10 Most Popular Arts and Design Programs in Canada

Technology has had a huge impact on the design world over the last 20 years. With visual effects and video games now multi-billion dollar industries, there is a growing demand for creative and skilled designers. While careers can be competitive, the fact that design skills are needed in so many different fields means that students have many options to explore.

Graphic design, user experience design, web design, photography, and fashion are just a few of the many focuses design graduates can pursue. At ApplyBoard, we process thousands of applications for design programs every year.  The following 10 are the most popular arts and design programs in Canada among international students.

10. Fashion Design Advanced College Diploma (Co-op) – Fanshawe College

Fanshawe College campus

Source: Expedia

Those looking to enter the fast-paced fashion industry should consider Fanshawe College’s Fashion Design program. One of Ontario’s largest and most popular colleges, Fanshawe is a leader in applied education and welcomes thousands of students from more than 40 countries every year. The Fashion Design – Advanced College Diploma prepares students for a career in fashion by focusing on hands-on learning. Lab work and field trips will expose students to current industry trends, while the eight-month co-op term provides exciting work experience.

Learn more about Fanshawe’s Fashion Design program here!

9. Bachelor of Arts: Communication, Media and Film – University of Windsor

University of Windsor campus

Source: One Class

If you’re going to study media and film, you might as well do it in Canada’s southernmost city. The University of Windsor’s Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Media and Film teaches students about the world of media through both practical and theoretical course work. This BA program is popular due to its all-around look at the media landscape and wide open career prospects. The University of Windsor’s complete program prepares students for exciting careers in advertising, public relations, and other digital media fields.

Learn more about the University of Windsor’s Bachelor of Arts – Communication, Media and Film here!

8. Bachelor of Arts: Media Arts and Cultures – University of New Brunswick

University of New Brunswick campus

Source: Maclean’s

The University of New Brunswick’s Bachelor of Arts – Media Arts and Cultures is one of the first programs of its kind in Canada. Students receive not only a superb liberal arts education but practical, hands-on experience as well. This is a truly multimedia program, with projects that require students to create videos, animations, blogs, and even video games. Located just 10 minutes from downtown Fredericton, the University of New Brunswick is one of the best universities on Canada’s east coast. Students will get to live and study in a city with a rich local art community, and many boutiques and cafes to enjoy.

Learn more about the University of New Brunswick’s Bachelor of Arts – Media Arts and Cultures here!

7. 3D Modeling, Art & Animation (College Diploma) – British Columbia Institute of Technology

British Columbia Institute of Technology campus

Source: Dialog

3D artists and animators are in increasingly high demand and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) has produced some of Canada’s best. At the end of the two-year 3D Modeling, Art & Animation Diploma, students will have the skills employers are looking for. The program prepares students for work in visual effects, video games, film, TV, and more. And thanks to BCIT’s location (to the east of Vancouver in Burnaby), graduates will already be close to Canada’s booming west coast film and video game industry.

Learn more about the BCIT’s 3D Modeling, Art & Animation program here!

6. Bachelor of Arts: Fine Arts – University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo campus

Source: CBC

The University of Waterloo is recognized worldwide for its technology and engineering programs. However, U of W’s Arts faculty is also highly respected, with fine arts proving popular among international students. Students will gain a critical understanding of art through painting, sculpture, printmaking, and other disciplines. Majors include Art History and Visual Culture, Film Studies and Visual Culture, or Studio Practice. There is also an optional co-op term to help gain employment experience.

Learn more about the University of Waterloo’s Bachelor of Arts – Fine Arts program here!

5. Bachelor of Arts: Fine Arts – Algoma University

Algoma University campus

Source: UniVisor Canada

Looking to study fine arts but want a more intimate learning experience? You may want to consider Algoma University, which prides itself on being the smallest university in the province of Ontario. With classes capped at 75 students, Algoma focuses less on lectures and more on discussions. The Bachelor of Arts – Fine Arts program can be completed in three years or as a four-year honours degree. Students receive a thorough education in art history and criticism while receiving one-on-one feedback from instructors. Algoma’s location in Sault Ste. Marie is ideal for this degree program, as students will be exposed to the same natural beauty that influenced the famous Group of Seven painters.

Learn more about Algoma University’s Bachelor of Arts – Fine Arts program here!

4. Interactive Media Design (INM), College Diploma – Seneca College (York Campus)

Seneca College campus

Source: Seneca College

Seneca College’s two-year diploma in Interactive Media Design prepares students for a wide range of digital media-focused careers. Whether your interest is in graphic design, digital marketing, or even visual effects, Seneca’s program is built with hands-on experience in mind. Best of all, the final semester’s independent production and internship component offers students a head-start in a competitive job market. The Interactive Media Design program is offered at Seneca’s York campus in Toronto, Ontario, one of Canada’s largest and most diverse cities.

Learn more about Seneca College’s Interactive Media Design College Diploma here!

3. Bachelor of Global Business and Digital Arts – University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo campus

Source: Mulvey & Banani

The University of Waterloo’s Bachelor of Global Business and Digital Arts degree features a unique structure. Students spend the first two years of the program at Waterloo’s main campus and the final two years at the digital media campus in Stratford, Ontario. This program is best suited for creative individuals looking to put their skills to use in the business world. You won’t find many other arts and design programs in Canada that so closely mix a business and arts education, which helps explain why U of W’s offering is so popular.

Learn more about the University of Waterloo’s Bachelor of Global Business and Digital Arts program here!

2. User Experience Design (Graduate Certificate) – St. Lawrence College, Kingston, ON.

St. Lawrence College campus

Source: Queen’s University

UX designers are in high demand in Canada. St. Lawrence College prepares graduates for this exciting field in just eight months with its popular User Experience Design Graduate Certificate. Built for graduates who have a three-year diploma or degree, the UX Design program builds skills to match a variety of industry sectors. Design firms, banks, technology services … all of these industries and more require excellent UX strategies, so there’s no shortage of opportunities awaiting those who finish St. Lawrence College’s program.

Learn more about St. Lawrence College’s User Experience Design Graduate Certificate here!

1. Bachelor of Interior Design – Yorkville University, Toronto

Yorkville University campus

Source: GoToUniversity

Over the last decade, Yorkville University has emerged as one of Canada’s most popular study destinations for international students. While Yorkville has campuses in Toronto and Vancouver, only the Toronto location offers the Bachelor of Interior Design program. Fully CIDA accredited and ARIDO recognized, Yorkville’s Bachelor of Interior Design prepares students for a rewarding career in the competitive design industry. Students have the option of completing their degree in three years and can also take advantage of Yorkville’s great location. The campus is down the street from York University, right in the heart of one of Canada’s largest student neighbourhoods.

Learn more about Yorkville University’s Bachelor of Interior Design here!

Interested in applying to arts and design programs in Canada? Start your free ApplyBoard account. We’re here to help you every step of the way.