Alberta University of the Arts

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

AUARTS students in a lounge

(Courtesy of Alberta University of the Arts)

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, glass, sculpture and ceramics. Its selection of minors—animation, comics, object design and fabrication—is expanding. AUArts also offers an M.F.A. in craft media. Students can choose from four areas of focus: glass, ceramics, fibre, and jewellery and metals.

“At Alberta University of the Arts, the study of art, craft and design is a search. It is an exploration of ideas, a celebration of creativity and an understanding of what connects us to the world,” says president Daniel Doz. “It is a way of seeing, a way of thinking about the tools and materials we use, the clothing we wear, the world we inhabit.”

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, a foundry and a wood shop. Many programs also provide students with personal studio spaces in their third and fourth years.

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
• Visual Communication Design: Students choose from two streams: advertising and graphic design, or character design and illustration.
• Comics: This minor includes courses on narrative and storytelling, drawing the human figure, silkscreening and animation.
• Media Arts: Focusing on interactivity and art that integrates technology, students learn to use sensors, circuits, mechanical devices and software, as well as video, film, sound and performance art.

Cool Courses
• Mapping, Magic and Language: The Power of the Mark: This studio course takes an interdisciplinary approach. It examines the histories, mythologies and concepts of mark-making through lenses such as magic, ritual, language, mapping and math.
Character Design: 3D Worlds: Students develop a three-dimensional environment that incorporates architecture, figures, landscapes and atmospheres. Industry professionals provide feedback throughout the course.

Tuition (includes compulsory ancillary fees)
$6,208
Minimum Entering Grades
Arts: 60%, plus portfolio
Student Body
Undergraduates: Full-time: 921 · Part-time: 181
Graduates: Full-time: 5
International Students: First-year: 8%
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