This is Canada’s top advertising program through a combo of classes in graphic design, branding, creative copywriting and career-building skills. More than half of students get offered jobs before they even graduate at Canada’s only four-year university advertising program.
In this program, instructors who work in the advertising field will teach you:
Consumer behaviors and market research
You will learn storytelling from many different points of views. You will be encouraged to challenge tradition and consider different viewpoints and values.
In the fourth year, you’ll work in boot camps with real clients and create real campaigns. In the past, students have worked with McCain Pizza Pockets and Sony PlayStation. This means you can say you’ve sold a creative concept before even finishing school – a huge advantage when you’re looking for a job.
You’ll also benefit from guest speakers from Canada’s biggest ad agencies and have the opportunity to do internships. An acclaimed alum of the program includes many top creative directors in Canada and worldwide, including Elspeth Lynn, Creative Director for Saatchi & Saatchi in London, UK, Wain Choi, Global VP ECD at Cheil Worldwide in Korea and Carlos Moreno, Global Chief Creative Officer for Cossette.
At the end of this four-year program, you will earn a Bachelor of Design degree.
For Ontario high school students, a minimum overall average of 70%
Portfolio (samples of your work and a visual representation of who you are)
Statement of Intent
Studio-Based Degree Program Admission Requirements
All offers of admission to OCAD U's studio-based degree programs, the Bachelor of Design (BDes) and the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) are based on the strength of the applicant’s portfolio and are conditional upon meeting the minimum academic requirements and supplying all required documentation as outlined below.
After you apply, you will be notified by email of the details for submitting your portfolio for assessment. Information on portfolio preparation and tips for your submission can be found at Preparing a Portfolio.
Non-Studio Degree Program Admission Requirements
Admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies is based on a combination of a review of the written assignment and your academic records. Applicants to the BA in Visual and Critical Studies are required to submit the following to be considered for admission:
Statement of Intent
Original writing sample responding to an assigned topic provided by OCAD U
After you apply you will be notified by email of the exact dates and deadlines for you to submit your supplemental application materials, the topic for the writing sample and when you will need to meet the academic entrance requirements.
Academic Entrance Requirements
Official transcripts (unless collected and submitted through the OUAC), English language proficiency test results (if required) and supporting documents should be mailed directly from the institution attended or the testing center to the Admissions & Recruitment office at OCAD U's main address. The following academic requirements must be met to complete the admission process.
For Ontario Secondary School applicants:
Successful completion of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD)
Grade 12 U English (ENG4U or EAE4U) with a minimum final grade of 70%
A total of at least six Grade 12 U or M level courses (including ENG4U or EAE4U) with a minimum overall academic average of 70%
Please note: if your first language is not English and you have not completed at least four consecutive years of high school in an English-medium school system you are also required to submit successful English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) results in addition to ENG4U.
For Canadian high school applicants from outside Ontario:
Graduated high school
Equivalent of 70% minimum average in university preparatory courses
Senior level academic English course minimum final grade of 70% and/or equivalent test
Please note: if your first language is not English and you have not completed at least four consecutive years of high school in an English-medium school system you are required to submit successful English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) results in addition to Grade 12 English (or equivalent).
For International high school applicants: Secondary School Graduation equivalent to Grade 12 in Ontario with an overall average of B or 70% numeric equivalent in the final year and:
If you are applying from a country or school system with English as the official language of instruction, a minimum grade of B or 70% numeric equivalent in English 12 or equivalent course is required.
If you are applying from a country or school system with a language other than English as the official language of instruction, OR if your first language is not English and you have not completed at least four consecutive years of high school in an English-medium school system, you are required to present the successful results of an English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT).
All international students must have a valid Study Permit/Student Visa before registering at OCAD U. We strongly recommend that you apply for your study permit as soon as the offer of admission is received.
International Baccalaureate (IB): The admission average for an IB Diploma applicant is generally calculated on 3 Higher Level and 3 Standard Level subjects. A minimum final score of 24 points is required. IB English must be included as one of these courses with a final grade of 4 or higher. Transfer credit may be awarded to students who achieve a grade of at least 5 in Higher Level IB courses that are approved as equivalent to OCAD U courses.
Please Note: Applicants not completing the full IB Diploma must provide official transcripts and proof of Secondary School Graduation equivalent to Grade 12 in Ontario with an overall average of B or 70% numeric equivalent in the final year and satisfy English entrance requirements.
Advanced Placement (AP) Courses: OCAD U recognizes the value of AP courses and will take successful completion of these courses into consideration when assessing academic requirements. Transfer credit may be awarded to students who achieve a grade of 4 or higher in courses that are approved as equivalent to OCAD U courses.
British Pattern Curriculum: Applicants must provide proof of completion of the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE/IGCSE) with five O-Level subjects with a minimum C grade or better as well as General Certificate of Education Advanced or Advanced Supplementary Levels (GCE-A or GCE-AS) with at least two A-Levels or four AS-Levels. A minimum grade of C in each A/AS-Level is required. English at the A-Level or AS-Level is recommended but must at least be completed at the O-Level.
Non-traditional Applicants: To be considered as a Mature Applicant, you must be at least 20 years of age by September 1 of the year of intended enrolment and not engaged in formal education for at least two years. Satisfactory proof of proficiency in English (a course or a test) is required of all applicants.
NEW: OCAD University has established a partnership with the Academic Bridging Program at the University of Toronto's Woodsworth College. OCAD U will now accept successful completion of the Academic Bridging Program as equivalent to meeting the requirements for entry and will grant Liberal Arts & Science transfer credits to students entering via that pathway.
For Transfer Applicants (students coming from another university or college): Please visit our Transfer Pathways section.
Statement on Offers of Admission: Admission to an undergraduate degree program at OCAD University is based primarily on the review of an applicant’s portfolio/supplemental application materials which indicates an applicant’s suitability for and ability to be successful within the program applied to. Admission to OCAD University is competitive; meeting minimum academic entrance requirements does not guarantee admission. Final decisions on matters of admission rest within the Undergraduate Admissions Office. All admission decisions are final and are not subject to appeal.
Statement on Application Fraud: It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that application information and all supporting documentation is truthful, complete and correct. OCAD University reserves the right to verify any information provided as part of the application. It is an act of serious academic misconduct to provide any false or misleading information (either by omission or commission) in an application. If it is proven, or if the University has reasonable grounds to conclude, that any information in the application, or in any of the material submitted in support of the application, is determined to be false or misleading, or written by a third party, the application may be invalidated at the absolute and sole discretion of OCAD University. This could result in immediate rejection of the application, or, in the revocation of an offer of admission, or, in the termination of registration at OCAD University. Any such information may be shared by OCAD University with other universities and colleges across Canada.
OCAD University reserves the right to be the sole arbiter of what it will accept on an academic and equivalency basis. Admission and academic entrance requirements are subject to change.
Jobs You Can Get
More than half of the fourth year students have jobs lined up before they even graduate. Many of Canada’s top advertising creatives are graduates of OCAD U’s program.
Advertising agencies and marketing firms
In-house marketing for companies
Production and film studios
OCAD U offers so much more than co-ops because creative careers take many forms. Our approach is specialized and individual to every student’s needs and goals. You will be able to take advantage of:
Short experiential learning placements from among hundreds of organizations
Creative in-class projects with real-world industry partners
Exclusive summer internships
Gallery exhibitions of your work
Freelance creative opportunities
Jobs after graduation
OCAD University’s dedicated support services will help you build a professional community, valuable experience and skills necessary for a meaningful career.
What You’ll Do in the Program
In the first year, you’ll take intro to advertising courses and a good base of art and design classes including:
Colour and two-dimensional design
In the second year, you’ll learn the advertising strategy and concept. You’ll also take:
Digital advertising design
Your choice of classes in English, social sciences or humanities
The third year features your choice of art classes and:
Art of persuasion
Retail advertising and user experience
Your choice of classes in English, social sciences or humanities
In the fourth year, you’ll work with real clients in advertising boot camp. You will create real campaigns from scratch and present it to clients such as McCain or Sony. You’ll also work on your thesis project and showcase your work at OCAD U’s GradEx, the biggest free art and design exhibition in Toronto with over 40,000 visitors.
Guide to Admissions
Choose your area of study: OCAD University offers three undergraduate degrees — a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Design (BDes) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA) — in a wide array of different programs. All undergraduate programs can be completed in four years of full-time study. If you need help deciding which of our programs best suit you, come to one of our many events throughout the year, peruse our viewbook and course calendar or do some homework by talking to people who are active in these fields.
Learn about our admission and academic entrance requirements: Admission to the Bachelor of Arts in Visual and Critical Studies is based on a combination of a review of a written assignment, a statement of intent and your academic records. Admission to our Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program is based primarily on a writing portfolio. Admission to all other studio programs (Bachelor Design, Bachelor of Fine Arts) is based primarily on an assessment of your portfolio of work. All applicants must submit a Statement of Intent as part of the portfolio submission and must meet minimum academic requirements. International applicants are welcome and should familiarize themselves with special requirements. OCAD U offers many transfer pathways for students with previous post-secondary experience.
Submit your application online: All applicants apply through the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC). The application will be made available in October 2019. The recommended deadline to apply for the 2020/2021 academic year is February 4, 2020. Applications received after February 4, 2020, will be considered as space permits and some programs may not accept applications after the February 4, 2020.
Submit your portfolio (for admission to BFA, BDes programs): All applicants are required to submit a digital portfolio online through SlideRoom. Most portfolio submissions are reviewed in February each year. You will be notified of all dates and deadlines and will be provided with instructions for submitting your portfolio by email after you apply.
Submit your writing sample (for admission to the BA in Visual and Critical Studies): You will be emailed the topic for the writing sample after your application has been processed.
Await your conditional offer of admission: All offers are conditional upon the completion of the admission process (meeting academic requirements and submitting necessary documents).
Respond to your offer of admission: After you respond to your offer of admission via OUAC, OCAD U will be notified electronically that you have accepted your offer of admission. OCAD U will send you correspondence (via email) that will include important dates, deadlines, and information about online registration. You will need to pay a $500 non-refundable deposit in order to secure your spot at OCAD U.
Plan your year: Ensure you have the necessary financial resources for tuition, fees, supplies and living expenses. Arrange housing if required. Attend our summer orientation programs and register for your classes online.
See you in September!