The foundation year comprises the first year of each of NSCAD’s undergraduate degrees. Many students specifically choose NSCAD because of the visual arts foundation component. These exploratory, interdisciplinary courses equip you with the critical skills required to thrive in an art school environment.

Undergraduate Degree

After exploring a wide range of ideas, approaches, processes and materials through the foundation year, students are well-equipped to focus their creative abilities and energies in the following years at NSCAD. This starts with the major that will mark their undergraduate degree.

The degree programs at NSCAD are designed to provide a balance of theory and practice. Courses offer credit either as studio credit or as liberal arts and science credits. Studio courses focus on the production of art, craft and/or design, through studio practice and related theory. Liberal arts and sciences courses focus principally on the written and verbal analysis and interpretation of historical and/or contemporary culture materials.

Enhanced by its setting within an art school, the Major in Art History program enables you to take studio courses while concentrating on the critical discourse surrounding the social production and reception of art.

Enhanced by its setting within an art school, the Major in Art History (non-studio) program enables you to study the critical discourse surrounding the social production and reception of art.
The Bachelor of Design, Major in Interdisciplinary Design is a unique program that takes a distinctly collaborative and process-oriented approach. Because the field of design covers a range of services and products that fuse human factors, technology and aesthetics, the program will equip you with a variety of skills, including analytical and imaginative thinking, visualization techniques, drawing, typography and photography, as well as an understanding of production processes. You will also learn to communicate and solve problems across a broad range of media and contexts, including communication, interaction and product design.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Ceramics offers students an opportunity to explore the media and practices of ceramics. You will study vessel, sculptural and architectural ceramics and examine the relationships between design, materials, colour, process and techniques. An awareness of historical and contemporary issues in ceramics and the relationship between ceramics and other disciplines (such as fine art, design and architecture) will also enable you to develop an informed perspective on your work and write critically about the discipline.
Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing students explore the media and practices of jewellery and hollowware while engaging in critical discussions about content and form. The program offers a broad-based metals education, including studies of art jewellery, hollowware, product design and metal business practice. After developing basic technical skills, you will move on to more advanced technical procedures and carve out your own individual artistic practice.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Textiles and Fashion program balances conceptual concerns with the technical and design skills required to understand the traditions of weaving, dye and print, and garment making. You will explore the relationships between materials, processes and the maker, as well as the critical role that textiles and fashion have played in world cultures. Focusing on sustainable and organic materials and techniques, the program both maintains handcraft values and incorporates new digital methodologies.
The principal courses of the Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Fine Art program offer opportunities to explore the media and practices of four different disciplines: drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. After the second year, you will progress to more advanced study in a chosen area. You will continue to take courses from at least two different disciplines to satisfy your studio credits, as well as art history classes and open credits from other divisions. This requirement ensures that you graduate with a well-rounded visual arts education across disciplines.
The Major in Expanded Media allows you to explore a diverse range of visual arts interests from an interdisciplinary approach during studio classes such as language into art, idea and process and media landscapes.  These courses are also designed to provide senior level students with the opportunity for independent study and internship placements.
Our extensive film program offers you an opportunity to explore the practice, history, theory and analysis of film production and film art. The program combines comprehensive course options in different film production techniques with an academic overview to the history a theory of film arts. Our film program provides you with a broad understanding of the film production process, as well as the opportunity to create and develop your own projects. The Major in Film allows you to explore film as an art form while preparing for the complex industry of filmmaking. With a focus on hands-on learning, the program weaves together currents of dramatic, documentary and experimental film practice. In collaborative projects, students rotate among many roles: writing, acting, direction, producing, cinematography, production design, editing and sound design. Assignments progressively challenge you to create more ambitious work while gaining experience in location and studio processes, leading to a final-year thesis project.
The Major in Photography is designed to balance your acquisition of technical skill with the theoretical and conceptual tools required by you as a photographic artist. You will explore the dynamic technical and historical relationships photography has to the world of visual representation. The photography program is designed to teach you essential skills in a variety of digital and analogue formats, with an emphasis on conceptual development. The Major in Photography prepares you to continue your artistic practice, provides you the skills required to work as a professional photographer, and provides the necessary requirements for you to continue on to graduate studies.
The Major in Interdisciplinary Arts offers students the opportunity to explore a variety of media and practices in the areas of fine arts, media arts, craft, and design. This program enables you to tailor your studies to your individual interests as an artist. Students will develop a range of skills, knowledge and techniques that foster cross disciplinary ways of working. As you engage in the critical discourses of your chosen disciplines, you will gain an understanding of diverse practices and approaches, historical and contemporary issues, and the relationship between conceptual concerns, material, and process.


Within the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program, double majors may be completed–allowing students to focus on two main areas of interest. The requirements for both major programs must be completed prior to graduation in order for the double major to be awarded. Students who are doing the Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Interdisciplinary Arts cannot do a double major. Students considering a double major are strongly encouraged to first discuss the double major with respective program chairs, and then meet with their academic advisor to plan their programs of study.

Students whose interests lie in two different degree programs, for example in both the BFA Interdisciplinary and the BA in Art History programs, should consult with the registrar.


In addition to their major area, students may add a minor to their program, selected from any of the current minors, including:

– Minor in Animation
– Minor in Art Education
– Minor in Ceramics
– Minor in Contemporary Culture
– Minor in Drawing
– Minor in Fashion
– Minor in Film Studies
– Minor in Illustration
– Minor in Indigenous Studies
– Minor in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing
– Minor in Journalism Studies
– Minor in Print, Paper, Book
– Minor in Textiles

Make sure to check the Academic Calendar to find out which minors can be added to your program, and to confirm the course requirements.

Please note, students who wish to declare a minor must submit a minor declaration form.

Featured Alumni


BFA 1998, DFA 2015

“NSCAD changed my life. It’s where I learned to express myself.” Tanya Tagaq Gillis (BFA 1998, DFA 2015) is an avant-garde artist who has won a Polaris Prize and multiple Juno Awards. Her first novel, Split Tooth, is the winner of the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award. She is also a member of the Order of Canada.


BFA 2006

“NSCAD lets you try on different hats, experiment and explore. People are so driven and focused. You get a high from it that you don’t get from anything else.” Sydney Smith (BFA 2006) is a children’s book illustrator and winner of the Governor General’s Award for illustrated children’s books, TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, Britain’s Kate Greenaway Medal, and the Atlantic Book Awards’ Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration.


BFA 2003

“NSCAD is where I learned how to see, and that’s crossed over to all aspects of my life.” Heather Igloliorte (BFA 2003) is Canada’s pre-eminent Inuk Art Scholar. She is a curator, artist and Concordia University Research Chair in Indigenous Art History and Community Engagement.


BFA 2008

“At NSCAD, I learned work is never done and the evolution of your mind and eye is imperative for real growth.” Akshay Tyagi (BFA 2008) Fashion innovator, Bollywood costume designer and stylist.”