Our History and Community


The program aims to prepare all MA students for their career choice by refining their critical and scholarly skills. This objective is achieved through a course of study that includes coursework in the form of graduate seminars in art history and theory, museum and gallery curatorial practice, and allied fields, with the possibility of including a placement in a number of art/architectural/archival institutions (local, provincial, and national and sometimes international). The program has established close ties with many area institutions in order to forge this fieldwork aspect of the program, especially for students who wish to concentrate on curatorial studies or art criticism and publishing. In addition to undertaking their own research, students also develop their hands-on skills in research through graduate assistantships. Positions vary from assisting individual faculty members with research projects including publications and curatorial endeavors, or working with the University art collection. Some teaching assistantships are also available for MA students in their second year. Students work closely with a faculty supervisor throughout the program to develop their specific line of research and inquiry in the field. Every student is required to complete a non-credit final Major Research Paper.

For over twenty years, the MA in Art History Program at York has been proud to see its graduates entering professional and academic careers across Canada and elsewhere. The following list reflects some of the many positions held by our graduates:

  • Head of Membership, The Power Plant
  • Director of Creative Service, Canadian House & Homes, Gardening Life magazines
  • Programs Officer, Canadian Association of Art Galleries
  • Instructor, University of London
  • Curator, Casa Loma and Instructor of Canadian Art and Domestic Architectural History,
  • Seneca
  • Administrative Director, Mercer Union
  • Film Department, University of Otaga
  • Coordinator, Creative Department, McMichael Canadian Art Collection
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts, University of Regina
  • Registrar/Librarian, Art Gallery of Windsor
  • Director, CMCP
  • Visitor and Volunteer Services Coordinator, Joslyn Art Museum
  • Director, Beau-XI
  • Co-publication coordinator, CMC
  • Instructor, Keyano College, Northern Alberta
  • Senior Curator of Art, Glenbow Art Museum
  • Assistant Curator, AGYU


York’s PhD in Art History and Visual Culture, inaugurated in 2008, offers a dynamic and flexible course of study. The program prepares its graduates for career choices in academia or the cultural sector by refining critical, scholarly and teaching skills and facilitating and guiding each student to develop and carry out cutting edge research in the field. These objectives are achieved through a combination of formal coursework, comprehensive exams, independent research (to be disseminated through a range of publication and exhibition activities), graduate assistantships, and teaching opportunities.

The doctoral program in Art History and Visual Culture at York offers an exceptional opportunity for research, teaching and professional development within a department that is unique in terms of its resources, location, faculty and areas of interest. The fields of specialization include:

  • Canadian and Aboriginal Art
  • Curatorial and Museological Studies
  • Architectural Studies
  • Modern and Contemporary Art

In the doctoral program, each of these fields is broadly conceived and students may incorporate research on non-Western topics, minority cultural practices, and interdisciplinary issues and approaches. These four fields of study represent the significant areas of teaching and research strength within York’s Art History faculty, and provide a frame within which students can pursue diverse theoretical and practical engagements within the study of art and visual culture. With an intake of 2 to 4 students per year, the Art History and Visual Culture doctoral program is relatively small and allows graduate students to work closely with individual members of the faculty.

Our graduates are entering an art world that is increasingly multi arts focused in terms of exhibition venues, festivals and arts organizations. In order to make better use of the incredible expertise in affiliated fields in the School of Art, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD), we are moving towards more joint programming with the graduate programs in Cinema and Media Studies, Theatre and Performance Studies, and Design. This would help us to further differentiate our program offerings, to better use the resources of AMPD, and to better prepare graduates for curatorial/programming jobs.