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Program Information

“I have wanted for so long to own and maintain even a few huge, interlocking thoughts that, having exhausted more legitimate methods, I have recently resorted to theoretical speculation.”
— Nicholson Baker, The Size of Thoughts, 1983

Criticism & Curatorial Practice offers a cross-disciplinary program intended for students interested in pursuing a career that includes the fields of curating, writing, exhibition production and art practice. Linking Art and Liberal Arts & Sciences, Criticism & Curatorial Practice provides an environment that extends into a wide range of disciplines, from philosophy and art history to current practices and theories of contemporary art and design.

The curriculum draws on the richly varied resources available across OCAD University, and through required courses helps students develop methods to define their own practice. To assist in this, the core faculty includes curators, writers, academics and artists respected in their fields for their teaching and supervisory skills.

Students have an ongoing opportunity to apply their skills through field-study arrangements with Toronto galleries, museums, alternative spaces and publications. Graduates are uniquely positioned to develop and define their own roles in the art and design world, both in Canada and internationally. A contemporary arts environment in which critically informed collaborations occur between artists, curators, writers and designers has become a hallmark of engaged practice. It is an environment that offers students of the program an exciting and fulfilling future at the centre of today’s visual culture.

Thesis and Directed Studies Option

At the 400 level, students must choose between the Thesis and the Directed Studies option.

Thesis Option

The Thesis Research and Presentation option offers Criticism & Curatorial Practice majors the opportunity to undertake an in-depth curatorial or criticism project. It is expected that students undertaking a curatorial project will produce a catalogue (either print or web-based) in conjunction with their exhibition. Students who elect to focus on criticism are expected to produce a major piece of writing on an aspect of contemporary art and/or theory. The expected length of the written document for students focusing on criticism is in the range of 25 to 40 pages. Students considering the Thesis option are advised to begin formulating their project in the summer preceding their Thesis year.

Direct Studies Option

Criticism & Curatorial Practice majors can elect to take Directed Studies in their fourth year instead of Thesis Research and Presentation. Directed Studies provides a concentrated area of study of modern and contemporary art and is recommended for students whose primary focus is critical writing and/or who wish to pursue graduate studies in Art History, Cultural Studies or a related field. Students take 2.0 credits in 300 or 400 level liberal Visual Culture (VISA/VISC/VISD/VISM) and Humanities (HUMN) courses that address modern and contemporary visual culture.

All students who elect the Directed Studies option are strongly encouraged to meet with the Chair of Cross-Disciplinary Art Practices to discuss the courses they have chosen.


It is strongly recommended that students consider pairing their Criticism & Curatorial Practice major with a minor. Students should keep in mind that courses required for their major cannot be counted towards their minor. There is also a limit to how many elective courses can be shared between a major and minor as outlined in the Policy for Minors. As the required courses for a Criticism & Curatorial Practice major include a large number of History and Theory of Visual Culture courses, Criticism & Curatorial Practice majors may not pursue an Art History minor.

Criticism & Curatorial Practice Program Guide

Students must fulfill all requirements listed in the major program guide published in the year they were admitted to OCAD U. For example, a student admitted to OCAD U in 2012 must follow the major program guide published in the Fall/Winter 2012/2013 Course Calendar.

The major is only available to BFA students. All students should refer to Liberal Arts & Sciences for an outline of the liberal studies degree requirements. English (ENGL) and Humanities (HUMN) requirements are included in the Criticism & Curatorial Practice major program. Students may take more than the minimum requirements.

Students who have declared a minor may use undesignated liberal studies distribution courses and up to 2.0 credits of Art elective courses to fulfill minor course requirements and major course requirements at the same time.

200 Level Requirements
CRCP 2B01  Contemporary Issues: Art Today 0.5
CRCP 2B02 Museums, Galleries and Alternate Spaces 0.5
Choose two of the four following courses: 1.0
VISD 2B01 History of Modern Design
VISA 2B07 History of Modern Art
VISM 2B09 History of New Media Art
VISA 2B32 Canadian Art: The Modern Era
200 Level English 0.5
200 Level Electives: Art, Design, Liberal Arts & Sciences or School of Interdisciplinary Studies courses 2.5
Total Credits 5.0
CRCP 2B03 Publications 1  
ENGL 2B12 Research Literacy & Advanced Writing (not offered 2014/2015)  
HUMN 2B01  Aesthetics (not offered 2014/2015)  
HUMN 2B16  Twentieth Century Ideas   
VISA 2B13 History of Photography  


300 Level Requirements
CRCP 3B05 Reframing the Question of Beauty 0.5
CRCP 3B06 Exhibitions: The Work of the Curator 0.5
CRCP 3B09  Art Writing: A Workshop in Practice and Ideas    0.5 
VISA 3B37 The History and Theory of Art Criticism 0.5
Choose at least two of the following five courses: 1.0+
ASOC 3B05 Talking Community  
VISA 3B03 Contemporary Canadian Art  
VISA 3B09 Art After Modern Art: Conceptual Practices   
VISA 3B42  Critical Issues and Ideas in Contemporary First Nations Art   
VISA 3B43 Into the 21st Century: Photographic Practices, Theory and Criticism  
200 or 300 Level Electives: Art, Design, Liberal Arts & Sciences or Interdisciplinary (ASOC, CROS and DIGF) courses   2.0
Total Credits 5.0
ASOC 3B01  Community Practice 
CROS 3B01 Professional Practice (strongly recommended)
CROS 3B05  Art & Design Education Lab: AGO
ENGL 3B10 Creative Writing: Nonfiction
HUMN 3B01 Reading Popular Culture
HUMN 3B13 STUFF: Material Culture and the Meaning of Things
INTM 3B09 Publications: Editorial
INTM 3B17 Publications: Dissemination
400 Level Required Toward a Thesis Major 
CRCP 4C01 CRCP Thesis: Research 1.0
CRCP 4C02 CRCP Thesis: Presentation 1.0
CRCP 4B04 Proseminar in Criticism and Curating 0.5 
HUMN 3B17 Modernism and Postmodernism 0.5
200, 300 or 400 Level Electives: Art, Design, Liberal Arts & Sciences or School of Interdisciplinary Studies courses 2.0
Total Credits 5.0
400 Level Required Toward a Directed Studies Major
300 or 400 Level Visual Culture (VISA/VISC/VISD/VISM) and Humanities (HUMN) courses
(may include 0.5 credit Faculty of Art 300 or 400 level studio/seminar)
CRCP 4B04 Proseminar in Criticism and Curating 0.5
HUMN 3B17 Modernism and Postmodernism 0.5
200, 300 or 400 Level Electives: Art,  Design, Liberal Arts & Sciences or School of Interdisciplinary Studies courses 2.0
Total Credits 5.0


Please visit Liberal Arts & Sciences course listing for a full selection of liberal studies courses.

NOTE: Students are encouraged to review additional Liberal Arts & Sciences Special Topic liberal studies courses, which offer perspectives on faculty research and may change on a yearly basis.  

Eligibility to Graduate

Please note that students are eligible to graduate if they:
• Have fulfilled all program requirements.
• Are in good academic standing (if 2.0 or more credits taken since last academic performance review require minimum 60% average for those courses).
• Have an overall average of 60% or higher.
• Have an average of at least 65% in designated courses of their major/program (Design only).
• Have no outstanding accounts at the university.

Alternative Studies: Mobility/Exchange Program and Florence Program
Criticism & Curatorial Practice Majors who wish to participate in OCAD U’s Mobility/Exchange Program or Florence Program must meet with the Chair of Criticism & Curatorial Practice for academic advising.

Students who are accepted into these programs must meet the following minimum requirements for graduation from the Criticism & Curatorial Practice program:

300 level: The following 1.5 of the required 3.0 credits from the Criticism & Curatorial Practice Program Guide: CRCP 3B05 Reframing the Question of Beauty, CRCP 3B06 Exhibitions: The Work of the Curator and CRCP 3B09 Art Writing: A Workshop in Practice and Ideas must be completed at OCAD U.

400 level: 2.0 of the required 3.0 credits from the Criticism & Curatorial Practice Program Guide. Students going to Florence in their 4th year will need to elect the Directed Studies stream and will need to meet with the Chair to discuss their planned courses.

Students are subject to these minimum requirements only for the year level in which they are participating in the Florence or Mobility/Exchange program, or the year they are admitted with advanced standing.

Last Modified:6/6/2014 9:41:33 AM