Cross-disciplinary art: Life Studies
In the Life Studies specialization, you can combine hands-on studio work while exploring subjects related to life and living things. You’ll look at topics such as nature, anatomy, technology, biology, ecology, and sustainability. This specialization offers a focus on science and humanities through creative lenses.
In this program, you’ll experiment with many different mediums including:
You will also work in partnerships on campus and beyond. You’ll take part in field trips, exhibitions, and events. Be part of a unique course structure that provides mentorship opportunities, both as a mentee and later as a mentor. You will also take liberal arts and science courses to deepen your creative work.
At the end of this four-year program, you will earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
As outlined in the Admission Requirements (Undergraduate) Policy, applicants to OCAD University’s undergraduate programs must meet minimum academic entrance requirements and submit:
Statement of Intent (required for all programs) and
Portfolio (required for all studio BFA, BDes programs) or
Writing sample (required for the BA in Visual and Critical Studies)
English Language Proficiency Test results (if required)
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
The 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
Graduates of the program work in:
Natural science research
Arts administration and education
What You’ll Do in the Program
Before you focus on Life Studies, your first year at OCAD University will be in our first year art program. You will have a choice of different kinds of classes to get a good base for future years. A few are mandatory, such as art history and drawing, but the rest of your classes could include:
Body and technology
Art and code
Indigenous sculpture strategies
Nature and culture
In the second year, you will take Life Studies studio and can choose from other studio classes as well as a range of courses in anatomy, technology, biology, ecology, and sustainability, such as:
Anatomy: structure and movement
Introduction to biology
Human form and function: anatomy
Life Study for sculpture
Nature, culture, and environment
Materials and the Anthropocene
The third year will feature a focused Life Studies studio course, with opportunities for collaboration and group work. You’ll choose studio art courses based on your interest, as well as courses in art history, science, humanities, and social science.
In your fourth year, you will work independently on the main project, called a capstone. You’ll gain knowledge through lectures, creating art, gallery visits, and panel discussions. You’ll also showcase your work at GradEx ̶ OCAD U’s Graduate Exhibition, the biggest free art and design exhibition in Toronto with more than 40,000 visitors.
How to Apply
Choose your program 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 range of programs.All undergrad programs can be completed in four years of full-time study. If you need help deciding which program is for you:
Come to one of our many events throughout the year
Read our viewbook, program pages, and course calendar
Do some homework by talking to people who work in these fields.
Check out student work to get a better of what to prepare for your portfolio
Learn about our admission and academic entrance requirements Admission to OCAD U is based primarily on a portfolio or writing submission but strong academic skills are essential for your overall success. All offers of admission are conditional on meeting at least the minimum academic entrance requirements. Review our requirements before applying and contact us if you have any questions.International applicants are welcome and you should familiarize yourself with any special requirements.OCAD U offers many transfer pathway opportunities for students with previous post-secondary experience.
Submit Your Application Online All applicants apply through the Ontario Universities' Application Centre (OUAC). You can start applying in October 2019. The recommended deadline to apply for the 2020/2021 academic year is February 4, 2020. Applications received after February 4, 2020, may be considered if there is space but some programs may not accept applications after the recommended deadline.
Submit your portfolio or supplemental items If you are applying to our Visual and Critical Studies program you need to submit a writing sample assignment and a statement of intent. You’ll be emailed the topic for the writing sample and other details after your application have been processed.If you are applying to our Creative Writing program, you need to submit a writing portfolio and statement of intent through SlideRoom. Your portfolio should feature your original work in poetry, prose, spoken word, hip hop, hybrid or experimental forms. You’ll be emailed further details after your application has been processed. If you are applying to any other undergraduate program at OCAD U, you need to submit a portfolio online through SlideRoom. Visit our preparing a portfolio page for further details on what we are looking for in your portfolio submission. You'll be emailed deadlines and further details after your application has been processed.Most portfolio and writing submissions are reviewed beginning in February each year.
Wait for your conditional offer of admission Offers of Admission will be sent out by email starting at the end of March 2020. The latest date you should expect to hear from us with a decision is May 27, 2020. All offers are conditional upon the completion of the admission process (meeting academic entrance requirements and submitting required documents). You will receive details by email that will include important dates, deadlines, and information about the next steps to complete the process.
Respond to your offer of admission After you respond to your offer of admission through OUAC, OCAD U will be notified electronically that you have accepted your offer of admission. 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. Review our new students' page for more detailed information.
8. See you in September!