Top 10 Best Art Schools in Canada

Art has been around for as long as our world has been. And since it’s a field that is as old as time itself, it has undergone so many changes and developments.

First, we see art begin with the traditional forms like painting and drawing, but over time, we see the forms evolve. Now, aside from painting and drawing, we also get to see other art forms like photography, animation and game design, fashion design, interior design, and even virtual reality art. In other words, art has now become a massive field of study, and as of right now, we literally see products of art everywhere.

That is why it makes sense that there are so many aspiring artists out there. And for these aspiring artists, they’d want to find a way to develop their abilities. They want to become the best artist that they can be. The only problem is: this is not really an easy thing to do since art takes a lot of time to master. But luckily, this is a problem that has an answer. If you want to hone your artistic skills, then what you must do is to attend an art school.

By now you must be wondering where you can go to study art in Canada at a reasonable cost

Related article: How Much Does Art Class Cost in Toronto?

10 Reputable Art Schools in Canada

Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts)

  • Location: Calgary, Alberta
  • Tuition Fee (Annually): $4,356.60 (Canadian students), $13,792.80 (international students)

Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts), formerly known as Alberta College of Art + Design, is a publicly funded Canadian degree-granting art and design university located in Calgary, Alberta. It was established back in 1973, and since then, it has focused on creating a studio-based experience for students in fine art, new media, and design. One of their prominent degrees is the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (BFA), and the university offers it in the following majors: painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, fibre, glass, jewelry and metalworking, print media, and media arts and technologies. Students aiming to get this degree can do so on either a full-time or a part-time basis.

Aside from the BFA degree, another degree that AUArts offers is the Bachelor of Design (BDes) degree. And this degree is offered in the majors of Photography and Visual Communication. Both of these majors are full-time 4-year courses that also include some evening classes.

The University of Alberta, Department of Fine Art

  • Location: Edmonton, Alberta
  • Tuition Fee (Per Semester): $2,588.40 (Canadian students), $17,995.20 (international students)

The University of Alberta is an educational institution established by Norwegian emigrants way back in 1910, and it is considered as one of the top 100 teaching and research universities in the world. The institution’s Department of Art is divided into three main areas: Visual Arts, Music, and Drama. Some of the majors and studio practices that it offers to students include painting, drawing, sculpture (clay, found objects, plaster, paper, wood, and foam blocks), and digital imaging.

The most popular degree offered by the University of Alberta, Department of Art is the Bachelor of Arts (degree). This usually takes about four years of study. Aside from that, those students who are not taking this degree as a major can choose to take it as a minor.

Concordia University, Department of Visual Arts

  • Location: Montreal, Quebec
  • Tuition Fee (Annually): $3,600 (Canadian students), $19,390 (international students; for 3 terms)

Concordia University was founded back in 1974 by the merger of Sir George Williams University (1926) and Loyola College (1896). Its Department of Visual Arts offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. And this degree is offered in the following courses: Art Education Visual Arts, History of Art, Cinema, Design and Communication Arts, and Creative Arts Therapies and Studio Arts. Aside from the Visual Arts Department, Concordia University also has a Department of Performing Arts, and it offers Contemporary Dance, Performance Art, Theatre, and Music.

Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design

  • Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Tuition Fee (Annually): $3,300 (in-state students), $11,000 (out-of-state students)

The Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design was founded back in 1925, and it is one of Canada’s top universities that specialize in art, design education, and research. The undergraduate degrees, which offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts, provides the students with majors in different kinds of art. Some of these include painting, drawing, ceramics, print media, sculpture, illustration and digital arts, animation, film/video/integrated media, critical and cultural practices, fine arts, and creative writing. Aside from BFA, Emily Carr University also offers a Bachelor of Design (BDes) degree, and this is offered in the majors of communication design, industrial design, and interaction design.

The undergraduate degrees offered by Emily Carr Institute take about four years of study, and they combine together art and design theory with studio practice. Moreover, the institution also offers a Master of Applied Arts degree, and it is a two-year professional program that allows students to prepare for a career in fields of visual arts, design, media, and other creative industries.

George Brown College, Center for Arts and Design

  • Location: Toronto, Ontario
  • Tuition Fee (Annually): $3,312, $11,000 (postgraduate courses)

The George Brown College Center for Arts and Design is divided into three schools: School of Design, School of Fashion Studies, and School of Performing Arts. All three schools offer undergraduate and postgraduate programs as well as a postgraduate qualification in a variety of design disciplines such as interdisciplinary design strategy, digital design/games design, and advanced digital design.

Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD)

  • Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Tuition Fee (Annually): $11,408


Founded way back in 1887, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) offers three undergraduate degrees: Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Design (BDes), and Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). These degrees usually take up four years of study, and they require two semesters of foundation studies. There are five main areas of undergraduate study:

  1. Crafts: textiles, ceramics, and jewelry design and metalsmithing
  2. Design: interdisciplinary design, digital design, graphic design, and product design
  3. Fine art: painting, drawing, printmaking, and sculpture
  4. Historical and critical studies: the history of art, liberal arts, English and other critical analysis courses
  5. Media arts: photography, film, and intermedia

The students can choose to major any of the courses mentioned in these five areas.

Aside from the degrees, NSCAD also offers two certificate programs: the Visual Arts Certificate in Studio and the Visual Arts Certificate for Teachers.

Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U)

  • Location: Toronto, Ontario
  • Tuition Fee (per semester): $6,995

Out of all the universities in Canada, the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) is the one that offers the widest variety of visual arts and design programs. OCAD U offers five degrees: Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Design (BDes), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), and Master of Design (MDes).

BFA majors offered are the following: drawing and painting, printmaking, photography, integrated media, and criticism and curatorial practice. As for BDes, the majors are material art and design, advertising, industrial design, graphic design, illustration, and environmental design. And then for graduate degrees, OCAD U offers Masters in Art, Media, and Design, Advertising, Contemporary Art, Design, and New Media, Art Histories, Digital Futures, Strategic Foresight and Innovation, Design, and Criticism and Curatorial Practice.

Yukon School of Visual Arts (SOVA)

  • Location: Dawson City, Yukon
  • Tuition (per semester): $1,620

The Yukon School of Visual Arts (SOVA) is the most northern school in Canada that offers art programs. SOVA offers a Foundation Year Program, which is equivalent to the first year of a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. What this means is that the students finish their first year at SOVA then finish their degrees at their choice of the four partnering art schools across Canada. These four are the OCAD U, the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, AUArts, and the NSCAD.

The Foundation Year Program is made up of six studio studies courses and four liberal studies courses. The studio studies include principles and practices of drawing, printmaking and paper (the use of collage, beading, relief printmaking techniques and handmaking paper), principles and practices of drawing, and colour and painting (oils, acrylics, watercolours, colour pencils, etc.). Additionally, students can choose to study sculpture, time-based media (production, performance art, and conceptual art), art words (how to write professional artist biographies, project descriptions, etc.), and cultural studies.

The New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (NBCCD)

  • Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
  • Tuition Fee (Full-Time): around $1,000 (Canadian students), $6,630 (international students)

The New Brunswick College of Craft and Design (NBCCD) is the only one of its kind in Canada as it focuses entirely on fine craft and applied design. In this school, the curriculum features a studio-based education with a hands-on entrepreneurship focus.

The programs offered in this school include two-year Diplomas in Aboriginal Visual Arts, Ceramics, Digital media, Fashion Design, Graphic Design, Jewelry/Metal Arts, Photography, and Textile Design. NBCCD also offers one-year Certificate programs in Foundational Visual Arts and Advanced Studio Practice. Aside from the Diploma and Certificate programs, a four-year Bachelor of Applied Arts (BAA) degree is also offered in partnership with the University of New Brunswick (UNB).

Ottawa School of Art

  • Location: Byward Market, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Tuition Fee (per course/per term): $375

The Ottawa School of Art is a non-profit art school in downtown Ontario. It offers a one-year certificate program, a three-year diploma program, art camps, and general interest courses. The specialized art courses that the school offers include life drawing, landscape painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture, lithography, watercolour, etching, printmaking, and many more. Additionally, the school also provides exhibition space and a boutique for the display and sale of artwork by local artists and students.


Art has dominated our world right, and it will continue to dominate until the end of time. With this, it is understandable why so many people have fallen in love with art and why they want to pursue a career out of it. But before an aspiring artist can do so, they must first attend an art school so that they can learn more about art and put to practice what they've learned. In other words, aspiring artists should go to an art school because it is in an art school where they get to hone their skills.

There are a lot of art schools located in Canada, and the ten mentioned are mere suggestions. So, figure out what your artistic passion is, look up these schools (and those others that are not mentioned), and see if they offer programs for that art form. Then prepare yourself to attend thereby making your art portfolio since some universities require one before entering. Nevertheless, you will definitely not regret going to an art school of your choice. This is because that’s where you’ll get the chance to become the best artist that you can be.

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