Master of Contemporary Art Theory (MA)

Short duration MA

Grasp the interconnection of media, visual art, and current affairs

This one-year master’s program connects contemporary visual arts to urgent issues, such as decolonization, environmental crises, gender and representation, as well as capitalist disparity viewed through critical theory, feminism, materialism, and formalism. The program emphasizes the role of art institutions in the dissemination of art and culture, and provides links to the contemporary art world. Graduates of the program move on to work as curators, researchers, community liaison officers, archivists, writers, or design specialists.

Learn to speak the industry’s language: internship and classes with MFA students

The Department will assist you in setting up a 12-week, part-time internship with a renowned art institution in the nation’s capital, such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Ottawa Art Gallery, or the City of Ottawa Public Art Program, during which you will acquire behind-the-scenes experience in the heritage and culture industry. Through shared classes with MFA students, you will gain experience working with practicing artists and exploring their perspectives.

Immerse yourself in an environment that hosts major cultural institutions

The Ottawa-Gatineau region boasts seven major national museums, several smaller museums, and dozens of galleries. The relationships between the Department and these art institutions will foster your interactions with curators and collections, and help you build your network.

Spotlight on professors: excellence in research and practice



Andrea Fitzpatrick 

Andrea Fitzpatrick’s research on Middle Eastern art, methodologies, global perspectives, visual studies, and human rights, is very topical. Her expertise in theories of gender and her affiliation with the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa demonstrate the interdisciplinarity of the University’s transformative vision (Imagine 2030 Plan). She also curated an important exhibition at artist-run centres in Ottawa and Toronto that brought together prestigious Iranian artists.

Celina Jeffery


Celina Jeffery

Celina Jeffery’s SSHRC funded interdisciplinary work on art and environmental humanities has an international reach (India, UK, USA, Australia, Mexico and Mauritius) and her approach of the subject through curatorial research and exhibition making is in tune with the global trend towards an expansive development of museum exhibitions as experience. She is also the co-founder and lead editor of an online journal of art criticism and theory and frequently uses environmental issues as a platform for her curatorial projects.



Jakub Zdebik

Jakub Zdebik’s philosophical research into the concept of the diagram provides a basis for the current development of digital humanities in academia. From the perspective of the aesthetic of the diagram, he explores digital, network, and internet art. His current research into the relation between art and information has yielded a curated exhibition in the United States, a colloquium of national breadth, as well as an edited journal issue.  He publishes on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Gilbert Simondon, and Jean-François Lyotard.


  • Coursework (12 months)
  • Coursework + research paper (12 months) 


  • Full-time enrolment
  • In-person courses
  • September start 
  • Courses are bilingual (balanced between English and French)

Apply for admission

Questions about admissions?  Send an email to Jakub Zdebik, chair of the Visual Arts Department  

Apply now

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