Master's programs - additional information

Steps for Admission Application to the M.F.A. in Visual Arts

1) Submit an admission application via the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) by January 15th  https://www.ouac.on.ca/apply/ottawagrad/en_CA/user/login

2) Submit supporting documents for your admission application with the help of the UO Doc application in your UO Zone portal. You will obtain UO Zone portal access once the University receives your admission application. Please consult the following website for the complete list of documents to submit and the specific requirements for admission: http://www.uottawa.ca/graduate-studies/programs-admission/apply/specific-requirements

3) Enter the names of your two referees in your UO Zone portal (admission section). This will send an electronic request to these referees to fill out a recommendation form for your admission application.

4) Submit your digital portfolio by using the Slide Room application. You must create a user profile by visiting https://ottawauvisualarts.slideroom.com/

In this portal along with your 20 images, you will be asked to submit a digital copy of your:

  • letter of intent
  • artistic statement
  • curriculum vitae

Important: The letter of intent, artistic statement, and CV should be submitted for your admission application (via UO Doc) AND must also be submitted electronically via SlideRoom.

Admission selection process

Based upon documentation submitted to this point, applicants will be short-listed by a Graduate Selection Committee composed of all regular Professors of the Department. Application to the graduate program is a highly competitive process.  Applications are chosen based not only on quality of artistic productions to date, but also on academic potential.  Applicants on the short list may be interviewed (in person or by telephone conference call). This interview should demonstrate the candidate's proficiency in one of the two official languages. Following the interview, up to six candidates will be recommended for admission, and three or four may be placed on a waiting list. The decisions of the selection committee are final.

Degree requirements

The program requires six semesters (two years) to complete; the student's time in the program culminates in the preparation of a professional-level Thesis Presentation, which is held in an art venue in the National Capital region.

A total of 42 course credits are required:

  • Studio Production Courses (18 credits)
  • Theory Courses (12 credits)
  • Preparation for Thesis Presentation (12 credits)

The minimum passing grade in all courses is C+. A student who receives two failing grades (equivalent to six credits), or who fails the same course twice, is required to withdraw.

The program is governed by the General Regulations of the Office of the Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Curriculum

Studio production courses

Studio Production courses, in which students will pursue the development of their own artistic practice, forms the core of the MFA program.

All students in the program enroll in one Studio Production course per semester, for a total of 30 Studio credits (taking into account the preparation for Thesis Presentation) over six semesters. Each Studio Production course is taught by a different professor, giving students access to the varied background and experience of our faculty members. A jury of all regular professors and invited jury members critique students' Studio Production course work at the end of each semester and participate in assigning student marks for the course.

First- and second-year MFA students working in various media are enrolled together in Studio Production courses, providing for dynamic and challenging student interaction. Within this context, students will work in their chosen medium, or across mediums, to develop and deepen their individual artistic practice.

The students' work in the sixth semester of the program consists of 12 credits of Studio practice, dedicated to preparing their Thesis Presentation, which is described below.

Theory courses

The theory courses of the program provide the basis for the contextualization of the student's personal studio work within contemporary art practice and discourse.

Students enroll in two theory courses per academic year, for a total of 12 credits. These courses include a mandatory three-credit Professional Internship Theory course.

Theory courses require research and written papers; the Internship course requires a written report of students' professional experience.

The thesis presentation

In order to graduate, students must fulfill all course requirements and prepare and present a professional-level thesis artistic project and written Support Paper.

In the sixth semester of the program, the student works toward the Thesis Presentation under the guidance of his or her Thesis Presentation Supervisor. Except under exceptional circumstances, thesis presentations must take place by the end of the semester during which the student is registered in this course. The student chooses a Thesis Presentation Supervisor in consultation with the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee at the end of the student's second semester.

The Support Paper of approximately 3000 words will situate the student's artistic production within the context of historical and contemporary art practice and theory. Research for, and a preliminary draft of this paper will be undertaken in the fifth-semester theory course The Work of Art in Context. The Support Paper also functions as preparation for the oral defense given to the Thesis Presentation Jury.

The Thesis Presentation may take the form, for example, of an exhibition of paintings, photographs, or other works; a video production and public screening; the creation and diffusion of a web-based art work; or the production and presentation of a sound piece or multi-media installation. The public presentation of this art project is followed by an oral defense before the Thesis Presentation Jury; the oral defense outlines the particulars and history of the student's research and demonstrate an awareness of current artistic activity within their discipline or sphere of activity.

Courses

S = Studio Courses, T = Theory Courses

ART 5961   INTEGRATED STUDIO I (3 cr.) S
Studio practice under the guidance of a professor. Participation in regular critiques, group discussions based on readings and presentations by visiting lecturers and visits to exhibitions, in order to develop a wide-ranging understanding of contemporary artistic practice and of issues arising within individual student work.

ART 5971   ART AND CULTURAL THEORY (3 cr.) T
Study of the principal modes of contemporary thought including structuralism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, post colonialism, feminism etc., and examination of their impact on artistic production and theory.

ART 5962   INTEGRATED STUDIO II (3 cr.) S
Studio practice under the guidance of a professor. Participation in critiques, group discussions based on readings and presentations by visiting lecturers and visits to exhibitions, in order to develop a wide-ranging understanding of contemporary artistic practice and of issues arising within individual work.

ART 5900  PROFESSIONAL INTERNSHIP (3 cr.) T
Internship at a museum, gallery, research council, archives site or other approved location. Evaluated by a professor based on the student's final written report, situating their professional internship experience within a theoretical framework. Graded S/NS. Duration: 150 hours. Prerequisite: A strong theoretical foundation in contemporary art and exhibition practice and written approval from the program.

ART 5063   INDEPENDENT STUDIO (6 cr.) S
Self-directed studio practice under the guidance of a professor. Students must have their project proposal approved at the beginning of the session and, at the end of the session, they must present their completed project to a jury of regular professors.

ART 6964   ADVANCED STUDIO I (3 cr.) S
Studio practice with individual presentations and critiques, independent readings and research. Development of student artistic practice as well as of knowledge of the contemporary context within which the student's own artistic work is situated.

ART 6972   ART AND ITS MEDIATION (3 cr.) T
The mechanisms and processes for the distribution of works of art and their impact on viewer reception and interpretation: exhibitions, archives, documentation; the diffusion of art through print, visual and electronic media.

ART 6965   ADVANCED STUDIO II (3 cr.) S
Studio practice with individual presentations and critiques, independent readings and research.  Development of student artistic practice as well as of knowledge of the contemporary context within which the student's own artistic work is situated.

ART 6973 THE WORK OF ART IN CONTEXT (3 cr.) T
Examination of students' artistic production within the context of contemporary artistic practice and theory. Each student will work on the Support Paper to accompany their Thesis Presentation.

ART 7999   THESIS PRESENTATION (12 cr.) S
Under the direction of their Thesis Supervisor, students will complete their Thesis Presentation, and finalize preparations for its oral defense. The Thesis Presentation must take place by the end of the final session of registration in ART 7999. Details on the thesis presentation are provided on the program website.

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