Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Visual Arts

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

Jeremy ShantzBFA Visual Arts graduate Jeremy Shantz in his studio space at UBC Okanagan.

What You Need to Know

Why study Visual Arts at UBC's Okanagan campus?

Strong community
Work alongside Visual 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, and computational arts. The Visual Arts program focuses on skill development, entrepreneurial opportunity 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 Visual Arts students for careers as practising artists, gallery 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.

Program Overview

The Visual Arts program offers 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, and video 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 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, 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 in combination with another discipline.


UBC Okanagan’s Visual Arts program offers a wide variety of foundational and advanced courses.

Sample courses:

  • VISA 106 — Introduction to New Media
  • VISA 110 — Studies in Photography
  • VISA 254 — Introduction to Printmaking

Browse Visual Arts courses and descriptions.

Degree Options

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

Visit the Undergraduate Studies Admissions page within the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.

Learn about graduate studies in Visual Arts.


British Columbia High School Requirements

  • English 12 or English 12 First Peoples

Requirements for BC high school applications to Visual Arts includes your portfolio and a letter of intent.

Visit for general admission requirements and program specific requirements for students from high schools in other Canadian provinces or transferring from other post-secondary institutions.

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

Deadlines and Fees

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.

How to Apply

Apply to UBC 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 guidelines

UBC Okanagan

Your Career Options

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



  • Advertising copywriter
  • Acquisitions specialist
  • Animator
  • Art agent/dealer
  • Art illustrator
  • Billboard artist
  • Book designer
  • Cartoonist
  • Album designer
  • Costume designer
  • Curatorial assistant
  • Desktop publishing artist
  • Exhibit designer
  • Freelance artist
  • Graphic designer
  • Greeting card artist
  • Historical museum assistant
  • Illustrator
  • Magazine designer
  • Market research analyst
  • Media planner
  • Newspaper/magazine journalist
  • Painter
  • Pattern maker
  • Photographer
  • Picture framer
  • Printmaker
  • Production artist
  • Product package designer
  • Proofreader
  • Radio/TV program assistant
  • Reporter
  • Researcher
  • Sculptor
  • Set designer
  • Tattoo artist
  • Technical illustrator
  • Textile designer
  • Visual merchandiser
  • Web designer

Co-op Experience

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.

Potential Employers

  • Advertising, graphic design, and publishing agencies
  • Art-related publishers
  • Community, private, or shared art studios
  • Government or private art galleries or museums
  • Photographic studios, newspapers, or magazines

Co-op Experience

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.

Further Studies

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.

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.

Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Visual Arts professors regularly engage undergraduate students in interdisciplinary research. Work with faculty involved in cutting-edge scholarly activities and research in a variety of areas including Eco Cultures, Media and Digital Cultures, Postcolonial Imaginaries, and Cultural Literacies and Practices.

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. Available awards include:

  • Apply for a Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies Undergraduate Research Award of $2,500, provided to undergraduate students engaged in research and creative activities over the summer months.
  • Apply for an FCCS Community Engagement Award, presented to a students recognized for making a significant and positive impact on communities beyond the university.
  • Investigate additional scholarships and bursaries available to prospective and undergraduate students.

Showcase Your Work

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 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.

Travel and Learn

  • See the world through Go Global, a UBC program that allows students to complete courses or conduct research at one of more than 150 international partner institutions in 45 countries worldwide.
  • Travel to a conferences or competition with financial assistance available through the Tuum Est Student Initiative Fund, which provides financial support up to $3,500.
  • Take part in Research Abroad and experience different cultures while developing new research skills and accessing resources beyond what might be offered at UBC.

Work Opportunities

  • 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.
  • Apply to work as a teaching assistant marking exams, managing discussion periods, and leading tutorials.
  • 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.

Meet Your Peers and Profs

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

Sage Sidley

Student experience: “You can use art as a language.”

Samuel Roy-Bois

Samuel Roy-Bois, UBC Professor

“Artwork is not an autonomous object without context. It belongs to reality.”

Ashleigh Green

Ashleigh Green, UBC Alumna

“I recommend students take advantage of the 24/7 access to facilities to experiment, explore personal projects, and collaborate.”

Find out more about professors who teach in the Visual Arts program

Welcome to 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 Visual Arts 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.

Fipke-UNC-University Way

Tour the Campus

  • 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.

Day One: What to Expect

On the first day of university, take part in "Meet the Dean" sessions where you can get to know the Dean, professors, and the staff who provide student support. It’s all part of CREATE, UBC Okanagan's new student orientation.

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.

Academic Support

  • Peer mentors are a great resource — ask questions and learn from students who've been there, done that.
  • Familiarize yourself with campus 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.

Clubs and Associations

  • Join a community of fellow creative and critical thinkers at events such as the Visiting Artist Series, Woodhaven Eco Culture Centre, Digital Okanagan, AlterKnowledge Discussion Series, and more.
  • Make friends with similar interests, socialize and explore career options with the Visual Arts Course Union.
  • Branch out, get involved in student life, and have fun by joining a campus club or association.
  • Living in Residence

    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.

    The Okanagan: What to Expect

    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.


    Last reviewed shim2/6/2019 11:55:01 AM