Master of Visual Studies in Curatorial Studies


The MVS Curatorial Studies Program experience evolves within a rich environment structured around historical and contemporary approaches to curatorial practices, in conjunction with developments in the visual arts, theory, and critical writing. In particular, MVS Curatorial Studies students will be focusing on the presentational challenges arising from complex modes of visual expression — from object to installation, text and image combination, temporal as well as audio and new electronic media – within the increasingly dominant forces of the culture industry.

Guided by MVS Curatorial Studies faculty — which comprises the Director of Curatorial Studies and MVS Visual Studies faculty, as well as scholars in diverse disciplines and professionals in the field — program participants will examine the history and practical skills of exhibition-making in conjunction with studies of the developments of contemporary art and theory through core and elective courses. The course of study is designed to offer students ample opportunity for the in-depth development of the subject and contents of the Graduating Exhibition, its full realization for public presentation, and the Qualifying Paper in the form of a Catalogue Essay. The Graduating Exhibition will take place within one of several nationally and internationally renowned University of Toronto galleries of contemporary art (Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at Hart House, Blackwood Gallery at UTM, or Doris McCarthy Gallery at UTSC) but may also be developed in offsite locations, including museums and galleries within the region.

More information on admissions is available on our Graduate Admissions webpage.


The MVS Curatorial Studies Program explores the multi-faceted approaches of contemporary curatorial undertakings in an interdisciplinary and international context. The aim of the program is to develop the intellectual and practical capacities for creating meaning through established and new formats of exhibition making, underscored by a wide variety of disciplines critical to the understanding of contemporary art and its presentation. We expect MVS participants to benefit from the extensive resources available to them in other graduate programs at the University, including those in History of Art, Museum Studies, History, English, Architecture, Women and Gender Studies, Diaspora and Transnational Studies, Semiotics, and Comparative Literature, thus offering a rich environment for interdisciplinary research.

While all Curatorial Studies panels are chaired by MVS faculty, MVS Curatorial Studies students are encouraged to invite University of Toronto graduate faculty from other departments as well as independent scholars and professionals to join their panels, expanding the possibilities for interdisciplinary exchange, research, and development of an intellectual and professional network.

Graduating Exhibition and Qualifying Paper: Curatorial Studies

Throughout the final year of the MVS program, each participant in the Curatorial Studies field will plan and implement an exhibition and produce a catalogue essay and published brochure discussing the framework and selection of works included in the exhibition.  Throughout the final year of their studies, students will receive guidance and input from their advisory panels comprised of faculty, professional curators, and/or independent scholars. The panel will assess content, theoretical and critical framing of the exhibition, and provide feedback on the curatorial essays of each participant's Graduating Exhibition.

Final critiques and oral defense of the exhibition and qualifying paper are conducted on-site in the exhibition with the participants' full panel of advisors. The qualifying paper (15-20 pages) will demonstrate the theoretical basis for the exhibition and the relevance of chosen artworks within that context.  The qualifying paper will include a full bibliography.

Click here to view a diagram of degree requirements for the Curatorial Studies field of study