MA in Critical and Curatorial Studies


Critical and Curatorial Studies (CCST) is an emerging field of scholarship and training that looks directly at the roles and responsibilities of curators and critics as mediators between objects, institutions, experiences, individuals and groups. While this involves investigating and negotiating a number of disciplinary fields, from ethnography to aesthetics, organizational behaviour to cultural studies, the main focus is on contemporary conditions of display and understanding. The program’s alumni are:

  • Able to engage productively with critical discussions of art and visual culture
  • Capable of developing and working with new modes of exhibition
  • Able to work creatively in both traditional and innovative situations
  • Familiar with issues and institutions affecting contemporary art

This program aims to address the growing need for curators and critics who have theoretical knowledge and practical experience in analyzing institutions, preparing displays and communicating about contemporary art.

Program Structure

CCST students take three required graduate seminars that engage with historical frameworks and contemporary contextual issues within curatorial practice, and case studies in exhibitions and institutions. These popular seminars are open to other graduate students as well and foster interesting dialogues on issues surrounding curation. Students supplement their knowledge with Art History courses and are given the opportunity to take additional credits outside the department. They are also challenged to achieve reading knowledge of a language other than English (appropriate to the student’s interests).

During the graduate practicum students gain professional experience through the research, planning, and realization of a significant project and are expected to rationalize their exhibition in written work and presentations at various stages during its production. Students are exposed to the practical and theoretical concerns of exhibition creation and are rewarded in their endeavour with local, if not national and international exposure.

The final requirement for the MA in Critical and Curatorial Studies program is the Major Paper. This extended essay provides students with the opportunity for original and in-depth research on a topic related to the themes or cases examined in the course of study.