Visual, Digital & Performance Arts

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Train with the next generation of artists and cultural producers. Learn in cutting-edge facilities designed for traditional and digital-studio and performance arts courses.

Why study Visual, Digital and Performance Arts at UBC’s Okanagan campus?

Strong community

Work alongside Visual, Digital and Performance Arts professors in a close-knit learning environment, which integrates creativity and research into a variety of fields such as eco art, indigenous media arts, art history, visual culture, and the digital humanities. Visit our FCCS Art blog showcasing some of our current student works and the studio spaces where they create their work.

Variety and diversity

Students are encouraged to work in media that best suits their artistic practice after building a solid foundation in studio practice: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, video, animation, computational arts, and movement-based performance work. The Visual, Digital and Performance Arts program focuses on skill development, entrepreneurial opportunity, cross-cultural understanding, and critical thinking.

Earn while you learn

Work on campus as a teaching assistant or as part of UBC’s Work Study employment program. Some students work in the same campus building as their art studio. Campus jobs help prepare students for careers as practising artists, gallery and festival curators, designers, architects, and teachers.

Co-op experience

Put your classroom learning to the test with Co-op job placements throughout the region and beyond. Co-op helps you to gain beneficial skills such as how to build your resumé, apply for jobs, expand your professional network and earn money to pay for tuition.

what you need to know

The Bachelor of Fine Arts, Minor in Visual Art and the Minor in Theatre programs offer a perfect balance of studio work and academic study, immersing students in hands-on critical and contemporary art education. Students acquire the foundational skills, techniques, and theories needed to work in two and three dimensions in a variety of media such as drawing, painting, sculpture, digital arts, printmaking, photography, animation, studio theory, video and performance arts.

Students work closely with professors and are given ample studio space and time to fully explore their projects and ideas. Art history courses, visiting artists’ presentations, and participation in art exhibitions and performances locally, nationally and internationally, as well as in the department-run FINA Gallery, also form integral parts of the curriculum.

Students in their final two years frequently work in a self-directed manner—always with the support from faculty supervisors and professors—which culminates in an exhibition of independently developed works. Art on the Line, a fundraiser run by visual arts students, and the gala year-end exhibition for graduating students, attracts hundreds of people and is a signature cultural event on the UBC Okanagan campus.

Students can earn a UBC Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree with a Major in Visual Arts. Students also have the opportunity to study Visual Arts as a minor or study Theatre (BA) as a minor in combination with another discipline.

UBC Okanagan’s Visual Arts program offers a wide variety of foundational and advanced courses. In year one and two students can learn the basics in a wide variety of different media and performance-based courses – everything from Introduction to Digital Media to Painting, Drawing, Photography and Acting for Stage and Screen.

Sample courses:

  • VISA 106 — Introduction to New Media
  • VISA 104 — Three-Dimensional Art Practices I
  • VISA 254 — Introduction to Printmaking

In third and fourth year, BFA students refine their studies into the media that is best suited to their ideas and goals. BFA students also have the opportunity to complete a practicum course with options of working with local arts organizations such as the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art and the Vernon Public Art Gallery.

View course descriptions for the current academic year.

Browse all Visual Arts courses and descriptions in the Academic Calendar.

Browse all Theatre courses and descriptions in the Academic Calendar.

The following links take you to Visual Arts program details in the Okanagan Academic Calendar, a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services, and academic policies at The University of British Columbia.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Visual Arts

Find out more about the required courses and course planning for the four-year degree.

Communications and Rhetoric Certificate

Students can receive a Certificate in Communications and Rhetoric by completing 15 credits through courses from four thematic interdisciplinary and relational clusters, and a final capstone project. This is an add on to any major; some credits can be double counted.

Learn about graduate studies

Learn about our Masters of Fine Arts program with specializations in Visual Arts, Creative Writing, or Interdisciplinary Studies.

For your application to be considered, you’ll need to do three things:

  • Meet general requirements (e.g., graduate from secondary school)
  • Demonstrate a certain level of English competency
  • Meet specific requirements for the degree you’re applying to
  • Portfolio Submission

Then, UBC will take a closer look at your application. We’ll read your Personal Profile to get a sense of who you are and what you’ve achieved.  We’ll also look at all of your Grade 11 (junior level) and Grade 12 (senior level) courses, paying special attention to the courses that relate to the degree you’re applying to.

Find your specific requirements at

Students are encouraged to visit a faculty program advisor who can help tailor courses to best suit their personal interests and goals.

Application Deadlines 
Plan ahead to ensure you meet important deadlines and other target dates listed at

Tuition Fees
UBC Okanagan’s fees compare favourably with universities of the same high calibre. See Financial Planning for helpful resources, and add up your first-year costs with our Cost Calculator.

Apply to UBC’s BFA program at—there are just five steps in the application process. Soon you could be studying at one of the world’s top universities.

Check out the steps to apply to UBC, and be sure to choose “Okanagan campus.”

Or let our Student Recruitment & Advising experts guide you: call 1-877-807-8521.

Portfolio Requirement

Applications to the BFA program must include a portfolio. Here’s more info about the submission process and portfolio guidelines.

Your Career Options

Earn a UBC degree respected by employers around the globe. Build a broad foundation and great career potential with undergraduate Visual, Digital and Performance Arts studies. Explore job opportunities that range from animator to set designer and cartoonist.

  • Advertising copywriter
  • Acquisitions specialist
  • Animator
  • Architect
  • Art administrator
  • Art agent/dealer
  • Art illustrator
  • Art librarian
  • Art preservationist
  • Art therapist
  • Book designer
  • Cartoonist
  • Album designer
  • Communications coordinator
  • Costume designer
  • Cultural events planner
  • Curatorial assistant
  • Designer
  • Desktop publisher
  • Educator
  • Exhibit designer
  • Film critic
  • Filmmaker
  • Freelance artist
  • Graphic designer
  • Greeting card artist
  • Historical museum assistant
  • Illustrator
  • Industrial designer
  • Magazine designer
  • Market research analyst
  • Media planner
  • Painter
  • Pattern maker
  • Performer
  • Photographer
  • Picture framer
  • Printmaker
  • Production artist
  • Product package designer
  • Proofreader
  • Researcher
  • Sculptor
  • Set designer
  • Studio art technician
  • Studio assistant
  • Tattoo artist
  • Technical illustrator
  • Textile designer
  • Theatre director/technician
  • Video editor
  • Visual merchandiser
  • Visual art consultant
  • Web designer
  • Advertising, graphic design, and Art-related publishing agencies
  • Community, private, or shared art studios and festivals
  • Cultural organizations
  • Film industry
  • Government or private art galleries, theatres or museums
  • Photographic studios, newspapers, or magazines
  • Marketing firms

Learn and earn with Co-op, a paid opportunity for students to enrich their education with work experience. At UBC’s Okanagan campus, sign up for Co-op to: build your resumé with professional experience; learn valuable tips on how to successfully apply for jobs; expand your network of industry contacts; and earn money to pay for tuition. Inquire about Co-op by phone at 250.807.9623 or by email.

The UBC Okanagan Arts Career Apprenticeship Program (UBCO ACAP) connects upcoming arts, humanities and social sciences graduates from the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies with Okanagan-based employers for one-year, paid, early career opportunities.

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree with a specialization in Visual Arts at UBC Okanagan provides students with the theoretical and practical tools involved in obtaining a degree in the Fine Arts. There are three specializations under the MFA: Creative Writing, Visual Arts, and Interdisciplinary Studies.

The Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies program with a theme in  Digital Arts and Humanities brings computing technologies and makerspace methods together to address such humanities topics as social justice, access, sustainability, ethics, labour, ecology, collaboration, interaction, making, pedagogy, and reading, as well as the ways in which the humanities can pose vital questions about computing technologies.

Gain Valuable Experience

Learning experiences beyond the classroom help prepare you for a career and life after university. Expand your horizons while studying abroad, conducting meaningful research, or working in the community with your UBC colleagues.

  • See the world through Go Global, a UBC program for exchange and study with more than 150 international partner institutions.
  • Travel to conferences or competitions with financial assistance available through the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund, which provides financial support up to $3,500.

Take advantage of the many ways to pursue new work and show your art, on campus and in the community. Here are just a few examples:

  • Display or perform your studio work in the FINA Gallery, located in the Creative and Critical Studies Building.
  • Participate in Draw By Night, a bi-monthly public event that promotes creativity, imagination, and collaboration through the process of drawing.
  • Join the local arts community to celebrate your work as a graduating student in the year-end gala fundraiser Art on the Line.
  • Follow your ideas and get a head start on your career. Our professors engage students in research projects, labs and centres that range from Indigenous studies and the study of animal ethics to digitized cultural history.
  • Check out the the Research Studio for Spaces and Things (RSST), an open platform for research and creation in the field of visual arts.
  • Take part in Eco Art Incubator, a research initiative that provides students and artists with a platform from which to work, as well as access to artist-friendly resources for conservation and ecological initiatives.
  • Investigate opportunities offered through the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCT), an interdisciplinary institute that engages in multiple forms of art, media, and information technologies as vehicles for the exploration and expression of community, culture, and identity.
  • FCCS faculty run the AMP Lab, which houses projects that engage the work of the humanities, adding value to cultural artifacts through interpretation and analysis in a digital context.

Get a financial boost to start your research experience and help pay for travel and other expenses. Merit-based cash awards also look impressive on your resumé.

  • Learn through doing, create strong connections, and develop professional skills with a campus job arranged by UBC’s Work Study Program.
  • Meet a community need and get practical experience by volunteering for a Community Service Learning project— a life-changing experience.
  • Build up your portfolio by flexing those creative muscles — photograph, illustrate, write, edit, interview and perform other journalistic roles at UBC Okanagan’s newspaper, The Phoenix, the official students’ free press.
  • Co-op puts your classroom learning to the test, allowing you to explore career options while earning money. Inquire about Co-op by phone at 250.807.9623 or by email.
  • More Employment Opportunities in FCCS.

Meet Your Peers and Profs

Find out what students, faculty, and alumni have to say about the Visual Arts program at UBC’s Okanagan campus:


The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. In the psychology program at UBC’s Okanagan campus, you gain all the benefits of attending a globally respected university while studying in a close-knit learning community.


  • Get a glimpse into life on UBC’s Okanagan campus at
  • Take a virtual tour of our state-of-the-art labs, modern facilities, campus residences.
  • Visit the campus for a personal guided tour led by a student ambassador.
  • Tour the campus, city and lake with this interactive 360-degree Kelowna From Above* video.
    * Best viewed in Chrome and Firefox 

On the first day of university, faculties offer “Meet the Faculty” sessions where you can get to know the Dean, professors, and the staff who provide student support. It’s all part of UBC Okanagan’s new student orientation: CREATE.

Attend an orientation tailored to your needs as an aboriginal student, domestic student, international student, or student living in residence. You can even register your parents for an orientation that includes a workshop and campus tour.

  • Peer mentors are a great resource — ask questions and learn from students who’ve been there, done that.
  • Navigate your studies with the help of a professor, your Program Advisor.
  • Use the library which offers print, audiovisual and electronic research materials, a leisure-reading collection and loaner laptops. It also offers research consultations, instruction and workshops.
  • The library’s Writing and Resource Centre can help you articulate your ideas. Pursue your research in a range of subject areas and scholarly genres, including essay writing, grammar, presentation skills, punctuation, thesis development, and coursework.
  • Familiarize yourself with resources designed to help you succeed. Student Services offers a variety of academic supports, from study sessions to tutoring and writing workshops.

Take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved and stay active—from workout space in the new Hangar Fitness Centre, to athletic courts, intramurals, fitness classes, and varsity athletics.

Learn more at Sports and Recreation, which includes links to fitness facilities, sport clubs, intramurals and recreation programs, as well as the nationally ranked UBC Okanagan Heat varsity teams that compete in the Canada West Universities Athletics Association.

Meet new people while living in a study-oriented environment with easy access to academic and personal support.

UBC Okanagan offers modern residence living surrounded by hiking and biking trails. One of the newest residences, Purcell, includes a rooftop patio that offers a panoramic view of the campus and the Okanagan Valley.

Find out more about living in residence at

UBC’s Okanagan campus borders the dynamic city of Kelowna, a hub of economic development with a population of more than 150,000 people—the fourth fastest growing population in Canada. In fact, the Okanagan Valley is rated one of the best communities in Canada to grow your business.

More than 160 buses travel daily from campus to key locations such as Kelowna’s cultural district and thriving downtown waterfront. The campus is two minutes from the Kelowna International Airport, one of the Top 10 busiest airports in Canada.

UBC Okanagan is situated within the First Nations territory of the Okanagan Nation, whose spirit of stewardship for the land is reflected in the university’s respect for sustainability.

A diverse natural region with sandy beaches, beautiful farms, vineyards and orchards, and snow-capped mountains, the Okanagan Valley features sweeping stretches of lakeside and endless mountain trails for biking and hiking.

Explore the Okanagan lifestyle at