Graduate programs in the Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory

Graduate programs in the Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Interdepartmental Printmaking/thinking: Woodblock Work Group, Visual Resources Centre, 2023. Photo: Yasmin Amaratunga.

November 7, 2023
Graduate programs in the Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory

Application deadline: January 9, 2024
University of British Columbia (UBC)
Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory
400 - 6333 Memorial Road
Vancouver British Columbia V6T 1Z2
Hours: Monday–Friday 8:30am–4pm

T +1 604 822 2757
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Graduate programs for autumn 2024. Application deadline: January 9, 2024. Contact: ahva.grad [​at​]

The Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory (AHVA) fosters critical discourse and artistic practice within an inclusive and supportive environment. The department maintains the highest standards of intellectual practice, seeking to be innovative in pedagogy, and to be international in scholarly perspective. AHVA faculty members are actively involved in research and bring this strength into their teaching at all levels. Many of our graduates have established distinguished careers in the artistic, scholarly, and curatorial fields. The department regards interaction with the social sphere as an essential component of academic study and engages with professional and community groups associated with their practices. Recent visitors and residencies include: Eric Alliez, Michele Bacci, Amanda Beech, Dave Beech, Paul Chaat Smith, Autumn Star Chacon, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Delinda Collier, Abigail Deville, Beau Dick, Stan Douglas, Claire Fontaine, Peter Galison & Caroline Jones, Isabel Graw, Rachel Haidu, Maria Hupfield, Heather Igloliorte, Stanya Kahn, Joseph Koerner, Germaine Koh, Miwon Kwon, Tony Labat, Catharine Malabou, Dylan Miner, Reza Negarestani, Marianne Nicolson, Tameka Norris, Taqralik Partridge, Diamond Point, Josephine Pryde, R.H. Quaytman, Avinoam Shalem, Yoshiko Shimada, Kaja Silverman, Trevor Stark, Cheyney Thompson, Hajra Waheed, and Haegue Yang. 

Sources of funding available to AHVA graduate students include Graduate Student Initiative (GSI) awards, Indigenous Graduate Fellowships, international student tuition credits, teaching assistantships, bursaries, and program-specific fellowships.  

We acknowledge that the UBC Vancouver campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam). 

Graduate programs: MA in Art History / PhD in Art History / MA in Critical and Curatorial Studies / MFA in Visual Art.

The Master of Arts in Art History is a two-year thesis program designed to instruct students in methods of research and presentation of scholarly materials. The program offers advanced study in the arts of Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and the Indigenous arts of the Americas. Enriched by access to the full complement of university offerings, students are encouraged to situate art in its broadest context and analyze its impact on the world around us. The program provides excellent preparation for a wide range of art-related careers, in addition to further study at the PhD level. Students receive GSI funding for years one and two of their program and have a track record of success in SSHRC competitions.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Art History fosters art historical research and scholarship at the highest level and promises exacting study and deepening experience of the field. Combining outstanding scholarly achievement, original research, and a firm theoretical grounding, the program involves coursework, two foreign languages, a comprehensive examination, dissertation proposal, roundtable presentation, and dissertation and oral defense. Four-year funding packages are available for Canadian and international students, with further funding options for advanced PhD students. The department also has a high success rate in training graduate students for external fellowship competitions.  

The Master of Arts in Critical and Curatorial Studies is the oldest graduate curatorial studies program in Canada and the only one that results in an MA in Art History in the milieu of a graduate art history and studio department. The program combines studies in the methodology and history of exhibitions, art history, and contemporary art with training in the practice of curating exhibitions. In addition to coursework, students have access to the visitors in the Curatorial Lecture Series and Distinguished Visiting Artist program and are encouraged to work individually and collectively on exhibitions throughout the two-year program. Many program graduates have gone on to work in the Vancouver and international art communities. Students are eligible for two years of funding from the Audain Endowment for Critical and Curatorial Studies Graduate Fellowship, and have a track record of success in SSHRC competitions.  

The Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art is a highly competitive graduate program with an international profile. MFA students participate in intensive weekly studio seminars that are also a forum for critical discussions concerning leading issues in contemporary art and cultural theory, and their own studio and writing practice. Students take additional academic coursework to enrich their particular focus and may work in any area or media of contemporary art. The MFA in Visual Art degree is awarded after 24 months and the successful completion of all coursework, a major paper focused on the candidate’s research, and participation in a group thesis exhibition at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. UBC’s MFA students are eligible for significant financial support from the B.C. Binning Memorial Fund, and have a track record of success in SSHRC and Affiliated competitions. 

*Image above: The interdepartmental Printmaking/thinking: Woodblock Work Group in session in the Visual Resources Centre, Department of Art History, Visual Art, and Theory, October 13, 2023.

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November 7, 2023

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