Bachelor of Arts, Visual Studies


The Bachelor of Art in Visual Studies (BAVS) program focuses on a critical understanding and production of art. Visual Studies is set within a unique environment focusing on a rigorous investigation of the interdisciplinary and conceptual components inherent to contemporary art and curatorial practice, as well as in critical writing, theory, art history, design, and related areas requiring a high degree of visual literacy.

This innovative program of study provides instruction in studio practice in combination with critical discourse involving all aspects of contemporary visual culture through lectures, studio courses, seminars, and field trips. Students within the major program are deliberately left with ample room in their course of study to broadly pursue other scholarly interests at the University of Toronto. This flexibility is a fundamental component of the program, as it encourages students to bring those ideas culled from elsewhere to bear within their own artistic practice, allowing ideas and modes of thought that might be rooted in more conventional forms of making art to be openly refined and challenged.

Specialist Streams

Undergraduate students at the Daniels Faculty may pursue a major or specialist in Visual Studies. The Specialist offers two different streams: 


The Studio Specialist stream is intended for students who wish to concentrate on studio practice through the myriad interdisciplinary offerings within the Visual Studies program. Rather than focusing upon a single medium, the Studio stream encourages cross-disciplinary exploration and hybrid forms of practice that can encompass painting, photography, sculpture, film, and other time-based media. Students in this stream gain strong visual skills, critical reasoning abilities, and an understanding of art in its historical and social contexts.

Critical Practices

The Critical Practices Specialist stream is intended for students who are drawn to the fields of criticism, publishing, curating, exhibiting, and writing about both design and art. It is intended for students who are visually literate but not necessarily focused upon studio-based artistic practice. This stream recognizes that aesthetic production is multifaceted and that careers in art often extend beyond traditional modes of practice and scholarship to include potential careers as critics, journalists, editors, publishers, curators, teachers, and research-based practitioners.

First Year Courses

While the disciplines of architecture and art are understood to be distinct, we take advantage of the symbiotic relationship between them by offering a series of first year courses that students in both the Architectural Studies and Visual Studies programs at the Daniels Faculty are encouraged to take.

The series includes two lecture courses in the history of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design; an introductory architecture studio about the design process; a workshop-based course on artistic production (Visual Strategies); and a lecture course on contemporary art practice and critical discourse. 

Academic Calendar

For more information about the structure of this program, please refer to our current Academic Calendar.


For information on admissions, how to apply, and Fall Campus Day, please visit the Admissions section of this website.

Header image credit: Ideal House, 2019, created by Ava Kaartinen. Images: 1) 12-100-Gone, by Sky Ece Ulusoy; 2) Yue Yin; 3) Kelcy Timmons.