Alberta University of the Arts

Founded 1926 | Calgary , AB

The Alberta University of the Arts offers a range of degree, diploma and certificate programs and is profiled in both the Maclean’s Universities Guidebook and the Maclean’s Colleges Guide. To learn more about the school’s diploma programs, see the Colleges Guide profile.

With its focus on the studio experience, Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts) is particularly well-known for its complement of art, design and craft programs, including illustration and character design, jewellery and metals, glass, sculpture and ceramics. Its selection of minors—animation, comics, object design and fabrication—is expanding. AUArts also offers an M.F.A. in craft media. Students can choose from four areas of focus: glass, ceramics, fibre, and jewellery and metals.

“At Alberta University of the Arts, the study of art, craft and design is a search. It is an exploration of ideas, a celebration of creativity and an understanding of what connects us to the world,” says president Daniel Doz. “It is a way of seeing, a way of thinking about the tools and materials we use, the clothing we wear, the world we inhabit.”

Classes are small, and there is an emphasis on one-on-one instruction. The liberal arts are also well integrated, and first-year programs include courses on critical and creative practices and art history. The single campus building houses a professional art gallery, studios for fibre, glass, ceramics and jewellery, a metal shop, a foundry and a wood shop. Many programs also provide students with personal studio spaces in their third and fourth years. Perched on top of the city’s North Hill, adjacent to Calgary’s happening Kensington neighbourhood, the campus overlooks the Bow River and Calgary’s welcoming urban skyline. Downtown Calgary, with its galleries, museums and cultural events, is easily accessible via the CTrain, and the Rocky Mountains are only an hour away by car.

Standout Programs

• Glass: Students in this studio-based program enjoy a high level of interaction with both faculty and visiting artists.

• Visual Communications Design: Students choose from two streams: graphic design and advertising or illustration and character design.

• Jewellery and Metals: Students build technical, creative and entrepreneurial skills, while exploring ideas of ornamentation, the body and functionality.

Tuition (includes compulsory ancillary fees)


Minimum Entering Grades

Arts: 60%, plus portfolio

Student Body

Undergraduates: Full-time: 865 · Part-time: 225

Graduates: Full-time: 7

International Students: First-year: 4%

Male-Female Ratio: 23 to 77

Housing Facts

Residence Spaces: No residence on campus, but students can apply for residence at nearby SAIT

Cool Courses

• Object Design for Metals: Emerging technologies, such as computer-aided design and 3D modelling, are used in conjunction with traditional techniques.

• Advanced Character Design: Gaming: Students build a character design portfolio for gaming, multimedia and motion graphics. Industry professionals offer projects and feedback.

Student Life on Campus

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