Programs

Visual Art and Art History

BFA HONOURS
BA HONOURS

Offered as:
Full-time and Part-time

Entry in:
Summer, Fall and Winter



Theatre Students

OVERVIEW

Visual Art and Art History

The Department of Visual Art & Art offers a multifaceted experience, preparing students to become leaders in the creation, exhibition, critical understanding and communication of visual culture in diverse environments. Students are supported to develop unique professional studio practices in sculpture, print media, painting, drawing, photography and interdisciplinary art, working alongside distinguished artists in our studio program and leading scholars in the art history program. Bridging art creation, art history and curatorial practice, AMPD provides a unique interdisciplinary approach and the most acclaimed facilities in Canada, including Canada’s first Digital Sculpture Laboratory dedicated to the convergence of digital and physical art.

HIGHLIGHTS

Top 6 reasons to apply

50 years of visual arts leadership

Small classes taught by professional, practicing artists

State-of-the-art facilities with evening and weekend access

Weekly exhibition opportunities to showcase students’ artistic and curatorial talent

Opportunities to collaborate with artists in digital media, film and design

Canada’s first Digital Sculpture Laboratory dedicated to the convergence of digital and physical art

HIGHLIGHTS

Experiential Education

  • Create, curate and write about art in a supportive, structured environment
  • Field trips to Toronto’s world class museums and galleries

HIGHLIGHTS

Experiential Education

  • Job and volunteer opportunities at the Art Gallery of York University

HIGHLIGHTS

Experiential Education

  • Learn from renowned artists in the Odette Sculpture Residency
  • Curate an exhibition from the department’s own Goldfarb Study Collection

HIGHLIGHTS

Experiential Education

  • Write for VAAH’s student-run art journal, Art on Paper

HIGHLIGHTS

Experiential Education

  • Exhibit in the Department’s galleries, on-campus student-run galleries and downtown galleries.

YOUR CHOICE

Two Degrees

Theatre Students

OVERVIEW

Through intensive studio training supported by studies in the history and theory of art, students receive a thorough grounding in the production of art works and comparative cultural analysis across a wide range of traditional and contemporary media. In the initial foundation year, students take courses in all artistic media – painting, sculpture, print media, drawing, photography and interdisciplinary art – and then choose to specialize in one or more areas. At all levels, students are mentored by faculty members who are highly regarded artists with active professional practices.

York’s Visual Arts students are supported in their exploration and creation with access to facilities unrivalled in Canada, including the Joan Goldfarb Visual Arts Study Centre; the L. L. Odette Centre for Sculpture; spacious, state of the art studios; student-run exhibition galleries and the award-winning Art Gallery of York University.

Program highlights

Immerse yourself in Visual Arts at AMPD

Annual Open House

A public exhibition celebrating the work of senior BFA students with juried prizes which takes place each spring.

Capstone Courses

Year-long capstone studio courses with exhibition opportunities.

Odette Sculpture Residency

An opportunity to take Master Classes with a renowned Canadian or international artist.

“Art on Paper”

Contribute to the Department’s student run art journal.

Exhibit Work

Exhibit in the Department’s two designated gallery spaces as well as in student run galleries across campus and in downtown galleries..

Professional Practices for Visual Artists

This fourth-year course gives students the practical tools and professional knowledge needed to transition to work as practicing artists and navigate their path through the extended contemporary art world.

Areas of Concentration

Explore a mix or specialize

Drawing: Comics and Sequential Art

This course introduces students to the discipline of drawing as it is practiced in comics and sequential art. With a focus on medium, form, and process, this course teaches the fundamentals of making comics, emphasizing the hybrid nature of the form and its potential as a medium for self-expression.

Painting: Shifting the Boundaries of Abstraction

This course examines the recent shift of the boundaries of abstraction and figuration in pictorial experience. In a series of paintings, students create new relationships between abstraction and figuration by using the visual strategies of convergence, interference and mutation.

Introductory Photography: Black and White

This course focuses on the creation and production of black and white photographs in this hands-on studio course. Camera, film and print skills are developed in conjunction with critical and aesthetic awareness.

Portfolio Interview

GOODLUCK!

1Assemble a portfolio of your best recent work, including 8-10 pieces in different media, including a sketchbook.

2After applying to York, you will receive an email from AMPD inviting you to begin the portfolio review. Register in AMPD’s supplementary evaluation system to begin this process, and complete the online questionnaire.

3In the supplementary evaluation system, book an appointment for your in-person portfolio review interview. If you live outside of the Greater Toronto Area, you can upload digital files of your work instead. In this case your digital files will be reviewed and assessed, but we strongly encourage you to visit campus for an in-person interview if possible. Occasionally in the fall faculty travel to select locations outside of Toronto to conduct portfolio reviews. Please check the website for more information.

4You will be sent the location and other details about your portfolio interview after booking the date. When you come for your in-person portfolio interview bring your portfolio with you. If your work is digital, please bring a laptop, ensuring that it is charged. If your work is large or difficult to transport, you are encouraged to bring photos of it.

5We encourage you to practise discussing your work with your current teacher, friends or family in preparation for the interview. Please be prepared to talk about your work and share your ideas during your interview.

6Acceptance will be based on a balance of your academic achievement, your portfolio and your interview. Following your interview, check your application status in York’s MyFile. It can take up to two months for a decision, although it is not uncommon for applicants to hear back within a few weeks.




  • Independent artist
  • Curator
  • Art Critic
  • Art teacher
  • Scenic painter for film, television or theatre
  • Special effects artist for screen-based media including gaming
  • Studio technician
  • Art consultant
  • Art buyer
  • Gallery director
  • Exhibit designer
  • Illustrator
  • Photographer
  • Multimedia consultant
  • Community arts advocate
  • Arts administrator
Theatre Students

OVERVIEW

The Art History program emphasizes the relationships between visual art and its social contexts, including global cultural exchange. The curriculum focuses on modern and contemporary art, indigenous and settler art of the Americas, Asian art, western art and architecture, art criticism, and curatorial studies. Students have hands-on access to original works of art to explore practical applications of museum and gallery studies.

Program highlights

Immerse yourself in Visual Arts at AMPD

Toronto’s World Class Museums and Galleries

Art history classes take full advantage of Toronto’s world class museums and galleries for class visits and assignments.

Art Gallery of York University

Access to volunteer and job opportunities at the Art Gallery of York University, an award-winning contemporary art gallery on campus.

Joan Goldfarb Art Study Collection

Upper level seminar course in which students curate an exhibition from the department’s own Goldfarb Study Collection (includes work by Andy Warhol, Jack Bush and Jean-Paul Riopelle).

“Art on Paper”

Students have opportunities to submit their writing and art to the Department’s student run art journal.

Exhibit Work

Students can curate exhibitions in the Department’s two designated gallery spaces as well as in student-run galleries across campus.

Areas of Concentration

Explore a mix or specialize

Sample Courses:

Curatorial Studies: Practices of Display

This course examines the medium of exhibition, particularly how the placement of artifacts creates specific aesthetic, semiotic and ideological contexts. Topics explore the display practices of curators, artists, interpreters, designers, collectors, and dealers. Analysis includes a wide range of display forms including museums, galleries, artist-run centres, virtual exhibitions, as well as site specific installations by artists and curators.

1960a Art in the USA and Europe

This course examines the work, processes and context of artists who emerged in Europe and the United States immediately after the Abstract Expressionists and their European counterparts. These may include: Post-painterly Abstraction, proto-Pop, Pop Art, Cubist-Constructivist sculpture, Minimalism, photo-realism, earth art, kinetic art, the El Paso group in Madrid, Joseph Beuys, the beginning of post-modern architecture, and early performance art.

The Art of Asia

This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the art and architecture of East Asia, exploring a wide range of representations from artifacts and artworks to popular media and the built-environment. Discussions focus on issues of identity formation, political ethics, religious authorities, the nation-state, modernity, colonialism, and race/gender relations.

  • Educator
  • Archivist
  • Museum Curator
  • Gallery Curator
  • Art Consultant
  • Art Buyer
  • Appraiser
  • Auctioneer
  • Art Critic
  • Art Conservation and Restoration
  • Exhibit designer
  • Community arts advocate
  • Arts administrator

CROSS-DISCIPLINARY

Certificate Program

Theatre Students

OVERVIEW

The Cross-Disciplinary Certificate in Public History can be completed concurrently with a York bachelor’s degree. The Certificate in Public History provides students with an introduction to the theory, methods, and practice of work in historical, heritage, and cultural institutions, and a critical understanding of the production and presentation of historical knowledge for public audiences.

Public (or “Applied”) History describes the theory, methodologies, and practices of professional historians who work outside academic institutions in various agencies and organizations devoted to historical research, preservation, and educational programming, including museums, historic sites, archives, galleries, government and non-government organizations, and online venues. It also encompasses the ways that history is produced for and understood by public audiences in a wide range of venues including public school classrooms, television documentaries, popular history writing and family history albums. This Certificate is offered collaboratively by the Department of History in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, Glendon College, and the Department of Visual Art and Art History in AMPD.

Program highlights

Prime Time

12-WEEK PLACEMENT

12-week placement that helps students develop professional skills and knowledge for entry into careers in museums, archives, historic sites and other related settings

Play Ground

WORK ACROSS DISCIPLINES

Equips students to work across disciplines in with diverse communities.

Faculty Advisors

HANDS-ON EDUCATION

Provides opportunities for hands-on education and experience.

Faculty Advisors

EXPLORE PUBLIC HISTORY

Students explore a range of public history settings and organizations, broadening their personal experiences and career opportunities.

Popular sample courses

Curatorial Studies: Practices of Display

This course examines the medium of exhibition, particularly how the placement of artifacts creates specific aesthetic, semiotic and ideological contexts. Topics explore the display practices of curators, artists, interpreters, designers, collectors, and dealers. Analysis includes a wide range of display forms including museums, galleries, artist-run centres, virtual exhibitions, as well as site specific installations by artists and curators.

Art Institutions/Art Networks: Introduction to Museums, Galleries and Visual Art Organizations

This course considers the participation of art institutions and organizations – including the modern museum and art gallery – in cultural networks engaged in arts education, promotion, and support, now subject to post-modern and post-colonial critiques.

Public Art and Community

This course provides a critical understanding of concepts and practices of modern monumentality. It explores cases of monuments, memorials, exhibitions and masse gatherings and parades in modern Asia and beyond and discusses issues of disciplinary state, formation of community and memory politics

APPLICATION PROCESS

How to apply

Please note that the supplementary application procedures may change due to Covid-19. Please check back to learn about interim measures. If you have any questions please contact ampd@yorku.ca.

A. Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) Application

Use this application if:
  • You want to apply to degree studies for any session (Ontario high-school students should see their guidance office). Fee Information.
  • You’re a mature or university/college applicant (if you’re applying to more than one university). Fee Information.

Apply Now

B. York University Application

Use this application if:
  • You are a mature, international or university/college transfer applicant (if you’re only applying to York), OR
  • You want to take courses as a Visiting Student, OR
  • You want to apply to a certificate, OR
  • You are currently taking a York pre-University/”Bridging” course or YUELI course

Fees: $120 (non-refundable)

Apply Now

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email containing your York reference ID. This email will be sent approximately 5-10 business days after you submit your application. Please complete step 4 once you have your York Reference ID.

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email containing your York reference ID. This email will be sent approximately 5-10 business days after you submit your application. Please complete step 4 once you have your York Reference ID.

  • Make sure you have your York Reference ID on hand.
  • Complete the questionnaire (except for Art History applicants). It’s to help us get to know you a little better.
  • Pay the administration fee of: $20 CAD. You will then be able to proceed with the portfolio interview booking.
  • Book a date to complete your in-person audition.

Good luck!

*During the coronavirus pandemic public events on campus have been cancelled.

If you have a diploma from Fleming College, Georgian College, Fanshawe College or Seneca College you may have the ability to transfer into our Visual Arts program through a simplified, guaranteed transfer process.

The articulation agreements we have with these colleges specify the number of transfer credits and the approximate length of time required for a college student to complete a degree at York, as well as specific college courses that will transfer to the university.

More Info

Sir Sandford Fleming College’s Visual and Creative Arts Diploma
Students who have graduated in 2011 (or later) from Fleming College’s Visual and Creative Arts Diploma with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) will be eligible for admission consideration and granted 48 transfer credits toward the Visual Art and Art History (VAAH) program of York University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. Applicants must also successfully complete an entrance portfolio review conducted by a VAAH faculty member to be admitted to the program.

Incoming students will be required to complete 72 additional credits at York University (total of 120 credits) to receive their degree.

Georgian College’s Fine Arts Advanced Diploma
Students who have graduated in 2011 (or later) from Georgian College’s Fine Arts Advanced Diploma with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) will be eligible for admission consideration and granted 60 transfer credits toward the Visual Art and Art History (VAAH) program of York University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. Applicants must also successfully complete an entrance portfolio review conducted by a VAAH faculty member to be admitted to the program.

Incoming students will be required to complete 60 additional credits at York University (total of 120 credits) to receive their degree.

Fanshawe College’s Fine Art Program
Students who have graduated in the past three years from Fanshawe College’s Fine Art Program with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) will be eligible for admission consideration and granted 60 transfer credits toward the Visual Art and Art History (VAAH) program of York University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. Applicants must also successfully complete an entrance portfolio review conducted by a VAAH faculty member to be admitted to the program.

Incoming students will be required to complete 60 additional credits at York University (total of 120 credits) to receive their degree.