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Passionate about the arts? Want to study at a small arts-focused institution? OCAD could be the place for you!
OCAD at a glance:
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Undergraduate course length
17 undergraduate programmes in art and design, from photography to fashion, and architecture to graphic design.
Students who want to hone their craft around like-minded creatives in one of the world’s cultural hotspots.
Students who are less creatively minded, or not so curious about tackling creative challenges.
Manager of International Recruitment at OCAD and alumnus of the university Emerson shares what it’s like to study there.
What is OCAD?
OCAD University is Canada’s oldest and largest art and design and new media institution, located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Ontario. Despite this, it’s one of the smaller universities in Canada, with around 4,500 students.
30% of OCAD’s student body is international, coming from over 50 countries around the world.
Why apply to OCAD?
One thing that makes OCAD stand out is its variety of creative programmes. There are 17 undergraduate programmes spanning photography, film, fashion, architecture, and graphic design, so if you’re creative in any way, we likely have a programme for you!
If you’re an international student at OCAD, you’ll be able to benefit from support in the form of things like student groups, counselling, and work opportunities. Canadian study permits allow students to work part-time during their studies, or full-time during study breaks and after graduation, which is a great chance to get your foot in the door of the creative industries.
Who isn’t the right fit for OCAD?
OCAD is a traditional art and design school, in the sense that admission is based only on the strength of your creative portfolio. So if art, design, or creativity aren’t some of your passions, a different university might be a better fit for you.
Any application tips?
Your portfolio for OCAD should include ten complete art or design works, including process work or sketchbook work.
Half of your portfolio should be directly related to the programme you are applying to. However, be sure to show a variety of work; so if you’re applying to photography, maybe include five or six examples of your photography work, and then four or five other creative pieces you have made.
What’s the location like?
OCAD is located in Toronto, Canada’s cultural capital.
Toronto is consistently ranked as one of the best cities in the world to live in. It’s one of the most diverse cities in Canada, with one of the largest concentrations of artists and designers in North America, so you’ll be on the doorstep of lots of creative professionals and opportunities.
The OCAD campus is located on the intersection of the entertainment and fashion districts, and close to Chinatown, so there’s plenty to eat, shop for, and do nearby in the city.
What facilities does OCAD have to offer?
OCAD students benefit from hands-on, studio-based learning facilities. Students can access 18 state-of-the-art shops and production facilities, both traditional and digital. This includes a metal, plastic, and wood shop; a rapid prototyping centre; and a foundry and mould-making studio. There are also no less than seven galleries on-campus where students can showcase their work.
In their free time, students can enjoy relaxing at the campus food court, or visit a wide range of restaurants and bars nearby. Being based in downtown Toronto means that all dietary needs are catered for.
There’s also a public park, Grange Park, located on-campus, where students can hang out and get some fresh air in between classes.
What is the accommodation like?
OCAD does not have a residence on its campus. However, there are a number of student housing partners based nearby and in the city, some within a ten-minute walking distance of the campus.
OCAD encourages students to look for the accommodation style that suits them, whether it’s halls of residence, a home stay, a cooperative living style, or a studio space in the city.
How does the university meet the needs of students with different accessibility requirements?
Student support at OCAD includes advice on creative development and wellness facilities with doctors and counsellors on-site. Our financial aid includes emergency bursaries, should you come across any financial challenges during your studies which are beyond your control.
Our student disability service provides support for all declared disabilities, both visible and invisible. The campus itself is fully wheelchair accessible.
Want to explore more Canadian universities? Remember, Unifrog’s Shortlisting tool can help you put together a list of great potential courses.