First-Year Art

OCAD University provides a student-centered learning environment where in first year a common base of art theory, knowledge skills and processes are acquired with an emphasis on concept development and investigation rather than specialization.

First year is a time for exploration and exposure to OCAD U's large community of practicing artists and designers. In addition, students benefit from the diversity of talent and wide experience of our faculty. Contacts and friendships established in first year last throughout a student’s years of study at the university and often carry into his/her involvement with the professional world after graduation. The first year of study in the Faculty of Art, combined with each student's developing creativity, commitment and passion for their practice, is important preparation for the advanced work and intense focus that students continue to encounter in their second, third and fourth years of study.

The studio curriculum for students entering the Faculty of Art consists of four required (core) courses (including Drawing 1, Colour Explorations, Form and Structure, Time-Based Media), one Core Focus course, and two electives.

While the core courses ground students’ knowledge base and introduce them to the discipline of studio practice, the Core Focus offerings provide an introduction to essential skills and knowledge in a specific area that will equip students for further investigation, whether as a program major or as an elective option in the upper levels.

The elective courses are concept-driven, and provide an opportunity to explore current issues in contemporary art through the lens of a specific discipline. Students are encouraged to investigate topics and areas in which they are unfamiliar, in order to cultivate lateral creative thinking skills and to discover program possibilities  before they apply for their major.

Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences courses form an integral part of a student's studies. All incoming first-year students are required to complete two History and Theory of Visual Culture courses and one writing course. The Visual Studies courses consist of two-hour lectures and one-hour tutorials.