Visual Art (BA)

at UBC's

Vancouver Campus

This program is similar to a general liberal arts degree with an emphasis on the practice of visual art. Held in studio environments, visual art classes foster individual creative production and visual literacy in a lively atmosphere of instructor-led debate, discussion, and critique.

Why this program?

  • Take courses in a well-rounded program of visual art practice, critical theory, and art history, within a stimulating and challenging academic environment.
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Program information

  • Campus: Vancouver
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts
  • Degree: Bachelor of Arts
  • Length 4 yrs
  • Co-op Yes
    You can combine your studies with full-time, paid work at top local and international organizations.
  • Honours No
    You can study intense specialization in a single field.

Visual Art involves the exploration and practice of different artistic media, in combination with developing an understanding of visual culture. In this program you will enjoy a combination of visual art practice, academics, and a broad range of elective courses, while having ample room for study in other areas of interest (including a minor or second major). Visual art courses foster individual creative production, and art history and academic electives develop visual literacy in a lively atmosphere of instructor-led debate, discussion, and critique.

You will explore art-making in at least four different media areas – including digital art, photography, painting, sculpture, drawing, and print media – and will develop your writing and research skills in art history and electives. Progressing in the visual art program, you will focus on your chosen media areas and combine those areas with research-based writing or a second area of study. Awareness of art’s history and visual culture will empower you to create and discuss visual objects – approaching everything from traditional painting to online media with a developed and critical eye.

Experiential learning and research

Every academic year brings new opportunities for research, new exhibitions, and new ways for students to engage with the wider art community. These projects range from exhibitions that address the connections between art and technology, to funded sculpture installations on heritage sites.

Each year the graduating Visual Art students mount a major exhibition in our gallery and studio spaces. We even offer a course, VISA 475 Exhibition Theory and Practice, that allows you to take leading roles and gain experience in mounting a major exhibition – and earn credits while doing it.

Campus features

The Audain Art Centre offers students in the Visual Art program a central location, including learning-labs and the AHVA Gallery. The third floor offers space for visual art undergraduates to gather and connect with their peers in a supportive and inclusive environment.

Housed in the Audain Art Centre, the UBC Printmedia Research Centre provides a dynamic learning and research environment for the production of visual art in all major print media. This well-equipped facility allows for an integrated approach to print media that fosters a union of digital-image generation with traditional and contemporary intaglio, relief, screen, and lithographic printmaking processes, as well as letterpress and bookbinding procedures.

Life at UBC's Vancouver campus

Visual Art students at UBC’s Vancouver campus enjoy specialized facilities and art-making studios. The best of both worlds, the program offers small, unique spaces on a sprawling and diverse campus.

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Your future

The flexibility of the Visual Art program allows you to creatively pair art-making with other areas of study, which empowers you to be a flexible and dynamic employee in a broad range of career paths. People who are equipped to create and respond critically to visual objects are increasingly valuable.

The Visual Art program equips you with the tools and skills necessary to work professionally in visual fields, as well as to pursue further studies in related fields such as architecture or urban design. You will also have the foundation to pursue other careers and fields of studies that require an arts degree – for example education, MBA, law, and library and archival studies.

Program requirements

English-language requirements

English is the language of instruction at UBC. All prospective students must demonstrate English-language competency prior to admission. There are numerous ways to meet the English Language Admission Standard.

General admission requirements

IB Diploma Programme

  • Completed IB Diploma, including at least three Higher Level courses.

IB Certificate Courses

  • IB Certificate courses (Standard and Higher Level) may be used in an admissions average if you are graduating from a recognized high school curriculum that can be used as your basis of admission.
  • IB Math Applications and Interpretations SL, or IB Math Studies, do not satisfy the math requirement for admission to UBC’s science-based programs, the Faculty of Management, the UBC Sauder School of Business, or the Vancouver School of Economics.

Degree-specific requirements: Arts

  • No specific courses required beyond those needed for general admission

Related courses

The following subject categories are particularly relevant for this degree. Consider taking courses in these areas in your junior year and senior year.

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics and Computation
  • Second Languages
  • Social Studies
  • Visual and Performing Arts
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