Ontario College of Art & Design

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Since its invention, photography has radically influenced the way people understand and experience the world. As a key medium within current art production, photography figures centrally in theoretical discussions and exhibition practices. Moreover, recent technological and global cultural developments are challenging and altering our relationships with the photographic image on many levels.

Approached as a fine-art medium within contemporary art, the OCAD University Photography program develops the student’s position relative to a wide range of art practices. The curriculum is designed to provide students with an understanding of what it means to be a photographic artist today, supported by the development of a high level of proficiency in film-based and digital processes. Through an intensive experience of photographic production and the examination of the history and theory of the medium, as well as broader issues of contemporary art, students will be prepared to participate in the ongoing development of photography as an artistic practice in an increasingly media-based culture.

At the 200 level, students are introduced to photographic concepts and processes, photographic history, as well as studio/seminars on contemporary issues. Processes investigated include: black & white, colour, non-silver, experimental and digital photography.

At the 300 level, students progress from development to production as they work through a guided research process resulting in a photographic body of work. Studio/seminars on current practices and thematically-focused studio electives provide an opportunity to explore a variety of approaches.

At the 400 level, students must choose between the Thesis and the Directed Studio options. Both Thesis and Directed Studio options lead to a BFA in Photography.

Thesis Option
Students work with a thesis panel to research, produce and present a coherent body of work that is of professional exhibition quality. The artistic development process offers the students an opportunity to work comprehensively on their ideas and photographic skills. Students are required to contextualize their artwork with reference to historical and contemporary issues. Students in the Thesis stream are required to complete:
1.0 credit of PHOT 4C01 PHOT Studio Thesis: Research
1.0 credit of PHOT 4C02 PHOT Studio Thesis Presentation
1.0 credit of 400-level Photography courses
1.0 credit of 200, 300, or 400 level Faculty of Art electives
1.0 credit of liberal studies courses

Directed Studio Option:
In the Directed Studio option, students pursue a major project and refine their technical skills and conceptual understanding of art in the context of thematic discussions and critiques. Topics related to professional practice are addressed. This option allows students greater breadth and flexibility in their final year of studies. In the Directed Studio stream, fourth-year majors are required to complete: 
0.5 credit of PHOT 4B06 Directed Photography Studio/Seminar
0.5 credit of PHOT 4B13 Directed Photography Studio
2.0 credits of 400 level Photography courses
1.0 credit of 200, 300, or 400 level Faculty of Art electives
1.0 credit of liberal studies courses

Photography Program Guide

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree students must complete the requirements listed below, including 5.0 liberal studies credits. 

Associate of OCAD University (AOCAD) diploma students must complete the requirements listed below, substituting 1.0 credit Faculty of Art electives for 1.0 credit of the upper year liberal studies requirements.  Diploma students admitted to OCAD U 2002 fall/winter or earlier may replace up to 1.5 of the required liberal studies credits with Faculty of Art studio/seminar courses. Liberal studies courses are listed under the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and designated course type LST in the course schedule.

See the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences for an outline of the degree and diploma liberal studies requirements.

200 Level Requirements
PHOT 2B03   Introductory Photography: Black & White  0.5
PHOT 2B05   Introductory Photography: Colour  0.5
PHOT 2B07   Introductory Photography: Digital  0.5
PHOT 2B12  Contemporary Issues: Art Today  0.5
PHOT 2B13  Concept and Process  0.5
VISA 2B13  History of Photography  0.5
 200 Level  Faculty of Art electives*   1.0

Liberal studies courses**  1.0
Total Credits  5.0
300 Level Requirements
PHOT 3B13 Intermediate Photography I: Development 0.5
PHOT 3B14 Intermediate Photography II: Production 0.5
PHOT 3B17*** Current Practice 0.5
300 Level PHOT courses 1.0
200 or 300 Level Faculty of Art electives* 1.5
VISA 3B43 Into the 21st Century: Photographic Practices, Theory and Criticism 0.5

Liberal studies courses** 0.5
Total Credits 5.0
400 Level Requirements Towards a Thesis Major
PHOT 4C01 PHOT Studio Thesis: Research 1.0
PHOT 4C02 PHOT Studio Thesis: Presentation 1.0
400 Level PHOT courses 1.0
200, 300 or
400 Level
Faculty of Art electives*


Liberal studies courses** 1.0
Total Credits
400 Level Required Toward a Directed Studio Major
PHOT 4B06 Directed Photography Studio/Seminar 0.5
PHOT 4B13 Directed Photography Studio 0.5
400 Level PHOT courses 2.0
200, 300 or 400 Level Faculty of Art electives*

Liberal studies courses** 1.0
Total Credits
Photography Majors should consider taking courses outside Photography appropriate to their developing practices, particularly in Integrated Media, Fabrication Studios and Sculpture/Installation. Some recommended Faculty of Art courses are:
INTM 2B02    Film Introduction
INTM 2B29    Video for Artists I
INTM 3B10    Lighting for Film & Video
INTM 4B21    Documentation Practices
INTR 2B01    Making Gender: LGBTQ Studio
PRNT 2B15   Digital Photo-Based Printmaking
PRNT 2B20   Book Arts: Bookbinding

PHOT 2C02 Contemporary Photography Studio is equivalent to the combination of PHOT 2B03, PHOT 2B05 and PHOT 2B07. Students who successfully completed PHOT 2C02 in 2008-2009 will have these requirements.

* An elective may be any course offered by the Faculty of Art, Interdisciplinary courses (INTR, DIGF and BUSI) offered by the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences, as well as Material Art & Design courses (MAAD). MAAD courses may replace up to a maximum of 1.5 credits of electives.

** Liberal studies courses are listed under the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and designated course type LST in the course schedule.

***Students who completed PHOT 2B17, Introductory Photography: Current Practices, prior to September 2005 may not take PHOT 3B17, Current Practice, but must take a 0.5 credit elective instead.

Eligibility to Graduate

Please note that students are eligible to graduate if they:
• Have fulfilled all program requirements.
• Are in good academic standing. (Students who attempt 2.0 credits or more in an academic year and earn an average of 60% or higher in those credits are in satisfactory academic standing.)
• Have an overall average of 60% or higher.
• Have an average of at least 65% in designated courses of their major/program. (Faculty of Design only.)
• Have no outstanding accounts at the University.

All Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences courses are available to Faculty of Art students and a wide range of study is encouraged. Photography students who are seeking liberal studies courses to deepen their disciplinary knowledge may be interested in the following (not all courses are offered every year):

VISA 2B07  History of Modern Art
HUMN 2B01  Aesthetics (not offered 2011/2012)
HUMN 2B16  20th Century Ideas
HUMN 3B01  Reading Popular Culture

Students declaring a Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences or Interdisciplinary Studies minor are strongly urged to complete the full complement of studio courses for their major, including all studio electives.

Last Modified:1/24/2012 12:57:31 PM