Undergraduate Program in Visual Art


Program Description

With its unique interdisciplinary approach that bridges studio production, art history, and curatorial practice, AMPD's Department of Visual Art & Art History offers students the opportunity to become well-rounded professionals in the field, able to lead in the creation, exhibition, critical understanding, and communication of visual culture in diverse environments. 


Through intensive studio training supported by studies in the history and theory of art, students receive a thorough grounding in the production of artworks and comparative cultural analysis across a wide range of traditional and contemporary media. In the initial foundation year, students take courses in all artistic media -- painting, sculpture, print media, drawing, photography, and interdisciplinary art -- and then can choose to specialize in one or more areas. At all levels, students are mentored by faculty members who are highly regarded artists with active professional practices.

York's Visual Arts students are supported in their exploration and creation with access to facilities unrivaled in Canada, including the Joan Goldfarb Visual Arts Study Centre; the L. L. Odette Centre for Sculpture; spacious, state of the art studios; five student-run exhibition galleries and the award-winning Art Gallery of York University. 

Career Options in Visual Arts

This list is not exhaustive but it provides a solid idea of what fellow graduates have gone on to do and what potential careers a Visual Arts degree can offer. Some options are more directly associated with specific areas of Visual Arts than others.

  • Architect
  • Archivist
  • Art Consultant
  • Art Editor
  • Art Gallery Director
  • Artist
  • Cartoonist
  • Cinematographer
  • Courtroom Sketch Artist
  • Critic
  • Curator
  • Engraver
  • Exhibit Designer
  • Fashion Designer
  • Furniture Designer
  • Gallery Director
  • Graphic Designer
  • Historian
  • Illustrator
  • Interior Decorator
  • Jewelry Designer
  • Journalist
  • Landscape Designer
  • Medical Illustrator
  • Multimedia Consultant
  • Museum Director
  • Non-profit Administrator
  • Painter
  • Performer
  • Photographer
  • Product Designer
  • Sculptor
  • Set Designer
  • Special Effects Consultant
  • Tattoo Artist
  • Teacher

Some of these career choices may require additional education or preparation in the form of graduate studies, experiential education, or professional formative courses and exams.

Skills Developed through a Visual Arts Degree

A background in Visual Arts ensures that you develop the skills and mindset to tackle many different professional challenges.

Core Visual Arts Skills

  • Well rounded drawing and sketching abilities as well as an introduction to sculpture and selected media;
  • Exposure to hands-on studio settings and the confidence to create;
  • Knowledge of the theory, the history, and the practice of visual arts;
  • The ability to design visual projects, create them and present them to peers;
  • A good understanding of contemporary design software and modern visual arts techniques.

Communication, Data Gathering and Organizational Skills

  • The ability to present your thoughts clearly and intelligently in written statements and written opinion pieces;
  • Deduction of information from various sources and the ability to concentrate on relevant resources;
  • The ability to organize, understand and analyze sources of information and to apply novel forms of technology or new information to different professional settings and tasks;
  • The ability to explain complex ideas clearly to others and to apply complex theoretical concepts to everyday practice and professional dilemmas;
  • The skills to collect various types of information, assess them, analyze and incorporate potential linkages from different fields, put them into writing, and efficiently convey your message and the goal of your work.

Management and Teamwork

  • The ability to interpret and analyze information presented by peers and efficiently and constructively support or challenge their proposals, theories, ideas, and reports in order to achieve a project's intended end result;
  • Skills enabling you to work effectively in group situations, partaking in decision-making, leading and contributing in various capacities to the ultimate success of the team and task;
  • The ability to debate, persuade, mediate and present your thoughts and opinions to others, as well as the capacity to recognize and incorporate other potential solutions or applications to given problems;
  • The capability to identify priorities and proper courses of action, to plan the execution of tasks, and to determine and delegate responsibilities to group members to most effectively carry out projects.


Last updated Dec 2020

About the School

Our world increasingly needs creative thinkers to ignite bold new ideas, invent transformative experiences, and develop innovative solutions for global challenges. As one of North America’s premier ce ... Read More

Our world increasingly needs creative thinkers to ignite bold new ideas, invent transformative experiences, and develop innovative solutions for global challenges. As one of North America’s premier centers for education in the arts, York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design (AMPD) will unleash your creativity and prepare you to thrive in a world where the single most valuable asset is creativity. This is your opportunity to join Debra Brown (Cirque du Soleil choreographer), David Quilico (Vice-President of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada), Georgiana Uhlyarik (Associate Curator of Canadian Art, Art Gallery of Ontario), and Hael Kobayashi (Executive Director of Creative Intelligence, University of Technology, Sydney), as York AMPD graduates, uniquely defining what creativity means today and how it will be imagined tomorrow. Our School is committed to excellence, experimentation, and leadership. Learning by doing is the hallmark of our programs. We offer intensive professional training and in-depth academic studies in dance, design, digital media, film, music, theatre, and visual arts. Read less