Alberta University of the Arts

Label Label Label
Save Request Info


Since 1926, Alberta University of the Arts, AUArts (formerly ACAD) has inspired thousands of students to pursue their dreams.

As Alberta's only dedicated art, craft and design university, we're proud to play an important role in nurturing creativity and driving innovation in our province and around the world. From our academic programs to grass-roots community partnerships, there's a lot going on at AUArts – we hope you'll join us.

Our degree programs are studio-based, which means hands-on. In our studios you’ll explore multiple media, applying new techniques and immersing yourself in the practice and culture of art and design. You’ll have access to a wide range of unique opportunities, including a strong international exchange program and a robust scholarship and awards offering for incoming students. Most importantly, with a 1:15 faculty-to-student ratio, our average studio class is kept to 15 students so you’ll receive individual, personal attention from a faculty made up of a diverse group of over 130 professional practicing artists, designers and scholars.

Want to know more? Visit for more info, or book a tour to come see it for yourself at 403.284.7617, Don’t miss any of the important deadlines, start your application process online today!

Areas of Expertise

Alberta University of the Arts is a leading centre for education and research, and a catalyst for creative inquiry and cultural development. Located in Calgary and overlooking the downtown core, AUArts provides a unique undergraduate experience for students in fine art, design and new media - an experience set in the context of relevant, complementary liberal studies and practical theory. Our Photography and Visual Communications Design majors - with streams in Character Design, Illustration, Advertising and Graphic Design - prepare students for successful careers as professionals in the discipline, practice and culture of photography and design. And our Bachelor of Fine Arts program is one of Canada’s most prestigious studio-based fine art programs. With 11 unique program majors including Photography, Visual Communications Design, Ceramics, Drawing, Fibre, Glass, Jewellery and Metals, Media Arts, Painting, Print Media and Sculpture, AUArts offers a rigorous studio program which produces inventive thinkers, visually acute learners and leading problem solvers for today’s creative economy.

On Campus Housing

While AU Arts does not operate a residence, students may apply to live in residence on the SAIT Campus adjacent to AU Arts. Further information about the SAIT residence may be obtained from the SAIT Web site or

Off Campus Housing

The University of Calgary's Student Union maintains a housing registry on the Web site, which lists numerous accommodations available near the campus. Students are advised to begin to locate housing in May and June. Students should expect to pay at least $600.00 to $800.00 for a one-bedroom apartment. The Housing Registry Network is a project of Connect Calgary, one of Canada's 12 SMART Communities funded by Industry Canada. AU Arts students can access the housing list on the Web site. A printed copy is also posted outside of Student Services and updated weekly.

Incoming Students

At the beginning of each semester, Student Services provides a New Student Orientation to introduce new students to College staff and facilities. During orientation, students have the opportunity to meet other new students and to tour the ACAD campus. Personal and career counselling, peer mentoring, study abroad opportunities as well as study skills assistance is available to all ACAD students.

Career Planning

ACAD provides career counselling to students.


AU Arts students can participate in a variety of competitive sports and physical activities at the SAIT Campus Centre. Connected to AU Arts by an enclosed walkway, the Campus Centre offers excellent athletic and physical recreation facilities. These include a 35 metre salt water swimming pool and diving area, a multi-purpose gymnasium, a hockey rink, handball and squash courts, a fully equipped weight training room, plus men's and women's locker and steam rooms. The Campus Centre coordinates intramural sports and open recreational activities, as well as a full range of activity classes and sports clubs. AU Arts athletes may also be eligible to compete on SAIT intercollegiate sports teams.


Through the AU Arts Students' Association, students have opportunities to form clubs in areas of interest. The SAIT Campus Centre also coordinates recreation and sports clubs.

Information Technology

General access to computing is available to the global AU Arts community. A variety of computer stations and devices are available, including flatbed scanning and network laser printing, as well as access to IOLAB output services. All stations have a word processor and browser, and most have recent version software applications. The AU Arts campus is entirely wireless.


Art is everywhere at AU Arts. Exhibitions take place throughout the building: in studios, project rooms, major-specific gallery sites, and the College's two publicly accessible galleries. The Illingworth Kerr Gallery (IKG) has an important mandate: to serve AU Arts students, faculty and staff and the wider community of Calgary and Alberta. The IKG, as a vital and complimentary component to the public and private gallery network, is an important part of the practice of all AU Arts students. The student run Marion Nicoll Gallery (MNG) creates a unique context for education and experimentation among students and provides a link between educational and professional environments, fostering critical dialogue and public exhibition. Modeled after a public not-for-profit gallery, it provides students with career developing experience as administrators, jurors and submitting artists.

Special Services

Students who have special needs should identify those needs when applying. Appointments will be arranged to discuss the accommodation of their needs. AU Arts Student Services provides personal and AU Artsemic counselling, and can provide assistance for students with learning disabilities. The College is wheelchair accessible.

Affiliated Institutions

Bow Valley College and Alberta University of the Arts jointly offer the Artstream program, benefiting students who are in need of AU Artsemic support to reach AU Arts's entrance standards. Students at AU Arts also have free access to many services and facilities at the SAIT Campus.

International Involvement

The University has an active student exchange program and is a member of the international Student Mobility program. Both offer students an opportunity to spend their third year studying at other art colleges and institutions in North America, Europe, or Australia. During their third year, students have an opportunity to study for one or two semesters at a participating institution while paying normal AU Arts fees. Students may also apply to participate in a wide variety of scholarship supported travel/study opportunities including access the New York Studio Program, the Yale Summer School, Corning Museum of Glass, Pichuk Glass School, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the School of Visual Arts (SVA).

Campus Tour

The best time to see the University at work is during Open House and Portfolio Days. In conjunction with our Open House, students can take advantage of a professional faculty review of their portfolio. Prospective First Year Studies applicants are invited to bring their portfolios. Faculty members will be available to discuss portfolio development. Reviews will be on a first come, first served basis. Guided tours are offered during Open House and Portfolio Days. Call (403) 284-7617 for information or to book a group tour. University tours are provided for prospective students and are available throughout the year.

Modified on July 18, 2023