Degree Completion Programs
Benefits of Degree Completion
What you Need to Complete a Degree
Degree Requirements
Eligibility & Application Process
Alumni Application Form
Application Deadlines
Academic Progression
Transfer of Credit Application Form

Degree Completion Programs

OCAD University offers its diploma program graduates the opportunity to return to OCAD U to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or Bachelor of Design (BDes) degree. OCAD U has developed a program where graduates can convert their associate of OCA/OCAD diploma to a degree by completing additional credits in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Alumni can apply to enter a degree completion program for either a BFA or BDes, depending on which program they initially graduated from at OCAD U. The degree completion program provides a broad liberal education that complements the art and design studio focus of the AOCA/AOCAD diploma.

Through a curriculum common to both the BFA and the BDes, students are exposed to history and theory in a range of subject areas that deepens and broadens their educational experience. In addition to courses in History and Theory of Visual Culture, students are required to complete courses in English, Humanities, Social Sciences and Science/Technology/Mathematics.

Courses are offered through the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and challenge students to expand their intellectual interests through addressing recent scholarship, new approaches to concept and methodology, and critical writing and thinking skills. Liberal Arts & Sciences faculty are recognized leaders in their fields through their publications, writing, curatorial and cultural practices, and bring to the liberal studies courses a broad-based knowledge and specialized expertise in art and design history, contemporary theory and criticism, English literature, anthropology, philosophy, social science, science and more.

Benefits of Degree Completion at OCAD U

  • Opportunities for personal enrichment and professional development
  • Courses compliment an art and design education
  • Opportunity to explore the most up-to-date approaches, research, and conceptual frameworks
  • Courses to fit your interests and areas of specialization
  • Preparation for graduate studies, careers in education, critical practice and more.
  • Opportunity to re-connect with the OCAD U community at an exciting time in its history
  • Flexible schedules, permitting working students to study at night and/or during the summer

What you need to Complete a Degree

To convert your diploma to a degree, you must complete 5.0 liberal studies credits in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences. At least 2.0 of these credits must be completed at the third- and/or fourth-year levels. Programs have evolved over the years, and the additional courses that you are required to complete will ensure that you have covered a breadth of material that reflects the current learning objectives of OCAD U's degree programs. Up to 2.5 credits of the degree eligible liberal studies courses completed for your diploma may be credited towards your degree.

Degree Requirements

Completion of 5.0 credits designated for degree in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences to include:

  • 1.0 credit first year History and Theory of Visual Culture: VISC-1001 and VISC-1002
  • 2.0 credits History and Theory of Visual Culture (VISA, VISC, VISD, VISM)
  • 0.5 credit English (ENGL)
  • 0.5 credit Humanities (HUMN)
  • 0.5 credit Science/Technology/Mathematics (SCTM)
  • 0.5 credit Social Sciences (SOSC)

Alumni who completed degree eligible liberal studies credits for their diploma at OCAD U may apply up to 2.5 of these credits towards the degree requirements.  Courses completed prior to 1993 are not degree eligible. 

A minimum of half of the credits required for degree completion, as determined at the time of admission, must be completed at OCAD U.

Alumni admitted to the degree completion program who require 5.0 credits must complete all of these requirements within a maximum of 6.5 credit attempts. The number of credit attempts will be prorated for students granted transfer credits. For example, Alumni granted 2.5 transfer credits must pass at least 2.5 credits to be graduated, within a maximum of 3.5 credit attempts.

List of Courses Eligible for Degree (1997 to 2002)

Eligibility & Application Process

OCAD University is committed to giving all Alumni an opportunity to convert their AOCA or AOCAD diploma to either a BFA or BDes degree. To apply to a BFA completion program, applicants must have graduated from the Faculty of Art, or a Fine Art program; and, conversely, to apply to the BDes completion program, applicants must have graduated from the Faculty of Design, or a Design program.

Fine Art Programs:

Criticism & Curatorial Practice; Drawing & Painting/Fine Arts - Drawing & Painting; Experimental Arts (Drawing & Painting, Inter-media); Fine Arts, General Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies; Integrated Media/New Media; Photography/Photovision; Printmaking; Sculpture/Installation; Applied Art and Design (Ceramics, Glass, Jewellery, Surface Design/Print, Textiles, Material Art & Design (Ceramics, Fibre, Jewellery, Jewellery/Metalsmithing, Surface Design/Print, Textiles)*

Design Programs:

Communication & Design (Advertising, Graphic Design, Illustration), Design; Environmental Design; Industrial Design; Applied Art and Design (Ceramics, Glass, Jewellery, Surface Design/Print, Textiles, Material Art & Design (Ceramics, Fibre, Jewellery, Jewellery/Metalsmithing, Surface Design/Print, Textiles)*

*Graduates from the Applied Art & Design/Material Art & Design programs may apply for either the BFA or the BDes.

An Application to Degree Program for Alumni (PDF) must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar, along with a non-refundable application fee of $245.

Application Deadlines

To begin studies in the summer session: First Friday of November (of the previous year)
To begin studies in September: First Friday in February

Academic Progression

All students are subject to the academic policies and procedures established by the university. To ensure satisfactory academic progress, students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the requirements of the degree program in which they are registered, as outlined in OCAD U's current Fall/Winter Course Calendar.

Academic Progression

Full-time and part-time status and registration restrictions are outlined on-line under Policies and Regulations.

Tuition & Fees

Course fees are published on-line prior to the start of each session.

Prior Learning Assessment

A. Transfer Credit:

Students who have attended a recognized, approved, accredited or otherwise equivalent post-secondary institution may apply for transfer of credit.

  • Only those credits with a grade of 65% or higher will be considered for transfer of credit.
  • Contact hours must be equivalent to the 36 contact hours for 0.5 credit OCAD U courses, with a minimum of three weeks of instruction.
  • The minimum credit granted for transfer is equivalent to 0.5.

Requests for transfer of credit must be submitted at the same time as the application to degree program. Transfer of credit is subject to OCAD U's published residency requirements. Any decision taken by the university with respect to transfer of credit is final. Applicants must submit the following documentation:

  • Official transcript
  • Course descriptions
  • Detailed course outlines (syllabi)

An Application for Transfer of Credit (PDF) must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar, along with the application to degree program.

Transfer of credit through Letters of Permission is subject to OCAD U's residency requirements. Application must be made to the Office of the Registrar office by the deadlines published in Dates & Deadlines.

B. Course Challenge:

Students who can demonstrate that they have acquired – through informal or unconventional means – the knowledge covered by a specific course may apply for Course Challenge, subject to the following:

  • Students may normally challenge no more than 2.0 credits (subject to residency requirements).
  • Not all courses may be challenged. Please consult with the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
  • Students must present evidence of prior learning and receive permission to challenge a course for credit from the Dean (or designate) of the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
  • Credits gained through Course Challenge cannot be used to fulfill residency requirements.
  • Students who are successful in challenging a course for credit will receive a grade of P on their transcript. The grade of P has no numerical equivalent and is not included in the calculation of grade point average. The grade of P may not be applied in any way toward application for scholarships, bursaries or loans.
  • Credit will only be awarded for work meeting the standard expected of students who successfully complete the course with a grade of 65% or better.
  • Students may not challenge a course for credit if they have previously registered in that course or its equivalent at OCAD U or another university. Exceptions to this rule will be made for students who have withdrawn within the first two weeks of a course or whose former university no longer possesses the official records required for Transfer Credit (i.e., universities in war zones).

Students apply for Course Challenge through the Office of the Registrar at the time of admission. Applicants must complete appropriate advising as determined by the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The Faculty will determine the appropriate mode(s) of assessment for the course(s), e.g., examination, dossier, portfolio, demonstration, interview, and/or presentation. Students with previous teaching experience in the area will be assessed based on: a dossier (including resumé and course outlines); a structured interview; an examination (if further evidence is required by the course instructor). The Course Challenge fee (1/2 the regular course fee plus a $100 assessment fee) must accompany the Course Challenge Agreement Form. The fees are non-refundable. Students may challenge the same course only once.


Once you have completed all course requirements with good academic standing, you are eligible to graduate. You must submit your Intent to Graduate form and the required fee by the published deadlines (see Dates & Deadlines). Fall graduates normally participate in the following spring ceremony. You will be required to return your AOCA or AOCAD diploma to the university to be able to receive your undergraduate degree. Since the degree is based in part on the courses that you completed for your diploma, you cannot hold the two designations concurrently.


  1. What is the minimum average required to be admitted to the degree?
    There is no minimum overall evaluation average necessary. Applicants must have graduated from one of OCAD U's diploma (Art or Design) programs or majors.
  2. What documentation will I need in order to apply?
    You will need to complete the application and submit it with the appropriate fee.
  3. Why is a $245 application fee required?
    The application fee is a fee that OCAD U has deemed appropriate in the case of students being permitted to convert their diploma to a degree, rather than being required to earn the degree through a further two years of study.
  4. I am a graduate of Material Art & Design. To which degree program should I apply?
    You may choose to apply to either the BFA or BDes program.
  5. Why do you need to turn in your AOCA / AOCAD diploma in order to receive a degree?
    It is usual and acceptable practice in academé that credits may not be used to fulfill two separate, culminating in this case, the diploma and the degree educational experiences.
  6. At what point must you relinquish your AOCA/AOCAD diploma?
    You will be required to turn in your AOCA/AOCAD diploma just prior to receiving your degree.
  7. If you apply to the degree program and don't complete it, do you lose your AOCA/AOCAD status?
    Alumni will not lose their AOCA/AOCAD status if they do not complete the degree requirements.
  8. Why are some students required to take twice the number of liberal studies courses as others?
    Additional courses are required for those who completed their liberal studies credits 10 or more years ago to ensure that their degree completion will represent the same body of knowledge that current students are acquiring over their four years at OCAD U.
  9. I'm a professional designer and have had my own business for ten years. Can I apply this work experience as "prior learning assessment"?
    You may apply for prior learning assessment (Course Challenge) if you can demonstrate that you have acquired knowledge covered by a specific course.
  10. I took a course at U of T about ten years ago that was a Humanities. Will that count?
    You may request transfer of credit for relevant courses completed at another university, to a maximum of half of the credits required for degree completion. For example, if you completed 2.5 liberal studies at OCAD U for your diploma and require 2.5 credits to complete degree requirements, you may request transfer of credit for up to 1.0 credit. Remember to submit your application for transfer of credit with your application for admission to the degree completion program.
  11. How does OCAD University determine whether or not Humanities or liberal studies courses completed at another institution will count towards the OCAD U degree?
    By comparing course descriptions, faculty from the appropriate disciplines are able to determine course equivalencies.
  12. Will the new OCAD U degrees enable me to enter Teachers' College and go on to teach secondary school? How will an OCAD U degree meet the requirements for two teaching areas?
    An undergraduate degree, such as OCAD U's BFA or BDes, is the basic entrance requirement for Teacher's College. There are other considerations as, for instance, Nipissing taking a look at experiential qualifications. The number of teaching subjects necessary depends on what level you intend to teach. You are advised to talk with a student advisor or with a counsellor at the Teacher's College you have in mind for further advice about teaching in the Ontario public school system.
  13. Will students who complete OCAD U's BFAs or BDes be able to apply to a Master's program?
    OCAD U students graduating with the undergraduate degree are eligible to apply to any graduate program anywhere in the world.
  14. When I was a student at OCAD U, I took more than the minimum number of required History and Theory of Visual Culture courses because I was interested in upgrading my diploma to a degree once OCAD U had degree programs. Can past liberal studies courses be applied to the degree, and thereby reduce the number of additional courses I must take?
    Liberal studies credits obtained while earning your diploma cannot be used to reduce the number of total credits you are required to obtain to complete your degree. All students must complete the required number credits.

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