Drawing and Painting

Many of Canada’s most successful artists are graduates of this program – everyone from members of the Group of Seven and Ken Danby to Ivan Alifan, Elly Smallwood, Vanessa Maltese and Rajni Perera.

In this program, you’ll first develop skills and experiment with mediums and techniques. Then, you will begin to create your own body of work and develop your own style.

More About the Drawing and Painting Program

Drawing & Painting accepts first-year students directly into the program. Applicants selecting the Drawing & Painting major will have their portfolios reviewed for a limited number of spaces available for direct entry. If you aren’t accepted for direct entry, you may be considered for the general first-year program and can apply to join the Drawing & Painting program in second year.

At the end of this four-year program, you will earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Get more details about the program.

  • For Ontario high school students, a minimum overall average of 70%
  • Portfolio (samples of your work and a visual representation of who you are)
  • Statement of Intent
  • Official transcripts
  • Other requirements

Graduates of the program work in:

  • Artistic studio practice
  • Arts administration and education
  • Illustration and mural work
  • Graphic design
  • Art conservation and restoration
  • Gallery work and arts collectives
  • Writing and criticism
  • Studio management
  • Arts advocacy

OCAD U offers so much more than co-ops because creative careers take many forms. Our approach is specialized, and individual to every student’s needs and goals. You will be able to take advantage of:

  • Short experiential learning placements from among hundreds of organizations
  • Creative in-class projects with real-world industry partners
  • Exclusive summer internships
  • Gallery exhibitions of your work
  • Freelance creative opportunities
  • Jobs after graduation

OCAD University’s dedicated support services will help you build a professional community, valuable experience and skills necessary for a meaningful career.



If you are accepted into the program in first year, you will take introduction to painting classes, time-based media, drawing across disciplines, art history and a course that interests you in topics such as:

  • Body and technology
  • Drawing processes
  • Digital printmaking
  • Art and code
  • Animation fundamentals
  • Sculpture
  • Drawing nature and culture
  • Narrative media

In second year, you will take painting studio, history of modern art, an art course of your choice, a humanities or social science course of your choice and a contemporary issues course. This class focuses on how ideas and concepts can be applied to the creation of art work.


Third year will feature a professional practice course, intermediate painting studio, art classes of your choice and a choice of English, humanities or social sciences classes. You will also choose from courses such as:

  • Abstraction: Indigenous views
  • The body in paint
  • Landscape to the environment
  • Beyond pictorial conventions

In your fourth year, you will choose between the thesis and directed studio options. In thesis, you will work with faculty for the full year to research, produce a coherent professional, exhibition-quality body of work. In the directed studio option, you will have more flexibility to create multiple projects. In this option, you’re encouraged to take courses in other programs such as Criticism & Curatorial Practice, photography or printmaking to experiment.

In both options, you’ll showcase your work at GradEx ̶ OCAD U’s Graduate Exhibition, the biggest free art and design exhibition in Toronto with more than 40,000 visitors.