The MA in Comparative Media Arts is at the forefront of an emergent intermedial approach to the arts. A radical mutuality characterizes the relationships among the visual arts, visual culture, performing arts, and art forms that incorporate reproducible and digital media. This program thinks across the media arts in a comparative perspective that synthesizes the historical and theoretical approaches of art history, performance studies, and studies of computer-based arts.

With its intimate scale, interdisciplinary design, and faculty of international reputation, The School for the Contemporary Arts at SFU provides a rich environment for scholars of the fine and performing arts. This MA will allow scholars to immerse themselves in an environment of creative experimentation, working in parallel with students in the interdisciplinary MFA program.

The MA in Comparative Media Arts prepares students for work as curators, cultural programmers, arts administrators, arts writers, and other careers in the arts. It also prepares students for a range of PhDs that study the fine and performing arts.

For information about applying to the program, please follow the links at the Future Students section of the left sidebar menu.

Dr. Arne Eigenfeld:
Dr. Laura U. Marks:
Graduate Program Secretary:

Program of Study

The MA in Comparative Media Arts is a four-semester program. Students are required to take six courses, complete two extended essays and participate in the final research symposium.

Required courses:
FPA 821-4 Research methods in comparative media arts
FPA 822-4 Research colloquium in comparative media arts
FPA 829-6 Extended essays in comparative media arts

And at least three of:
FPA 823-4 New approaches in visual art and culture
FPA 824-4 New approaches in moving-image studies
FPA 825-4 New approaches in digital art studies
FPA 826-4 New approaches in performance studies
FPA 827-4 Practicum in comparative media arts

And one elective graduate course relevant to the student’s research, either

  • within the School for the Contemporary Arts (please see suggestions below); or
  • from another department, with permission of the MA Program Coordinator and the faculty member teaching the course.

MA Application Process

Applications for entry into the MA in Comparative Media Arts program (Fall 2017) are now open. Apply online here. The online submission deadline is February 15, 2017.

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in visual culture, art history, cinema studies, performance studies, cultural studies, communications, literary studies, or other degrees focusing on the arts. Applications with Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees that include substantial scholarly studies will also qualify.

All applicants who submit complete applications will be notified of their status by the end of March. Candidates accepted into the MA program will begin their courses in September.

Please be sure that your mailing and e-mail addresses are current, as you will be notified of application results by e-mail and by letter.

The only hardcopy documents we need to receive are your official sealed transcripts, please submit everything else online.

For application procedures toward the 2017 intake, please see below.


1.  On-line Application for Graduate Studies

If you have not submitted the online application you will not be considered for the program.
All graduate program applications are processed through the Dean of Graduate Studies office. In order to use the online application system, you will need to pay an application fee of $90 CAN (students with Canadian transcripts) or $125 CAN (students with international transcripts) by credit card (MasterCard or Visa).

The on-line application includes a checklist of the documents that you will need to submit to us to support your application. This checklist will be updated on line as we receive your documents. Please refer to the on-line checklist to ensure that all documents are received - due to the number of applications, it is not possible for us to monitor every applicant's checklist closely.

2.   Official sealed Transcripts of all post-secondary education. Sealed transcripts should be sent directly to the address below by the academic institution. Non-English language transcripts must include an official English translation.

c/o Barbara Adler, SCA Graduate Program Assistant
SFU Woodward's, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6B 1H4

3. A Curriculum Vitae.

4. A Statement of Research Interests, which is a concise one page written overview of your research interests in relation to your proposed object of study.

5. A sample of Academic Writing, 2000-3000 words. Acceptable samples include senior undergraduate essays or other academic writing and published articles.

6. Three (3) Letters of Reference from (preferably) academic or professional sources. Letters can be uploaded online directly by each reference. He or she will receive login information and instructions for uploading his or her letter, once you have named him or her as a reference. We do not have a template for reference letters; your referees can use their preferred format.

7. International students: English is the language of instruction and communication in the University. The School for the Contemporary Arts requires English proficiency as outlined on the Dean of Graduate Studies WEBSITE.

Please note that we must receive test results directly from the testing agency. Copies of documents sent by the student will not be accepted.

Students are eligible for fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. We also encourage students to apply for funding before entering the program, including through SSHRC


Dr. Henry Daniel
Research specialization: Research-creation; performance studies; dance theory and criticism; dance and new technology

Dr. Arne Eigenfeldt
Research specialization: Generative art; computational creativity; new media and performance

Dr. Jacqueline Levitin
Research specialization: Film history; genre studies; women filmmakers; Chinese cinemas; art of film directing; post-colonial cinemas

Dr. Laura Marks
Research specialization: Film theory; new media art; experimental media; art and philosophy; Islamic art and philosophy; Arab cinema

Dr. Denise Oleksijczuk
Research specialization: Visual culture; photography; pre-cinematic media arts; nineteenth-century British art; curating

Dr. Christopher Pavsek
Research specialization: Non-fiction cinema and art; cinema studies; critical theory; Marxist theory

Professor Judy Radul
Research specialization: Video; contemporary art and theory; art and law; performance; performativity; questions of the image.


FPA 811-5 Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminar I
FPA 812-5 Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminar II
FPA 877-5 Selected Topics in Fine and Performing Arts
FPA 889-5 Directed Study in Fine and Performing Arts
CMNS  855-5 Selected Topics in Communication Studies
CMNS  857-5 Selected Topics in Communication Studies
ENGL 811-4 Studies in Theory II: Performance and/in the City
ENGL 820-4 Studies in Print Culture Theory
ENGL 821-4 Studies in Manuscript, Print and Media Culture
GSWS 823-5 Graduate Seminar in Feminist Art/Literary Criticism
HUM  802-5  Themes in the Humanities
HUM 805-5 Special Topics
IAT 810-3 New Media
IAT 811-3 Computational Poetics
IAT 832-3 Exploring Interactivity
SA 875-5 Ethnographic Methodology: Social/Cultural Anthropology

These courses are suggestions only. Other relevant graduate courses can be taken as an elective with permission of the MA Program coordinator and the faculty member teaching the course.

Journal of Comparative Media Arts

The Journal of Comparative Media Arts is a newly established open-access, student-run, peer-reviewed journal, publishing the best of graduate and postgraduate essays, artworks and experimental content, created and run by MA students.

MORE INFO:  |  Read First Issue: FAILURE


Faculty Profile

Peter Dickinson

Peter Dickinson


Peter Dickinson is a Professor with a joint appointment in the School for the Contemporary Arts and the Department of English at SFU. He is also… More

Alumni Reflections

"The MA program in Comparative Media Arts is an incredible opportunity to connect with artists and scholars to explore both traditional mediums of artistic practice, such as painting and sculpture, alongside the exciting developments of new digital media technology, and all the ways art continues to impact society and culture. As a documentary filmmaker, the program introduced me to new philosophies and theories with which to approach work I have in development, rethink past experiences and inspired me to create new projects with fresh ideas. As part of the downtown Vancouver campus of SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts, it was incredibly rewarding to study amidst the incredible hub of artistic and community activity that is the Woodward’s complex. The small cohort of students in the MA program provided plenty of opportunity to work directly my academic supervisors and the flexibility of the program itself ensured I was able to focus on my own artistic, academic and professional goals. This unique combination art and media studies will definitely be an incredible asset to professional artists and cultural programmers of the future." - Bob Christie, Armour Film

sca works

  • Andean Horror Film Festival