Established in the early 1970s, the Master of Arts program in Art History focuses on the history and theory of visual and material culture in the North American context. The MA program was the first in Canada devoted to Canadian art, and it remains the centerpiece of our transcultural, interdisciplinary department.
Faculty research expertise includes:
Aboriginal (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) art, material and visual culture
Architecture and studies of the built environment
Craft and material culture
Painting, photography and sculpture
Art theory and historiography
Visual and material culture
Other media from the 17th to the 21st century
The Department of Art History emphasises the cross-fertilisation of theory and scholarly practice and, in keeping with this approach, many of the MA seminars critically address the discipline of art history by means of recent developments in such fields as feminism and gender studies, postcolonial theory, cultural studies, and socio-political analysis. Students are thus exposed to a selection of strategies for research and analysis, and are encouraged to formulate approaches to art history based upon a mature awareness of the various possibilities open to them.
For sample curriculum and course content, consult our MA seminars.
The MA in Art History is a two-year degree, with coursework to be completed during the first year and the thesis to be written in the second.
List of requirements
Students are required to take a minimum of 45 credits to complete the program: 21 credits of coursework and 24 credits for the thesis.
2. Courses - 15 credits
Coursework consists of five seminars chosen from the Department's yearly seminar offerings. Exceptionally, with the approval of the graduate program director, students can register for one seminar (3 credits) in another discipline or at another university. Ideally, students will complete all coursework in their first three terms. Seminars are highly participatory and students are expected to partake in class discussions.
3. Thesis Seminar (ARTH 655) - 3 credits
The thesis seminar is designed to introduce students to the intellectual and professional aspects of graduate school and academia, such as writing a thesis, conducting research, engaging with art historical theory and methodologies, giving a conference paper and applying for grants. Students attend this seminar during the first half of their first and second terms. Credit for this pass/fail seminar is accorded once the students have delivered their thesis presentations in the second year of the program (see below under "Thesis Presentation").
4. Annotated Review of Sources and Documents (ARTH 654) - 3 credits
In addition to the 5 regular seminars, students take this individualized study course with their thesis supervisor, normally in the summer term following their first year of study. The course must be completed before students begin writing their thesis. Supervisor and students meet to determine the list of scholarly texts and/or archival materials to be addressed in order to strengthen the students' foundational knowledge of their designated research field and prepare them for writing the thesis. The students are responsible for a series of annotations, together with an essay that synthesizes the annotated material (total word count approximately 6,000 words).
5. Thesis Proposal
The thesis proposal is written once the student has chosen a supervisor, and discussed the thesis topic with that professor. A thesis proposal should be 1 to 2 pages in length (double-spaced) and should also include a 1-page bibliography of primary and secondary sources and contacts, as appropriate. The proposal should consist of the following: a description of the topic, a statement of objectives, a description of methodology (including research strategies and intellectual framework), and the relation of the thesis to existing scholarship. Thesis proposals are submitted to the supervisor, and then to the department, for approval.
6. Thesis Presentation
Once the student has begun researching and writing his/her thesis, an oral presentation of work-in-progress to students and faculty members in the program is required. Each presentation lasts 20 minutes, followed by a 10-minute question period. This is the culmination of ARTH 655 (thesis seminar) and students will receive a Pass/Fail grade.
7. Thesis - 24 credits
The MA thesis is a scholarly research essay, consisting of 10,000-12,000 words, with additional pages devoted to notes, bibliography, appendices and figures. The MA thesis should identify and develop a specific topic or case-study, and be situated in relation to existing debates and discussions within the discipline of art history and, as appropriate, in broader networks of intellectual exchange. The thesis is prepared under the supervision of a full-time professor who will examine the thesis along with two other scholars. While formal thesis submission is now done electronically, Art History students are asked to also submit a PDF version to the Department of Art History. Review the Thesis Preparation and Submission Guidelines. To peruse past MA Art History theses, visit Theses and Dissertations.
The minimum residency requirement is three terms of full-time study, or the equivalent in part-time study.
9. Language Requirement
Reading knowledge of English and French is mandatory. Students are assessed on the basis of a French language examination, where they are given a French text on the basis of which they are asked to answer questions. The answers may be written in English and students are allowed to use a French/English dictionary. Students will receive a Pass/Fail grade. Students whose first language is French may apply to the Department Assistant to have the examination waived.
University regulations stipulate that all requirements must be completed within four years for full-time students and five years for part-time students. Learn about convocation requirementsthrough the Office of the Registrar.
Admission Requirements. A Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Art History or approved equivalent with at least a B+ average in the major area is required. Applicants with deficiencies in their undergraduate preparation may be required to take a qualifying program prior to formal entry into the program. Qualified applicants lacking prerequisite courses may be required to take up to 12 undergraduate credits in addition to and as part of the regular graduate program.
Statement of Purpose (500 words). The statement should discuss why the applicant has chosen to do graduate work in Art History at Concordia University. This is not a detailed research proposal but should indicate the applicant's particular research interests and professional goals.
Sample of Writing (8-10 pages), which usually takes the form of an art history undergraduate essay.
Priority will be given to those who apply within the official deadlines listed above. Some programs may continue to accept applications after these deadlines. For more information, please contact the department.
Each year the Department of Art History will offer a selection of courses from those listed below. A list of those courses, as well as information as to the specific content of seminar offerings, is available on the Department of Art History website
ARTH 610 Selected Issues in North American Art and Architectural History (3 credits)
An examination of selected issues in the production of or writing about the visual arts in North America.
ARTH 611 Industrialization and the Built Environment (3 credits)
An examination of selected aspects of the built environment when considered as more than a physical accumulation of structures.
ARTH 612 Contextualizing North American Sculpture: Topics in History, Theory and Practice (3 credits)
An examination of selected topics in the production of or writing about sculpture in North America.
ARTH 613 Special Topics in Amerindian and Inuit Art and Art History (3 credits)
Selected topics pertaining to the evolving arts practices of indigenous North American, considering such themes as collection and exhibition, commodity, continuity, and power relationships.
ARTH 614 Examining the Craft and Artisan Traditions in North America (3 credits)
Selected topics pertaining to the theory and practice of the so-called “craft” and “decorative” arts within a North American context.
ARTH 615 Issues in Postcolonial Theory in Art and Art History (3 credits)
Selected aspects of post-colonial and diasporic theory as they relate to North American art and art history.
ARTH 621 Collecting and Patronage in Canada (3 credits)
Investigations related to how and for whom Canadian art has been commissioned and collected.
ARTH 626 Nationhood and Identity in Canadian Art (3 credits)
ARTH 627 Feminism, Art, Art History (3 credits)
Aspects of feminism in relation to the production of art and writing about art in North America.
ARTH 633 Creative and Critical Literature in Art History (3 credits)
Aspects of the relationship between art and text, such as artists’ books, the impact of critical writing on art practice, etc.
ARTH 635 Topics in Canadian Painting (3 credits)
Selected topics pertaining to the practice of painting in Canada.
ARTH 636Seminar in Canadian Architecture (3 credits)
Selected topics pertaining to the practice of architecture in Canada.
ARTH 638Topics inCanadian Photography (3 credits)
Selected topics pertaining to the practice of photography in Canada.
ARTH 639 Issues in North American Architectural History (3 credits)
Selected issues pertaining to the production of or writing about architecture in North America.
ARTH 640 Issues in North American Photographic History (3 credits)
Selected issues pertaining to the production of or writing about photography in North America.
ARTH 641 Issues in Visual and Material Culture (3 credits)
Selected issues pertaining to the integration into art history of visual image/phenomena and material objects not traditionally considered to have fallen within definitions of the “fine arts”.
ARTH 642 Aspects of Media and New Media (3 credits)
Aspects of the historical development, thematic content and conceptual strategies of practices involving media and “new technologies.
ARTH 643 Topics in Art and Globalization (3 credits)
An examination of selected topics pertaining to the manner in which art has negotiated and continues to negotiate globalization.
ARTH 647 Independent Studies in North American Art History (3 credits)
ARTH 648 Aspects of Museum and Curatorial Studies: Theory (3 credits)
Aspects of the theoretical underpinnings of museum and curatorial practices.
ARTH 649 Aspects of Curatorial Practice (3 credits)
The development and application of curatorial knowledge, skills and practices as fostered through the organization of an exhibition and related events.