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Capital University

Graduate Calendar Archives: 2007 / 2008

School for Studies in Art and Culture: Art History


St. Patrick's Building 423
Telephone: 613-520-2342
Fax: 613-520-3575
Web site:

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 study.

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.

Qualifying-Year Program

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

Admission Requirements

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.

Program Requirements

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 thesis specialization.
  • 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.


Thesis Proposal

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.

Language Requirements

Students are required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of French (or another language to be approved by the Art History graduate supervisor).

Academic Standing

A standing of B- or better must be obtained in each credit counted towards the master's degree.

Graduate Courses

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 degree requirements.
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 Criticism
Historiographical, methodological, and critical issues in the history of art and criticism in Canadian and/or international contexts.
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 public significance.
Precludes additional credit for ARTH 5104 and ARTH 5106.
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 international contexts.
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 international contexts.
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 critical theory.
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 5208.
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 international contexts.
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 international contexts.
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
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