Art & Design Programs and Degrees

What is Art & Design?

The Department of Art & Design comprises three divisions-Design Studies, Fine Arts, and the History of Art, Design and Visual Culture (HADVC)-offering seven areas of study for a flexible and multi-faceted program, allowing you to create your own experience.

Design Studies focuses on socially responsible and sustainable design in our Industrial Design (ID) and Visual Communication Design (VCD) areas. Designers create innovative solutions for industry and community that shape how our world looks and functions, from information design and environmental signage to the design of medical assistive devices.

Our Fine Art programs develop your ability to use your technical, formal, and critical thinking skills in order to explore contemporary issues through visual art. Learn to see the world more clearly while you build your drawing and painting skills; investigate video, installation and public art; learn traditional printmaking techniques and combine them with the latest digital technologies; or sculpt with welded steel, clay, plaster and anything else you can imagine.

History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture [HADVC] courses teach students to understand our visual world and its messages. From representations of sex and death in the Renaissance, to performing bodies in contemporary activist art, to China's design revolution, course topics range widely. Students explore practices of slow looking, learn how to pose original questions of art works, and engage in creative research projects including faculty/student curatorial projects and pop-up exhibitions in public spaces.

Why Study Art & Design at UAlberta?

Students customize their degree program by taking courses from all three program areas offered by the department, or focus primarily in one area, with the guidance of our award-winning instructors who are all practicing artists, designers and scholars. Art, Design and HADVC students also benefit from the opportunity to take courses in other departments and faculties at a leading research institution.

Each student can find the right balance of focus and flexibility; spend time in the hands-on environment of the studio, preparing yourself and your portfolio for the next steps in your Art & Design career, or focus on your academic skills, learning how to analyze and critique rather than create.

Experience Beyond the Classroom

Dynamic art & design student groups offer extra-curricular engagement throughout the year while non-credit trips to international cultural capitals are organized annually by faculty and staff.

Students have exchange opportunities with schools in Montreal, Germany, and Australia and study abroad opportunities in Cortona, Italy, and Berlin, Germany. Courses offered on campus regularly include community partners and guests, and Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Design students can get credit for professional development through internships or practicum-based courses.


  • Sub-disciplines within Art & Design
    Design Studies - design of furniture, products, photography, service design, user interface design, typography, spatial design, publication design, information design, illustration, design of apps and websites, moving image and motion graphics, medical assistive devices.

    Fine Arts - drawing, oil painting, acrylic painting, etching, lithography, silkscreen, intaglio and relief printmaking techniques, sculpture, welded steel, intermedia, installation, performance, digital media, time-based art; representational, abstract and conceptual practices; research methods.

    History of Art, Design and Visual Culture - historical development of art or design; analysis of visual imagery in the broader culture of any period from the early modern to contemporary periods in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, concentrating on fine and applied art, architecture, design, and visual culture.
  • What can I do with an Art & Design degree?
    Prepare for a career in Art & Design fields by expanding your creative potential and building your innovative problem solving, critical thinking, research abilities, and presentation skills. Graduates go on to practice as professional artists, photographers, curators, critical writers; app developers; designers of games, books, magazines, websites;designers of sports and medical products; work in galleries, museums, artist-run centres, communications offices or advertising agencies; or become teachers, professors, or architects following the completion of a graduate degree.

    HADVC students graduate with key transferable skills including visual literacy, leadership, critical awareness, and excellent written and oral communication skills that are highly prized by employers in fields including conservation and historic preservation, publishing, law, journalism, cultural policy, public relations, teaching, and curatorial or cultural sector work in Art Galleries and Museums.

If you're interested in Art & Design, you might also be interested in...

Arts and Cultural Management Certificate for International Learning
Certificate in European Studies Computer Game Development
Computing Science East Asian Studies
DH (Digital Humanities) Human Ecology
Native Studies Women's and Gender Studies
Creative Writing English and Film Studies

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