A Sampling of Canada’s Outstanding Art and Design Schools


(from one ocean to the other)

If you are looking for an outstanding artistic education, you’re in luck: Canada can boast a plethora of fabulous art and design schools from one coast to another. Whichever part of the country you feel drawn to, and whatever artistic passion you want to follow—whether it be painting, weaving, jewelry design or just about any other artistic field—there’s a program out there for you.

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Here’s a sampling of some of the finest Art and Design Universities Canada has to offer:

Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD)

Founded in Toronto in 1876, the Ontario College of Art and Design is Canada’s oldest institution of art and design. It is also the largest art and design university in Canada (the 3rd largest in North America) and offers the greatest variety of programs: 17 undergraduate programs and 7 graduate programs. Some of the cool degree options include Environmental Design, Design for Health and Criticism & Curatorial Practice.

Nova Scotia’s College of Art and Design University (NSCAD)

Founded in 1877, Nova Scotia’s College of Art and Design was the first art school to gain degree-granting ability. NSCAD has 4 campuses in downtown Halifax—the primary is a beautiful Victorian building. NSCAD emphasizes an interdisciplinary university experience by requiring a two year foundation in which the student experiments with four disciplines: drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. Students then choose their area of focus for their major and begin a more advanced study for the subsequent years.

NSCAD takes pride in bringing a rich history together with a strong connection to the contemporary Canadian art scene.

Emily Carr University of Art and Design

This Vancouver based art school was founded in 1925 and now offers 9 undergraduate degrees and 3 graduate degrees. The school is named for the iconic Canadian artist, writer and environmentalist Emily Carr. She was inspired by the Pacific Northwest where she lived and worked and her great reverence for the native peoples of this land comes through in her work.

One of the oldest post-secondary institutions in British Columbia, it is currently the only one solely dedicated to art and design education. Emily Carr is unique for its focus on applied research in the field of visual arts, media arts and design: It is a school that explores the way in which creativity shapes the world.

In 2015, Emily Carr was the only art and design school in Canada to be listed in the prestigious QS World University Rankings, which bases its criteria on a combination of academic peer review, employer reputation and research impact, as well as additional factors.

Emily Carr also offers certificate programs throughout the year, for the broader community to engage in art too.

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Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD)

The only art, craft and design college in Alberta, ACAD was founded in 1926 and is located in the heart of Calgary. This small college, with a student to faculty ratio of 16:1 and an average class size of 15 students, ensures plenty of personal attention. The school also prides itself on its high quality and spacious studios as well as being among the most affordable of Canada’s Art and Design Schools.

At ACAD, you can obtain a Bachelor of Design or a Bachelor of Fine Arts with 11 areas of focus to choose from (such as photography, ceramics, painting and jewelry making) with the additional option of working across disciplines. ACAD also offers a Master of Fine Arts in Craft Media.

In addition to having an excellent faculty of practicing artists, ACAD also features a visiting artist program, so you can learn from excellent artists from all over the world.

Concordia Faculty of Fine Arts

A subdivision of Concordia University, the Concordia Faculty of Fine Arts is located in the midst of the diverse and energetic art scene of vibrant Montreal.  The Faculty of Fine Arts has distinguished itself as a superb university for studying fine arts and has even been placed in the top 10% for Art and Design schools worldwide by QS.

Concordia emphasizes a healthy integration of new technologies with traditional medias and fine arts practices. With 9 departments within their Faculty of Fine Arts—including Art Education, Art History, Studio Art, Theatre, Music, Contemporary Dance, Creative Arts Therapies and Design and Computation Arts— Concordia offers the widest range of fine arts programs in one faculty. They also have a number of graduate programs to choose from.

See also: Does Canadian English exists