Programs and Possibilities

a knight on  horse; a woman looking at a Centrex projector; and a black-and-white photo of a crowd

The Department of Visual Studies incorporates a wide range of methods, theories, and media in order to examine the place of visuality in human experience. In fostering deep and critical engagement with visual evidence, programs in the DVS help students develop expertise in visual literacy—how to read images—a fundamental skill in today's image- and media-saturated environment.

Courses offered in the DVS examine the history, production, and reception of a range of visual and aural texts, including photography, new media, popular culture, and advertising; painting, sculpture, architecture, and the built environment; contemporary art, curatorial studies, and museum culture; and time-based media, including film and television. Courses analyze many geographical and chronological settings, from ancient Rome to contemporary South Asia, and engage a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives.

DVS programs also are designed to foster the development of critical reading and writing skills. The Department's collaborative programs with Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning offer the possibility for students to receive both practical and academic studies in Art & Art History and in Visual Culture & Communication. Graduates of DVS programs go on to careers in curatorial and museum work, web design, teaching, and arts journalism, as well as pursuing graduate study in art history, architecture, cultural studies, studio art, and related fields.

DVS is home to five degree programs:

*Joint programs with Sheridan Institute for Technology and Advanced Learning. Students receive a degree from U of T as well as a diploma from Sheridan upon completion of the program.

Each of these five degree programs has its own set of required courses that can be found by following the links above, however, there is a lot of cross-over between the programs as well. If you want to study studio art, then Art & Art History is the program for you. You can also study Art History on its own without the studio component. Visual Culture and Communication and Visual Culture Studies are great choices for students who are interested in studying images in general as the courses look at art but also non-art images such as advertising, video games, cartoons, propaganda, marketing, etc. Cinema Studies allows students with an interest in film and television to engage in a theoretical study of moving images in their wider cultural context. 

Image Credits:
Italian Arabesque with Knight, niello print, no date. Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
R.J. Lucas and unidentified woman looking at a Centrex projector (1940-49). Courtesy of the Powerhouse Museum.
William Hall Raine, Election Night Crowd, Wellington (1931). Courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library.