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, or by choosing co-op with your degree.

Alternatively, immerse yourself in hands-on creation with our Studio Practice major. We offer classes in drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, media arts, and digital imaging. You can also choose one of three specializations, including one that will prepare you for a career in education.

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 City and Montréal.


Waterloo Bachelor of Fine Arts degree 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.

icon of the globeInternational exchanges in 25 countries

briefcaseAvailable as a co-op and regular program

icon of open bookAvailable as a major and minor


Fine Arts degree admission requirements

Apply to Honours Arts or Honours Arts and Business and choose Fine Arts as your major at the end of first year.

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First-year courses

September to December

Visual Culture major

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

Studio Practice major

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

January to April

Visual Culture major

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

Studio Practice major


*The Arts First requirement consists of two 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 courses

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


icon of network of peopleOffered by the Faculty of Arts

Graduation capEarn a Bachelor of Arts degreee in Fine Arts


Co-op = relevant paid work experience

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.

Sample co-op job titles

  • Graphic designer
  • Web content management specialist
  • Marketing coordinator
  • Digital media project assistant
  • Events & motivational programs student
  • App design guru
  • Communications coordinator

Sample co-op employers

  • Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Triumf particle accelerator centre
  • Mitre Media
  • Nissan Canada Inc.
  • Dejero Labs Inc.
  • Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Customize your Fine Arts degree

Choose Studio Practice or Visual Culture as the area of focus for your Fine Arts major or add additional areas of interest and expertise by including a minor (or minors) as part of your degree.

Within the Studio Practice major, you can choose specializations in Intensive StudioDigital Art, or the Teaching Preparation Specialization. With the Teaching Preparation specialization, you'll be eligible for the Bachelor of Education program at Nipissing University in either the Junior/Intermediate or Intermediate/Senior divisions.

Popular areas of focus for Fine Arts students include Digital Arts Communication, Intensive Studio, and Film Studies.

What can you do with a Fine Arts degree?

Graduates often pursue careers in creative fields such as marketing, design, and education. They commonly work in art galleries, banks, schools, media companies, and more.

Recent graduates

  • Designer & Technologist – Whiting Design
  • Graphic Designer – Punch & Judy 
  • User Experience Designer – Green Brick Labs
  • Junior Character Rigger – Big Jump Productions
  • Brick Laser Apprentice – Kitchener Glass
  • Instructor – Conestoga College
  • Artist - C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures

Learn about the future of careers in arts, humanities, social sciences, languages, and creative arts.

Ready to learn more?