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Fine Arts

Explore the power of visual communication.

Got a bent for critique? Choose a major in Visual Culture, where you’ll focus on analysis and theory as you delve into the history, culture, and impact of visual arts.

It’s excellent preparation for a career as an art historian, educator, librarian, or gallery/museum administrator. You can even gain practical experience with a 36-hour internship at a local arts institution.

Alternatively, immerse yourself in hands-on creation with our Studio major. We offer classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, media arts, and digital imaging.

In Fine Arts, you’ll hone your mastery of technique, develop a cohesive body of work, and learn the skills you’ll need as a professional artist.

Whichever path you choose, you’ll enjoy an intimate community and supportive professors.

Pick from 80+ courses

With more than 80 courses available, you can explore the visual arts and tailor your degree to your interests and passions.

Trips to NYC and Montréal

Broaden your horizons with talks from visiting artists, on-campus art shows, and multi-day trips to New York and Montréal.


Areas of emphasis

You can choose Studio Practice or Visual Culture as an area of focus for your Fine Arts major. 

Waterloo Fine Arts student Alyana standing in Student Life Centre

Alyana, a Fine Arts major, wanted to foster community at Waterloo. Through a studio project, she was able to develop her “You Are My__” initiative, which she says was successful because it tapped into people's inherent want to express how we feel. "Having a gesture as simple as giving and receiving a button was a simple way to express these emotions," she says.

About the Fine Arts program

briefcase Available as a co-op and regular program

Graduation cap Earn a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts

icon of the globeInternational exchanges in 25 countries

icon of network of peopleOffered by the Faculty of Arts

icon of open bookAvailable as a major and minor



First-year Fine Arts courses


September to December

For Visual Culture:

VCULT 100 - World Cinema and Visual Culture
VCULT 101- Art History and Visual Culture
Arts First requirement 1*
2 additional courses

For Studio Practice:

FINE 100 - Studio Fundamentals 
FINE 101- Art History and Visual Culture
Arts First requirement 1*
2 additional courses

January to April

For Visual Culture:

FINE 112 - Modern Art, 1874-1945
FINE 100 - Studio Fundamentals
Arts First requirement 2*
2 additional courses

For Studio Practice:

FINE 202 and/or FINE 225
FINE 112 - Modern Art, 1874-1945
Arts First requirement 2*
1-2 additional courses


*The Arts First requirement consists of 2 first-year courses that are capped at 25 students: ARTS 130 - Inquiry and Communication and ARTS 140 - Information and Analysis. Instead of listening to a lecture and trying to capture notes, Arts First courses will have you and your classmates working together to respond to a challenge posed by the instructor.

After first year

40% of the classes you’ll take will be Fine Arts courses. With your remaining classes, you can choose electives from many of the 100 subject areas at Waterloo.

Sample upper-year Fine Arts courses

FINE 221 – Acrylic and Mixed Media
FINE 272 – Clay Studies
FINE 319 – Contemporary Art
FINE 368 – International Comics and Animation Film


Customize your Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts degree

Add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor (or minors) as part of your bachelor's degree studies.

You can also choose a teaching specialization within the Fine Arts program.

Gain relevant work experience through co-op

By alternating school terms and paid co-op work terms throughout your degree, you can explore new career areas and types of employers as your career interests evolve. Co-op is available to students studying Fine Arts through Honours Arts and Business.

Sample co-op job titles

  • Graphic Designer
  • Online Communications and Marketing Assistant
  • Web Content Management Specialist
  • Fundraising/Marketing Administrative Assistant
  • eBusiness Specialist
  • Communications Assistant
  • Marketing Coordinator

Sample co-op employers

  • University of Waterloo
  • AGF Management Ltd
  • Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Triumf
  • Richards-Wilcox Canada


Recent graduates

  • Artist in Residence, Waterloo Regional Children's Museum
  • Art Instructor, Northern College Applied Arts and Technology
  • Audience Development Coordinator, Cambridge Libraries and Galleries
  • Designer, Finishing Touch Cabinets
  • Event Manager, The Event Firm
  • Fundraising Manager, Sarasota Opera Association

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