:
ART 5900Professional Internship 13 Units
ART 5971Art and Culture Theory3 Units
ART 6972Art and Its Mediation3 Units
ART 6973The Work of Art in Context3 Units
Thesis Presentation:
ART 7999Thesis Presentation12 Units

Note(s)

1

In the case of ART 5900, students may elect to substitute a fourth-year History and Theory of Art course specified by the Visual Arts Department, or a graduate theory course in another graduate program, subject to the approval of the course professor and the Graduate Program Director of the Visual Arts Department.

Duration of the Program

Students are expected to complete all requirements within two years. The thesis must be submitted within four years of the date of initial enrollment in the program.

Residence

The program extends over six terms (two years) of full-time study. The student’s time in the program culminates in the preparation of a professional-level Thesis Presentation.

Minimum Standards

The minimum passing grade in all courses is C+. A student who receives two failing grades (equivalent to six units), or who fails the same course twice, is required to withdraw.

Research Fields & Facilities

Located in the heart of Canada’s capital, a few steps away from Parliament Hill, the University of Ottawa is among Canada’s top 10 research universities.

uOttawa focuses research strengths and efforts in four Strategic Areas of Development in Research (SADRs):

  • Canada and the World
  • Health
  • e-Society
  • Molecular and Environmental Sciences

With cutting-edge research, our graduate students, researchers and educators strongly influence national and international priorities.

Research at the Faculty of Arts

The Faculty of Arts is proud of the state of the art research conducted by its professors. In the spirit of showcasing its research to the university community as well as to the general public, the Faculty has created three activities: Dean's Lecture Series, Treasures of the Library, and Excellence Lectures.

Facilities, Research Centres and Institutes at the Faculty of Arts

Centre de recherche en civilisation canadienne-française, Institute of Canadian and Aboriginal Studies, Institute for Science, Society and Policy, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI) and Morisset Library.

For more information, refer to the list of faculty members and their research fields on Uniweb

IMPORTANT: Candidates and students looking for professors to supervise their thesis or research project can also consult the website of the faculty or department of their program of choice. Uniweb does not list all professors authorized to supervise research projects at the University of Ottawa.

ART 5063 Atelier indépendant / Independent Studio (6 crédits / 6 units)

Pratique en atelier avec un projet d'initiative personnelle, sous la direction du professeur. Les étudiants doivent faire approuver leur proposition de projet au début de la session. À la fin de la session, ils présentent leur projet complété devant un jury de professeurs réguliers. / Self-directed studio practice under the guidance of a professor. Students must have their project proposal approved at the beginning of the session and, at the end of the session, they must present their completed project to a jury of regular professors.

Volet / Course Component: Laboratoire / Laboratory

ART 5900 Stage professionnel / Professional Internship (3 crédits / 3 units)

Stage dans un musée, une galerie, un conseil de recherche, un établissement d'archives ou autre site approuvé. Evalué par un professeur basé sur le rapport écrit final de l'étudiant situant son expérience de stage professionnel dans un contexte théorique. Noté S (satisfaisant) ou NS (non satisfaisant). Durée : 150 heures. / Internship at a museum, gallery, research council, archives site or other approved location. Evaluated by a professor based on the student's final written report, situating their professional internship experience within a theoretical framework. Graded S (Satisfactory) / NS (Not satisfactory). Duration: 150 hours.

Volet / Course Component: Stage / Work Term

Préalable : une solide connaissance théorique en art contemporain et en pratique d'exposition et approbation écrite du programme. / Prerequisite: A strong theoretical foundation in contemporary art and exhibition practice and written approval from the program.

ART 5961 Atelier intégré I / Intergrade Studio I (3 crédits / 3 units)

Pratique en atelier sous la direction d'un professeur. Participation régulière à des critiques, à des discussions de groupe à partir de lectures et de présentations d'artistes et de théoriciens invités, de visites d'expositions, et ce, afin d'acquérir une compréhension élargie des pratiques artistiques contemporaines et des questions soulevées par le travail personnel des étudiants. / Studio practice under the guidance of a professor. Participation in regular critiques, group discussions, based on readings and presentations by visiting lecturers and visits to exhibitions, in order to develop a wide-ranging understanding of contemporary artistic practice and of issues arising within individual student work.

Volet / Course Component: Laboratoire / Laboratory

ART 5962 Atelier intégré II / Intergrade Studio II (3 crédits / 3 units)

Pratique en atelier sous la direction d'un professeur. Participation à des critiques, à des discussions de groupe à partir de lectures et de présentations d'artistes et de théoriciens invités et à de visites d'expositions, afin d'acquérir une compréhension élargie des pratiques artistiques contemporaines et des questions soulevées par le travail personnel des étudiants. / Studio practice under the guidance of a professor. Participation in critiques, group discussions based on readings and presentations by visiting lecturers and visits to exhibitions, in order to develop a wide-randing understanding of contemporary artistic practice and of issues arising within individual work.

Volet / Course Component: Laboratoire / Laboratory

ART 5971 Art et théories culturelles / Art and Culture Theory (3 crédits / 3 units)

Étude des principaux courants de la pensée contemporaine et de leur impact sur les productions et les théories artistiques : le structuralisme, le poststructuralisme, les théories postmodernes, postcolonialistes, féministes, etc. / Study of the principal modes of contemporary thought including structuralism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, postcoloniaslim, feminism etc., and examination of their impact on artistic production and theory.

Volet / Course Component: Séminaire / Seminar

ART 6964 Pratique avancée en atelier I / Advanced Studio I (3 crédits / 3 units)

Pratique en atelier avec présentations individuelles et critiques, lectures et recherches personnelles. Approfondissement de l'expérience artistique de l'étudiant et de sa connaissance du contexte contemporain dans lequel se situe sa propre production artistique. / Studio practice with individual presentations and critiques, independent readings and research. Development of student artistic practice as well as of knowledge of the contemporary context within which the student's own artistic work is situated.

Volet / Course Component: Laboratoire / Laboratory

ART 6965 Pratique avancée en atelier III / Advanced Studio II (3 crédits / 3 units)

Pratique en atelier avec présentations individuelles et critiques, lectures et recherches personnelles. Les étudiants approfondissent leur expérience artistique et leur connaissance du contexte contemporain dans lequel se situent leurs propres oeuvres artistiques. / Studio practice with individual presentations and critiques, independent readings and research. Development of student artistic practice as well as of knowledge of the contemporary context within which the student's own artistic work is situated.

Volet / Course Component: Laboratoire / Laboratory

ART 6972 L'oeuvre et sa médiation / Art and Its Mediation (3 crédits / 3 units)

Étude des différents modes de diffusion des oeuvres d'art et l'analyse de leur impact sur l'interprétation : la mise en exposition, la documentation, la diffusion dans les médias écrits, visuels et électroniques. / The mechanisms and processes for the distribution of works of art and their impact on viewer reception and interpretation: exhibitions, archives, documentation; the diffusion of art through print, visual and electronic media.

Volet / Course Component: Séminaire / Seminar

ART 6973 L'oeuvre mise en contexte théorique / The Work of Art in Context (3 crédits / 3 units)

Mise en contexte des productions artistiques des étudiants en regard des pratiques artistiques contemporaines; analyse de leurs enjeux théoriques. Chaque étudiant travaillera sur le texte qui devra accompagner sa présentation de thèse. / Examination of students' artistic productions within the context of contemporary artistic practice and theory. Each student will work on the support paper to accompany their thesis presentation.

Volet / Course Component: Séminaire / Seminar

ART 7999 Présentation de thèse / Thesis Presentation (12 crédits / 12 units)

Guidé par leur directeur de thèse, les étudiants préparent leur présentation de thèse et mettent au point la soutenance orale de la présentation. La présentation de thèse doit se tenir avant la fin de la dernière session d'inscription à ART 7999. Des renseignements détaillés sur la présentation de thèse sont disponibles sur le site web du programme. / Under the direction of their Thesis Supervisor, students will complete their Thesis Presentation, and finalize preparations for its oral defense. The Thesis Presentation must take place by the end of the final session of registration in ART 7999. Details on the thesis presentation are provided on the program website.

Volet / Course Component: Recherche / Research