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Master of Visual Studies Admission Requirements

Updates and Notifications:

  • Applications open on October 9, 2019 and the application deadline has been extended from December 1, 2019 to December 15, 2019.
  • Decisions on admission are generally communicated in March.

As a graduate unit administered by the School of Graduate Studies, Daniels adheres to minimum admissions requirements that all applicants must meet in addition to the specific Faculty requirements outlined below.

Fields of Study

MVS Studio Art Practice

The Master of Visual Studies Studio Art Practice experience evolves within a rich environment structured around new approaches to visual art production, art theory, critical writing and professional practice. The MVS Studio faculty is comprised entirely of visual artists with significant on-going exhibition careers. MVS Studio students pursue a highly focused investigation within studio practice along with research into contemporary theories exploring the visual and spatial relationships within art and cultural production.

The MVS Studio is concerned with the increasingly complex modes of visual expression through combinations of text, image, movement, sound and dynamic new electronic media. Accordingly, the participants will examine contemporary art practice and theory through core courses that will give them ample opportunity to develop skills in a variety of projects and media.

MVS Curatorial Studies

The Master of Visual Studies Curatorial Studies experience evolves within a rich environment structured around historical and contemporary approaches to curatorial practices, in conjunction with developments in the visual art, theory, and critical writing. In particular, MVS Curatorial Studies students will be focusing on the presentational challenges arising from complex modes of visual expression from object to installation, from text and image combination, temporal as well as audio and new electronic media – within the increasingly dominant forces of the culture industry.

Guided by MVS Curatorial Studies faculty, which comprises the Director of Curatorial Studies and MVS Visual Studies faculty, as well as scholars in diverse disciplines and professionals in the field, program participants will examine the history and practical skills of exhibition-making in conjunction with studies of the developments of contemporary art and theory through core and electives courses. The course of study is designed to offer students ample opportunity for the in-depth development of the subject and contents of the Graduating Exhibition, its full realization for public presentation, and the Qualifying Paper in the form of a Catalogue Essay. The Graduating Exhibition will take place within one of several, nationally and internationally renowned University of Toronto galleries of contemporary art (Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at Hart House, Blackwood Gallery at UTM, and Doris McCarthy Gallery at UTSC) but may also be developed in offsite locations, including museums and galleries within the region.


All applications, domestic and international, must be completed using the Online Admissions Application. Unless otherwise stated, information is submitted electronically.

Your online application will consist of:

  • Creating your Profile: includes contact information
  • Supplying your Academic Background: includes all post-secondary degree/non-degree and diploma programs (do not add certificate programs)
  • Supplying your self-reported English proficiency
  • Selecting the Master of Visual Studies program AND either Studio Art Practice OR Curatorial Studies
  • Supplying referee contact information
  • Making the non-refundable and non-transferrable $180 application fee payment
  • Uploading your transcripts
  • Uploading your supporting documents: includes CV, portfolio, explanatory sheet, writing sample, and statement of intent

Deadline to Apply

  1. December 15, 2019: You must make your application payment and submit all transcripts electronically by this date. Note: Transcripts are uploaded only after the payment is made.
  2. January 8, 2020: You must submit all other supporting documents (Letters of Reference, CV, Statement of Interest, Portfolio, and Writing Sample(s)) by this date.

Submissions are due by 11:59pm (EST; Eastern Standard Time).

Academic Requirements

Domestic applicants must complete an appropriate bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, with a final year average of at least mid-B from a recognized university prior to the start of the academic term applied to. International applicants should hold an appropriate bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as assessed by the University of Toronto. Use the International Degree Equivalencies Tool to see which international credentials are required for masters programs at U of T. 

Prerequisite Courses

Applicants are r.equired to have completed significant course work in humanities and cultural theory at the university level with an additional requirement of creative or curatorial work. 


Submit by December 15, 2019.

Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended must be submitted electronically on the Online Admissions Application. Applicants who receive an offer of admission will be required to submit official hard copy transcripts to the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design prior to registration.

Carefully read the Transcripts page for submission instructions.

English Requirements

Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. The required minimum scores and further details on how to submit test results are listed on the School of Graduate Studies website. This requirement should be met at the time of application.

Applicants must:

1. Self-report the test results on the online admission application as instructed and;
2. Arrange for the official results to be sent electronically to the University of Toronto by the testing agency by January 8, 2020. The Daniels Faculty will not approach testing agencies on behalf of an applicant.

Please note: Applicants submitting English proficiency testing may be asked for further demonstration of their English proficiency.

Supporting Documents

Note: All documents being sent or handed in to the Daniels Faculty should clearly indicate applicant number and full legal name of applicant on packaging unless being sent directly from an institution. Once supporting documents are submitted they become the property of the University of Toronto and cannot be returned.​

All supporting documents listed below are mandatory and must be submitted on the Online Admissions Application by January 8, 2020. Carefully read the information below for guidelines on each supporting document. 

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Letters of Reference
  3. Portfolio
  4. Statement of Intent
  5. Writing Sample(s)

Curriculum Vitae

Applicant’s curriculum vitae (resume) must be submitted electronically on the Online Admissions Application by January 8, 2020. Please include details of exhibition, publication and professional activity in addition to education. There are no page limits or specific requirements, however, we encourage applicants to edit the curriculum vitae carefully. It is not recommended that an applicant include their photograph on their CV or any other application materials with the exception of the portfolio where appropriate and incorporated in to the create work presented.

Letters of Reference

Three letters of reference are required for each application. These letters of reference are submitted electronically on the Online Admissions Application and are only shared among the programs listed on the application. The system will automatically email an electronic submission request to each referee once payment is made. Although applicants provide referee information before payment, the system will not notify referees until after payment is processed.

It is highly recommended that applicants confirm referee availability prior to submitting contact details. All letters of reference must be received no later than January 8, 2020.

After payment is made, we recommend checking with each referee to ensure they have received the automatic email request. University of Toronto emails will sometimes be blocked by email security filters. If a referee has not received the email, please ask them to check their Junk Mail folder. If they still have not received the request, applicants have the ability to re-send the request through the Online Admissions Application. Do not use this function as a reminder for your referee.

Letters of reference will be part of the official student academic record; they are confidential and applicants/students will not have access to them. For more information, please see FIPPA and its Application to the University of Toronto

If your referee does not have a valid institutional/company email address, please direct your referee to download the reference letter template and have them submit a hard copy of the template together with a full reference letter on letterhead, signed and sealed in an envelope and sent directly to the Daniels Faculty.

Multimedia Portfolio

All applicants are required to submit an online portfolio of creative work on the Online Admissions Application by January 8, 2020. Carefully read through the Portfolio information and specifications before uploading your portfolio.

Explanatory Sheet

All applicants are required to submit an explanatory sheet to support the multimedia portfolio on the Online Admissions Application by January 8, 2020. Carefully read through the Portfolio information and specifications before uploading your explanatory sheet.

Statement of Intent

A statement of intent must be submitted electronically on the Online Admissions Application by January 8, 2020. This statement should discuss the direction of your studio or curatorial practice and why you are seeking admission to the Master of Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto. There is maximum word count of 500 words.

Writing Sample

Applicants must submit one sample of writing electronically on the Online Admissions Application by January 8, 2020. The sample should demonstrate your academic communication skills. Your writing sample should be from a previous university course if available and should not exceed approximately 20 pages. Applicants who do not have a writing sample from previous educational courses can submit published or professional writing. If you do not have any published or professional writing, or if your academic essays and papers were not written in English, please submit a sample of writing in essay format that is 1500-3000 words in length on a topic of your choice. The essay should show your ability to think critically about a particular subject.