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Degree Requirements

MFA and PhD academic requirements for our graduate program can be found at Faculty of Graduate Studies—Program Requirements.


Students complete their degree by exhibition and thesis support paper.

All first-year students must successfully complete two half-courses in contemporary theory and criticism: Visual Art 5600 3.0: Contemporary Theory in Visual Art in term one and Visual Art 5610 3.0: Theoretical Issues in Contemporary Art in term two.

All first and second-year students must complete the MFA seminar, Visual Art 5620 6.0. This course is taken in both years of the program.

In the second year of the program, MFA students in Visual Art engage in independent studio research and work with a supervisory committee composed of two faculty members from the program who are most able to address the student’s research needs, concerns and goals, as well as an outside member. This second-year supervisory committee supervises the preparation of the thesis exhibition and thesis support paper and acts as part of the committee for the final oral examination.

Students are given a private studio at York during the five terms of the degree.

To graduate, each student must present a final solo thesis exhibition and a support paper 20 to 50 pages in length. At the final oral examination, both the artwork and the written paper are defended.

Fall intake only – Five full-time terms
Year 1: fall, winter and summer
Year 2: fall and winter


Candidates for the PhD degree must successfully complete the following requirements:
A total of 3.5 graduate courses (21 credits); comprehensive examination exhibition and paper; dissertation proposal; dissertation exhibition and paper.

For details on all of these components of the program, please see the Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Regulations page.

Learn More

The Graduate Program in Visual Art at York is an exciting environment to pursue innovative, socially engaging, career-ready education. Contact our Graduate Program Assistant to learn more.