Art & Design

Graduate Programs

Aaron Veldstra, Drawing/Intermedia, Our Anaerobic Future, 2015

Our graduate program in the Department of Art & Design offers several thesis-based degrees:

  • Master of Design (MDes)
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
  • Master of Arts (MA) History of Art, Design and Visual Culture
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) History of Art, Design and Visual Culture

Why Study Here?

What makes the Department of Art and Design such an excellent place to work and study? Our graduate program offers:

  • world-class facilities
  • active supervision and technical support
  • scholarships and teaching assistantships
  • interdisciplinary approaches
  • contemporary critical theory
  • research for the public good

Graduate students in both Fine Arts and Design Studies discuss the relationship between traditional knowledge and contemporary creative practice. Visual Communication Design student Zohreh Valiary Eskandary introduced the 'provocation paper' for discussion then gave a demonstration of classical Persian calligraphy.

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)

drawing + intermedia + painting + printmaking + sculpture

The MFA program at UAlberta is a flexible, practice-based program that offers students opportunities to develop a media-based studio practice, as well as to work across multiple media. Students work with faculty versed in artistic-research methodologies and draw on expertise from across the university for interdisciplinary experiences.

Past research topics:

  • Reconstructing Landscape
  • Guardians: Urban Totems
  • Cafe Mnemosyne
  • Hidden Crimes
  • Mixed Blessings
  • Punctured Romance
  • This Modern Love
  • Fluid Bodies
  • Pharmakon
  • Click Here To Meet Me
  • Mind Body Phone
  • The Seven Deadly Sins and a Murder of Crows
  • Our Anaerobic Future
  • Science = Magik
  • The Falling Doll

Emilie St. Hilaire, Drawing/Intermedia, Mind Body Phone, 2014


history of art, design, and visual culture 

This thesis-based program focuses on the history of art, design, and visual culture in Europe, the Americas and East Asia. Our faculty members are engaged in active research programs that are closely integrated into teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Past research topics:

  • personal and national identity in early 20th century Irish art;
  • revisiting the display of installation art in the 21st century;
  • viewing Argentine portraiture in an age of Peronism;
  • art and activism during the “obesity epidemic”;
  • discovering surrealism in Polish modern art; and
  • the aesthetics of distortion in Chinese landscape painting.

Michael Woolley, History of Art, Design and Visual Culture, Performance and its Documents: Revisiting Debates in Performance Art Documentation, 2017

MDes (Design Studies)

industrial design + visual communication design

Research in Industrial Design (ID) and Visual Communication Design (VCD) focuses on the public good. Faculty members are engaged in research and practice, using interdisciplinary approaches and participatory methods. Industrial Design is concerned with the interface between the user and the built environment and the physical, cognitive and emotional issues involved. Visual Communication Design focuses on information design and communication, in print and interactive new media, and includes design for needs relating to education, culture, health and safety. Graduate students have presented their work at local, national and international conferences and exhibitions.

Past research topics:

  • Hybrid Electric Vehicles
  • Multi-Literacy for Children
  • A Digital Learning Resource to Enrich Undergraduate Students’ Appreciation of Aboriginal Canadian Literature
  • Rhinoplasty: A Hands-On Training Module
  • Design for Sustainability
  • Lessons from a Couch Fort
  • Giving Youth Voice: Co-designing Community-led Health Messages for Youth

Anson Wong, Industrial Design, Designers as Innovators, 2015