UBC Art History, Visual Art & Theory Graduate Programs
University of British Columbia (UBC)

The Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory (AHVAT) aims to foster critical and reflexive thinking within an inclusive and supportive environment. The Department maintains the highest standards of intellectual and administrative practice, seeking to be innovative in pedagogy and international in scholarly perspective. AHVAT faculty are actively involved in research and bring this strength into their teaching at all levels. Undergraduate and graduate seminars enhance student experience in advanced academic and technical research.  Many of our graduates have established distinguished careers in the creative, scholarly and gallery 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.


Graduate Programs
MA Art History
PhD Art History
MA Critical & Curatorial Studies
MFA in Visual Art


The Masters 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 areas of European and North American art, Asian art, 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.


The Doctorate of Philosophy program in Art History fosters art historical research and scholarship at the highest level and promises exacting study and deepening experience of the field. Combining high scholastic achievement, original research, and a firm theoretical grounding, the program involves coursework, two foreign languages, two comprehensive examinations in minor and major fields, thesis proposal, roundtable presentation, thesis and oral defense. New four-year funding packages are available for Canadian and international students.


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 a M.A. 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 the practice of making an exhibition(s). In addition to course work, 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 of the program’s graduates have gone on to work in the field.


The Masters of Fine Arts Program in Visual Art is a highly competitive graduate program and one that has an enviable international reputation.  MFA students participate in an intensive weekly studio seminar that is also a forum for critical discussions about leading issues in contemporary art and cultural theory. Students take additional academic coursework to enrich their particular focus and may work in any area of contemporary art production and related interdisciplinary form. The MFA in Studio Art degree is awarded after 26 months and the successful completion of all course work, critiques, roundtables, major paper and final exhibition.
The program is dedicated to helping students understand both the making and theorizing of art against the background and with direct access to the diverse intellectual and extensive technical resources of the university. This opportunity for intensive conceptual and technical development as well as for research in advanced contemporary art related to the student’s art practice is an essential preparation for a professional career as an artist in a very competitive and demanding world.


November 17, 2011