Visual Art (BFA)

at UBC's

Vancouver Campus

The BFA Visual Art program focuses on visual art practice, critical theory, and art history while providing an excellent foundation in a variety of fields involving the making and understanding of visual art and contemporary aesthetics.

This program is also offered at UBC's Okanagan Campus
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Why this program?

  • Learn in a studio-focused, intensive program within a world-renowned research university.
  • Enjoy a dynamic combination of hands-on, practical learning, and academic breadth.
  • Study within a small, active cohort, while having access to a sweeping range of other fields of study.
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Program information

  • Campus: Vancouver
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts
  • Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Length 4 yrs
  • Co-op Yes
    You can combine your studies with full-time, paid work at top local and international organizations.
  • Honours Yes
    You can study intense specialization in a single field.

The study of Visual Art involves the exploration and practice of different artistic media, in combination with developing an understanding of visual culture. In the BFA Visual Art program you will explore art-making in at least four different media areas: digital art, photography (digital and analog), painting, drawing, sculpture, and print media. As you progress in the visual art program, you’ll focus more on your chosen areas and learn how to combine those areas to produce artworks that reflect your unique artistic style. 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

Creative thinkers and problem-solvers are widely sought after. 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 a wide range of contemporary visual art fields, to pursue a Master of Fine Arts, or to go on to further studies in related fields, such as education, architecture, and interior design. You will also have the foundation to pursue other careers and studies requiring an arts degree – for example law, MBA, and library and archival studies.

Program graduates

  • Mixed-media artist
  • Photographer
A Fine Arts student screen printing

UBC stories

Multimedia artist and Visual Art student Patrick finds inspiration in everything from his philosophy seminars to the Vancouver skyline.

Patrick O'Neill, Visual Art Read the full story

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: Fine Arts (direct-entry specializations only; excludes Creative Writing)

  • No specific courses required beyond those needed for general admission
  • Audition or portfolio

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
  • Social Studies
  • Visual and Performing Arts
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