Alberta University of the Arts

Alberta College of Art + Design | Calgary, Alta. | Founded 1926

ACAD art studio

Students listen and observe to their instructor in their print class at the Alberta College of Art and Design. (Alberta College of Art and Design)

The Alberta University of the Arts offers a range of degree, diploma and certificate programs and is profiled in both the Maclean’s Universities Guidebook and the Maclean’s Colleges Guide. To learn more about the school’s degree programs, see the Universities Guidebook profile.

The Alberta University of the Arts, formerly known as the Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD), is particularly well-known for its complement of design and fine-crafts programs, including fibre, ceramics and jewellery and metals. It is one of the few Canadian institutions to offer glassworking programs and the only one to offer a four-year bachelor degree and an M.F.A. in the field. The school recently introduced a number of intriguing new minors, including 3D object design, animation and comics. Already, some of its most notable alumni work in the comics field, including Fiona Staples, Riley Rossmo and Eisner Award-nominee Tyler Jenkins.

Classes are small and there is an emphasis on studio experience and one-on-one instruction. The liberal arts are well integrated into the curriculum; first-year programs include courses on culture and art history. The school’s one building houses textile, glass and photography studios, as well as a metal shop and foundry.

Perched on top of the city’s North Hill, the campus overlooks the winding path of the Bow River and Calgary’s welcoming urban skyline. Downtown Calgary, with its galleries, museums and cultural events, is easily accessible via the C Train, and the Rocky Mountains are only an hour away by car.

READ: An insider’s guide to the best hangover breakfast, place to study and more on campus

Size of school Tuition (degree) Tuition (post-grad) Residence offerings
Small (fewer than 2,000 full-time students) $5,603 $6,250 Yes

Cool Options
• Glass: This degree is taught in a studio setting offering four furnaces and allowing off-hand glassblowing techniques. Students also explore the use of glass in conjunction with other media.
• Jewellery and Metals: The program trains students in laser welders, stonesetting, gemology, enamelling, and offers casting facilities. Students in third and fourth year have individual studio benches.
• Algorithmic and Parametric Object Design: This course investigates some of the most cutting-edge computational tools for design and fabrication. Rather than modelling objects, students set parameters to define geometry, producing an almost infinite number of unique iterations.

Popular Programs
• Graphic Design
• Advertising
• Illustration
• Character Design

More Schools: Southern Alberta Institute of TechnologyBow Valley CollegeMount Royal UniversityEmily Carr University of Art + DesignUniversity of Calgary