Alberta University of the Arts

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

Alberta University of the Arts student wearing goggles in art class

(A Nichols/AUARTS)

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 diploma programs, see the Colleges Guide profile.

With its focus on the studio experience, Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts) is particularly well-known for its complement of art, design and craft programs, including illustration, character design, jewellery and metals, sculpture and ceramics. It is also one of the few Canadian institutions to offer glass programs and the only one to offer a four-year bachelor’s degree and an M.F.A. in glass.

Responding to calls from students, the institution, formerly known as Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD), separated from SAIT Polytechnic in 1985. In 2018, it achieved full university status, reflected in its new name. “As we celebrate our first year as a university, and almost 100 years as an institution, Alberta University of the Arts proudly recognizes its alumni who not only drive the creative economy but shape our visual culture,” says president Daniel Doz.

Classes are small and there is an emphasis on one-on-one instruction. The liberal arts are also well integrated, and first-year programs include courses on critical and creative practices and art history. The single campus building houses a professional art gallery, studios for fibre, glass, ceramics and jewellery, a metal shop, foundry and wood shop.

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

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Standout Programs
Fibre: Students get hands-on experience with a range of processes, including weaving, tapestry, papermaking and mixed media, as well as digital approaches to design.
Print Media: Students explore the origins and traditions of printmaking and its modern forms while creating new forms of expression. The program incorporates student exchange exhibits, travel scholarships, field trips and technical research.
Critical and Creative Studies: This program links studio practice with liberal arts courses, including art history and natural studies; an emphasis on critical thinking skills teaches students to understand and create art in an informed and socially responsible way.

Cool Courses
Survey of Manga in Translation: Study the history of Japanese sequential art over the past century, including how it relates to local, national and worldwide settings.
Advertising/Out of the Box: Learn about the ways viral advertising campaigns are developed, including non-traditional “guerilla viral” approaches.

$5,646 (includes compulsory ancillary fees)
Minimum Entering Grades
Arts: 60%, plus portfolio
Student Body
Undergraduates: Full-time: 1,083 · Part-time: 250
Graduates: Full-time: 6
International Students: First-year: 8.3%
Male-Female Ratio: 25 to 75
Housing facts
Residence Spaces: No residence on campus, but students can apply for residence at nearby SAIT Polytechnic

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