School for Studies in Art and Culture: Art History
St. Patrick's Building 423
Web site: carleton.ca/artandculture/arthistory
The M.A. in Art History: Art and its Institutions
encompasses Canadian/Aboriginal art history and the broader
theoretical and historical concerns of an international stage.
The program explores institutions of art conceived of in an
expanded double meaning: as the material sites of the
institutions of cultural visual memory and production -
particularly those in the National Capital Region - and as the
broader cultural and historical forces which mediate art
practice and its conditions of production, reception, and
The M.A. program has a two-fold emphasis: explorations of
critical and historical concerns, and practical experience.
Students examine recent theoretical shifts in art history in
the context of various institutions of art and are offered
direct experience with collecting, exhibiting, and researching
institutions in the National Capital Region. The program's dual
approach trains scholars and art institution professionals to
attain a critical awareness of contemporary theoretical
debates, enabling them to construct new visions within the
institutions they study or work.
The M.A. in Art History: Art and its Institutions has a
strong practicum program in a number of the collecting,
exhibiting and research institutions in and around Ottawa, and
adjunct faculty from those institutions provide professional
links. Owing to a wealth of repositories of objects of national
origin and significance here in Ottawa, the Canadian and
Aboriginal component of the program is a strength. The use of
national institutions such as the National Gallery of Canada
and the Canadian Museum of Civilization defines our broader
mandate, inclusive not only of western historical ar t, but of
non-western, folk, craft and popular culture. Graduates of the
M. A. in Art History: Art and its Institutions will be prepared
for careers in the museum, research, and heritage sectors, and
for further study in Art History and related disciplines such
as Cultural Mediations and Canadian Studies.
Applicants who do not qualify for direct admission to the
master's program may be admitted to a qualifying-year program.
Applicants who lack an Honours degree, but have a 3-year degree
with an honours standing (at least B overall) will normally be
admitted to a qualifying-year program. Refer to the General
Regulations section of this Calendar.
Master of Arts
The minimum requirement for admission to the master's
program is an Honours bachelor's degree (or the equivalent) in
art history or a related discipline, with at least high honours
standing. Related disciplines may include anthropology,
history, and Canadian studies. Applicants without a background
in art history may be required to take up to a maximum of 2. 0
credits in certain designated courses from the undergraduate
art history program in addition to their regular program.
The specific program requirements for students in the M. A.
program are as follows:
- ARTH 5010 (1. 0 credit)
- 2. 0 credits in Art History, of which 0. 5 credit must
be selected from ARTH 5112, 5113, 5114, 5115, 5117, 5119,
5210, 5218, 5402, 5403, 5500, 5600. It is recommended that
1. 0 credit be used for a practicum. The remaining 0. 5
credit may be taken in Art History or, in special cases
where the student's program of study justifies it,
alternative courses may be selected with the approval of
the Graduate Supervisor. Out of the 2. 0 credits taken, at
least 0. 5 credit must be in an area outside the student's
- ARTH 5909 (2. 0 credits)
Subject to the approval of the graduate super visor, 0. 5
credit may be taken outside the Art History program. A maximum
of 1. 0 credit may be selected from course offerings at the
4000-level in Art History.
The student's program will be developed in consultation with
the graduate supervisor and the graduate faculty of Art
History, and must be approved by the graduate supervisor to
assure that the program of study includes a variety of media,
historical periods, and/or national or ethnic traditions
outside the subject of the thesis, as determined by the
supervisor. The prescribed program will take into account the
student's background and special interests, and the research
strengths of the Art History graduate faculty.
Full-time students normally will submit their thesis topic
to the thesis proposal board no later than April 15 of the
first year of registration for students enrolled full-time, and
no later than the middle of the fifth term of registration for
students enrolled part-time.
Regulations governing requirements for the master's thesis,
including deadlines for submission, are outlined in the General
Regulations section of this Calendar.
Students are required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of
French (or another language to be approved by the Art History
A standing of B- or better must be obtained in each credit
counted towards the master's degree.
Not all of the following courses are offered in a given
year. For an up-to-date statement of course offerings and to
determine the term of offering, consult the class schedule at
- ARTH 5010 [1. 0 credit]
- Art and Its Institutions
- The institutions of art and art history, the archive,
the social institutions of art and their mediations.
Gender, Aboriginal culture, commodification, reception,
technology, memory and subversive tactics are addressed.
Canadian contexts are emphasized.
- Precludes additional credit for ARTH 5000.
- ARTH 5011 [0. 5 credit]
- Graduate Practicum
- Practical on-site work in the collecting institutions
of the national Capital Region (as available), including a
written assignment. The practicum coordinator and the
on-site supervisor jointly determine the final mark. A
maximum of 1. 0 practicum credit may be applied towards
Precludes additional credit for ARTH 5001.
- ARTH 5012 [0. 5 credit]
- Directed Readings and Research
- Students pursue topics in art and its institutions,
which they select in consultation with the graduate faculty
of the program.
- Precludes additional credit for ARTH 5002.
- ARTH 5112 [0. 5 credit]
- Topics in Historiography, Methodology and
- Historiographical, methodological, and critical issues
in the history of art and criticism in Canadian and/or
Precludes additional credit for ARTH 5102.
- ARTH 5113 [0. 5 credit]
- Perspectives on Pre-Modernity
- Issues in premodern art and institutions of art
production, and critical theory in light of current
concerns and new research.
- ARTH 5114 [0. 5 credit]
- Feminism and Gender
- Art and its institutions in terms of critical issues of
feminism and gender studies. Topics include the questioning
of the canon, sexuality, the gaze, queer theory, the body,
and the use of art as a means to communicate issues of
Precludes additional credit for ARTH 5104 and ARTH
- ARTH 5115 [0. 5 credit]
- Topics in Modern and Contemporary Art
- The production and reception of modern and contemporary
art in light of current concerns in Canadian and/or
- Precludes additional credit for ARTH 5105.
- ARTH 5117 [0. 5 credit]
- Art and the interrelationships among the artist,
architect, patron, critic and public in the context of the
contribution of art and its institutions to the
articulation or constitution of communal identities in
Canadian and/or international contexts.
- Precludes additional credit for ARTH 5107.
- ARTH 5119 [0. 5 credit]
- Aspects of Contemporary Art Practice
- Contemporary art practice, including the artist
collective, traditional and new media (painting, sculpture,
installation, video, digital art), the relationship of
artist and society, critical and public reception of
contemporary art, and interaction between institutional
collecting and artist-run centres in Canadian and/or
- Precludes additional credit for ARTH 5109.
- ARTH 5210 [0. 5 credit]
- Topics in Aboriginal Art
- The creative production, aesthetic culture, and
reception of selected aboriginal peoples in pre-contact,
historic, and/or modern time, drawing on postcolonial and
- Precludes additional credit for ARTH 5200, ARTH 5204,
and ARTH 5303.
- ARTH 5218 [0. 5 credit]
- Museum Studies and Curatorial Practice
- Aspects of museum practice, history and theoretical
discourse will be examined in a classroom setting, or the
preparation, realization, and/or study of an exhibition in
an Ottawa-area museum.
Precludes additional credit for ARTH 5207 and ARTH
- ARTH 5402 [0. 5 credit]
- The Archive in Art and Architecture
- Diverse aspects of the Archive that may include
theoretical perspectives, research applications, and access
to specialized collections in the local area.
- ARTH 5403 [0. 5 credit]
- Architecture and Its Institutions
- Specialized topics examine theory and practice of
architects, architectural historians and critics from
historical and contemporary perspectives in Canadian and/or
- ARTH 5500 [0. 5 credit]
- Photography and Its Institutions
- Photographic practice and reception with emphasis on
social, political and cultural contexts and theoretical
approaches to the study of photographs in Canadian and/or
- ARTH 5600 [0. 5 credit]
- Outside the Canon
- Specialized topics investigating creative productions
usually considered outside the canon. The role of
community-based artistic traditions, canon construction and
its Others, the discourse surrounding folk art, the
influence of the market, social context, and style may be
considered in Canadian and/or international contexts.
- ARTH 5909
- M. A. Thesis