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Explore new forms of digital artmaking, installations, and experimental approaches to painting.

In the Drawing & Painting program, you’ll learn to become a creative and engaged artist. You can concentrate on your drawing and painting studio skills and study art theory, history and contemporary social issues. You’ll learn to speak and write about your artwork in various formats. A wide variety of options for courses are available that include digital, landscape, figurative, mixed media, and abstract painting. 

Your instructors will also encourage you to explore new forms of digital artmaking, installations, and experimental approaches to painting. Our instructors are professional artists who share their career advice and provide one-on-one, in-depth, feedback on your progress.  You’ll have many opportunities to present your work professionally in public exhibitions. 

Drawing & Painting admits first-year students directly into the program. Applicants selecting this major will have their portfolios reviewed by Drawing & Painting faculty for the limited number of spaces available for direct entry. Applicants not accepted for direct entry will be considered for the general, first-year program, allowing you to explore our other programs. Courses in painting and drawing will still be available to you.

Program Highlights

At the End of the Program...

At the end of this four-year program, you’ll earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. 

Admissions Requirements

Jobs You Can Get

  • Practicing artists  
  • Curators  
  • Cultural programming coordinators 
  • Museum and gallery administrators 
  • Illustration and mural artists 
  • Art teachers   
  • Arts administrators 
  • Art conservators and restorers 
  • Writers and critics 
  • Studio managers 
  • Arts advocacy officers 
  • Artistic directors  

Internships & Experiential learning

OCAD U offers so much more than co-ops because creative careers take many forms. Our career services help you build a professional community, valuable experience and skills you need for a meaningful career. Get access to:

  • 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

What Will You Do in the Program?

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

  • Body and technology
  • Drawing processes
  • Printmaking
  • Art and code
  • Animation fundamentals
  • Sculpture
  • Photography
  • Drawing nature and culture
  • Narrative media

​​​​​In second year, courses in Drawing & Painting move through building techniques and understanding mediums, while developing skills from basic drawing to digital imaging. A variety of approaches to painting include:

  • Mixed media
  • Figurative 
  • Landscape 
  • Digital 
  • Installation 
  • Abstract art 

In third year, you’lldevelop a critical understanding of how to assess work. You’ll beencouraged to explore various types of drawing and painting. At this level, we provide a course dedicated to supporting your experiences after you complete your degree. Professional Practice focuses on the skills needed to be a practicing artist. 

The course introduces you to the local art community and the essential skills needed for the development of an art career.  

In fourth year, you can choose between the Thesis and the Advanced Studio Option. Both options lead to Bachelor of Fine Arts.  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.

Thesis Option

You’ll work with a group of instructors over the school year to research, produce and present a coherent body of work of a professional exhibition quality. The artistic development in this course offers you an opportunity to create an advanced portfolio to launch your career.

Advanced Studio Option

In Advanced Studio, you’ll pursue multiple projects and refine your technical skills. You will learn how to speak and write about your work to promote your practice. This option allows you more options and flexibility in how you approach the final year of your studies. You’ll also take courses in Criticism & Curatorial Practice, fabrication studio courses and a range of electives across the Faculty of Art.

For more information, go to the Program Guides page.


In all undergraduate programs you can choose to take a minor alongside your major to explore and expand your practice. Minors give you the opportunity to pursue a focused secondary field of study in addition to or sometimes instead of taking electives in your program and can help you look better for employers or in grants or grad school applications.  You don’t need to choose a minor on your application – rather once you start at OCAD U, you’ll be able to choose from over 90 electives that can build towards one of our 25 focused minors. Learn more about Minor Programs here.

Drawing & Painting
Degree earned
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) (BFA)
Faculty of Art
4 years
Portfolio required