Art & Design

Undergraduate Programs

Printmaking student work by Suzi Barlow

What’s an “Undergraduate,” anyway?

We know that “undergraduate” is a term that some high school students have not heard before. If you are interested in starting or completing your first university degree (called a “Bachelor’s degree"), then you are in the right place, whether you are coming to us straight from high school, transferring from another U of A degree program, or transferring from another university or college.

To learn more about our different studio areas and potential careers, please visit the Areas of Study section of the website. To learn more about each Undergraduate degree option, please continue exploring this section.

Light drawing exploration in a first-year fundamentals course

Why Study Here?

Award-winning Instructors

Our instructors are all practicing artists, designers and academics. Here is a selection of recent success stories from our outstanding professors:

  • Sue Colberg, Associate Professor in Visual Communication Design, tied for first place at the Alcuin Society Book Design Awards in the category of “Prose Non-Fiction Illustrated” for her work on The Body in Question.
  • Sean Caulfield, Centennial Professor in the Department of Art & Design, was awarded The Special Award of the Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts at the 2015 International Print Triennial in Krakow for his print “The Flood.”
  • Lianne McTavish, Professor in History of Art, Design and Visual Culture was a awarded a 2016 Killam Annual Professorship which supports research, scholarship, and creative activities to advance objectives in the fine arts, humanities, and social sciences. You can read more about Professor McTavish’s activities, research and publications on her blog, Feminist Figure Girl.
  • Royden Mills, Contract Academic in Sculpture and Art Fundamentals, won a 2014 William Hardy Alexander Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching which recognizes teaching excellence by academic staff. Roy is an exceptional, long-standing sculpture instructor who is known for being extremely generous with students. As one student wrote in a letter of support, “Mr. Mills believes in the potential of students in such a way as I do not believe I will ever witness again in my life.”

Interdisciplinary Studio Programs

  • Flexibility to focus on one or two studio areas, or choose to broaden your research with courses from all of our studio areas
  • Develop your creative practices with inspiration from our History of Art, Design and Visual Culture courses
  • Choose your options courses from Departments all over campus

Small Classes

  • Art and Design studio courses range from 12–30 students
  • Most studio classes have only ~15 students, so you get lots of contact time with your instructors
  • Develop great working relationships with your classmates to last throughout your degree, and beyond

International Travel and Exchanges

Undergraduate students in our Department have several international travel and exchange opportunities, in addition to the freedom to plan their own study abroad experience.

  • Design student exchange with Münster University of Applied Sciences in Germany:
    The Department of Art and Design has a formal exchange agreement that allows students to study during their third year at the University of Applied Sciences in Münster, Germany. Courses taken in Germany count toward the University of Alberta Bachelor of Design degree or the Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Art and Design degree. Students are not required to speak German to participate in this exchange, but are encouraged to study some German prior to, or during their studies at MUAS. Students attend the University in Germany but pay U of A tuition on *15 in each term.
  • School in Cortona, Italy:
    Our students can choose to take advantage of this opportunity to travel to Cortona, Italy and enrol in UAlberta courses that take advantage of this unique Tuscan location. University of Alberta professors conduct regular classroom lectures in English on diverse topics like Renaissance Art, Roman Civilization and Political Science.
    Instead of studying it in a textbook, students actually travel to see Michelangelo's David. Instead of reading about architecture of the sixteenth century, students live in a converted monastery dating back to the 1500s. Studying at the School in Cortona is more than just attending lectures—it's about immersing yourself in a cultural experience.
  • e3 program:
    The University of Alberta’s e3 summer program is a unique education abroad program offering students 3 experiences in 1 location. e3 is different because it’s flexible. Students may combine up to three of the following program components during their summer abroad: German language study, internship placement (work or research), and academic coursework.
  • Yearly Faculty-organized Art and Design Trips:
    Students from our degree programs can choose to participate in trips over Reading Week to destinations like Berlin, London, New York, Paris, Barcelona

Student Groups and Shows

We are very proud of the activities and initiatives of our Visual Art Student Association and Student Design Association. You can see more about their exhibitions and members here:

Degrees Connected to over 150 Careers

For information about careers related to our Department and programs, please visit the Areas of Study pages.

The possibilities are endless:

Artist / Teacher / Architect / Architectural Critic / Game Designer / Architectural Graphic Artist / Environmental Designer / Art Educator/ Curator / Web Site Designer / Colour Analyst / Landscape Designer
/ Model Builder / Marine Architect / Playground Designer / Dyer / Theme Park Designer / Interior Designer
/ Exhibit and Display Designer / Environmental Planner / Antique Specialist / Design Consultant / Floral Designer / Advertising Art Director / Fashion Art Director / Window Display Designer / Billboard Designer / Master printer / Television Art Director / Glass Blower / Art Therapist / eBook Designer / Block Engraver / Film Scene Painter / Film Animator / Book Designer / Graphic Arts Technician / Stencil Maker / Set Designer
/ Greeting Card Designer / Museum Coordinator / Publications Designer / Product Designer / Furniture Designer / Communications Designer / Automobile Designer / Industrial Designer / Lighting Designer / Production Photographer / Promotion Designer / Illustrator / Poster Artist / Lithographer / Retail Art Director
/ Silk Screen Artist / Sketch Artist / Typographer / Cinematographer / Costume Designer / Stage Design / Film Editor / Makeup Artists / Storyboard Illustrator / Film Animator / Film Lab Technician / Legal Photographer
/ Museum Photographer / Aerial Photographer / Commercial Photographer / Photo Journalist / Fashion Illustrator / Fashion Designer / Fabric Designer / Patternmaker / Painter / Special Effects Artist / Camera Operator / Landscape Architect / Wedding Photographer / Caricaturist / App Designer / Cartoonist / Medical Illustrator / Technical Illustrator / Bookbinder / Photographer / Art Restorer / Botanical Designer / Children’s Book Illustrator / Multimedia Artist / Video Editor / Performance Artist / Creative Director