Visual and Material Culture Studies courses and programs | Mount Allison


The minor in visual communication and culture requires 24 credits, as follows:

  • VMCS1201
  • VMCS2111 or CANA2201
  • VMCS3201 or EXPL3001
  • 2 from VMCS1801, 2111, 3241, 3811, 1991, 2991, 3991, 4950, 4951, 4991
  • 3 from one of our streams, which include
    • (1) Art Historical, Visual, and Cultural Contexts
    • (2) Visuality in the Performing Arts
    • (3) Media and Popular Culture Studies
    • (4) Archeological and Classical Contexts
    • (5) Indigenous Perspectives
    • (6) The Arts, Culture, and Creative Industries
    • (7) Images and Visual Representation in Cultural and Geographic Settings

Program advisor

Dr. Christina Ionescu
(506) 364-2487


Full list of VMCS courses

VMCS1201 Introduction to Visual Culture: The Power of Images and Viewers
No pre-requisite

VMCS1301 Introduction to Material Culture: Knowledge and Its Textures
No pre-requisite

VMCS1801 Paris, City of Light
No pre-requisite

VMCS2111 Maps and Empire: Uncovering the Instruments of Imperial Ambition
No pre-requisite

VMCS2991B Bridging Cultural Differences: Introduction to Intercultural Communication
No pre-requisite

VMCS3101 The Colonising Word: Textual Culture and the Persistence of Colonialism
Requires second-year standing or permission of the department

VMCS3201 The Innovative Gaze: Snapshots of Visual Culture in the City
Requires either VMCS1201 or 1301 or permission of the department

VMCS3241 Field Course in Visual Culture: Culture in the City
No pre-requisite

VMCS3811 Images and Texts / Images et Textes
Requires second-year standing or permission of the department; taught in English


VMCS offers two certificates. Register now by completing the declaration to pursue a certificate form to declare your intent to complete a VMCS certificate.

Certificate in Visual Literacy and Culture (6 credits)

Visual literacy is indispensable in our information age and global economy. To be successful in navigating careers and personal lives, twenty-first-century students must acquire the critical and analytical skills required to expertly decode visual communication, describe and interpret images and visual representation, use visual materials proficiently and creatively, and grasp the impact of visual culture.

This certificate is thus intended as accreditation for students who develop visual literacy skills in order to enhance their post-graduation employment prospects in industry sectors where images, visuality, and viewing practices play an important role (e.g. the arts, culture, and creative industries; communications and media relations; government and not-for-profit leadership; heritage and conservation; journalism and publishing; tourism; and marketing and advertising).

Visual literacy is extremely useful in a range of workplace tasks, such as designing professional presentations and websites, creating efficient systems of organizing verbal and visual information, mapping out collective problem solving, and communicating competently with a wide spectrum of demographics (designated by age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, etc.).

This certificate will also be beneficial to students seeking admission to competitive professional or graduate schools, such as medicine, engineering, and education, which increasingly recognizes the significance of an observant eye and visual analysis skills.

Certificate in Intercultural Communication and Global Citizenship

The Certificate in Intercultural Communication and Global Citizenship combines the study of intercultural communication — which is the transmission and reception of verbal and non-verbal messages across languages and cultures — with the practical application of this knowledge in an international or a culturally-other setting.

In the age of cultural, economic, and social globalization, competence in intercultural communication is not only important but indispensable. Understanding how a wide spectrum of cultures act, communicate and perceive the world around them opens windows into multiple cultural realities and frameworks.

The certificate aims to equip students with knowledge and skillsets that are essential in the Canadian multicultural society and the global workforce. Classroom teaching provides students with valuable information, perspectives, considerations, and insights that facilitate cross-cultural communication, while experiential learning gives them an opportunity to employ a range of tools and strategies to navigate effectively and sensitive intercultural encounters in authentic settings.

Through course work and applied learning, students play the role of cultural mediators to reflect on their own cultural identity and interactions with cultural others, deconstruct cultural templates and frames of reference, analyze past and present intercultural encounters and conflict, and interpret standards and values as embedded in various contexts of expression (pictures, advertisements, texts, films, etc.).

By adopting a global identity and mindset, students will learn to assess their cultural footprint, expand their cultural horizons, and interact with people of different cultural backgrounds and alternative viewpoints using self-awareness, sensitivity, and empathy to bridge the culture divide.

The certificate thus prepares students to engage in intercultural dialogue in order to enable them to play an active part in the global experience, make a difference in multicultural communities, and enhance their employment prospects.