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Faculty of Arts
1. Summary of Degree Programs
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4.1 Arts and Science Honours Academy
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4.7 Art and Art History
4.7.1 BFA in Visual Studies
4.7.2 BFA Honours Visual Studies
4.7.3 BA in Art History
4.7.4 Concurrent BFA (Visual Studies)/BEd
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Summary of Changes for the 2023-2024 Calendar
University of Calgary Calendar 2023-2024 Faculty of Arts 4. Program Details 4.7 Art and Art History
4.7 Art and Art History
Overview of Programs and Procedures
Baccalaureate Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Art History

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Visual Studies

BFA Honours in Visual Studies

BFA in Visual Studies with Co-operative Education

BFA Honours in Visual Studies with Co-operative Education

Concurrent BFA in Visual Studies/Bachelor of Education


  • A Concentration in Art Education is available in the BFA or BFA Honours in Visual Studies.
  • Minors are offered in Visual Studies and Art History and in Museum and Heritage Studies.

The Department of Art and Art History is committed to the study and practice of the visual arts as these relate to:

(a) Creative research in art practices (studio);

(b) Educational practice and theory (Art Education); and

(c) Critical study of art in its diverse historical and cultural settings (Art History).

The Department offers the four-year BFA and BFA Honours (Visual Studies) degree, the four year BA in Art History, and a five-year concurrent degree program with the Werklund School of Education, leading to the BFA (Visual Studies) and Bachelor of Education degrees.

Students in the four year BFA and BFA Honours (Visual Studies) are involved in creative research and visual art practices that engage with contemporary society. The courses of study enable the student to develop conceptual understanding in the visual arts, to develop a foundation of knowledge and practice of artistic self-sufficiency, to develop creative processes of planning in order to carry out their various studio interests, and to teach art in the elementary or secondary school systems or to work as art specialists in other settings. The program enables the individual student to determine through studio practice the understandings and insights that support their own artistic and intellectual development. The Honours degree in Visual Studies is an advanced undergraduate program for students seeking a more focused studio experience, aspiring to careers as practicing and professional artists, or considering further graduate level study in an MFA program. A high standard of creative achievement is required for admission, continuation, and completion.

Students in the BFA or BFA Honours (Visual Studies) may choose a Concentration in Art Education. A concentration in Art Education does not provide students with the credentials required to teach in the public school system in Alberta. It is meant to provide students with skills and knowledge that would prepare them to teach art in informal, community-based settings.

The Visual Studies program provides a core of work in the theory and methodology of art education, as well as a foundation in studio art and Art History. Students interested in teacher certification should pursue the concurrent degree program with the Werklund School of Education, which offers three years of study in the Visual Studies program and two years in the Bachelor of Education program.

The BA (Art History) engages students in critical and creative analysis of art objects and cultural forms in a variety of historical, geopolitical, and cultural contexts.

The Minor in Museum and Heritage Studies program is intended to develop a critical and analytical perspective on the issues and future of museum and heritage resources. These encompass national parks and heritage sites, museums and art galleries, archives and historic buildings.

For Program Advice

Students should consult an undergraduate program advisor in the Arts Students’ Centre for information and advice on their overall program requirements. Advising contact information can be found online:

Students wishing to pursue the concurrent BFA (Visual Studies)/BEd degree program should also consult with an advisor at the Werklund School of Education. Advising contact information can be found online:

Admission to the BFA in Visual Studies

Admission to the BFA (Visual Studies) program is contingent on the evaluation of a portfolio, which must be received by the department by February 1. For information about the portfolio submission process, see the Department of Art and Art History website:

Prospective students must also meet the criteria listed in section A.5 Undergraduate Admission Requirements of this Calendar.

Admission to BFA Honours

Students wishing to be considered for admission into BFA Honours in Visual Studies must have completed 75 units and must meet the criteria established by the Faculty of Arts in section 3.3.2 Honours Degrees.

The Faculty of Arts procedures for Admission to Honours established in section 3.3.2 Honours Degrees are applicable and provide the overall framework.

Students majoring in Visual Studies are eligible to apply for Honours by the February 1 deadline only if they will complete the program during the following academic year. In addition to applying through the Student Centre for a change of program to Honours, students must submit a Letter of Intent and a portfolio of work to the Department of Art and Art History. Information on the supplemental components can be found on the Department of Art and Art History website. The department's application form must be signed by a thesis supervisor and include a preliminary thesis proposal. To meet the February 1 deadline, it is recommended that students wishing to enrol in the Honours program obtain guidelines and an application form from the Program Co-ordinator no later than December 1. Students are strongly advised to secure a thesis supervisor by December 15.

Admission to the BA in Art History

Prospective students wishing to enter the BA (Art History) Program must meet the criteria listed in section A.5 Undergraduate Admission Requirements of this Calendar.

Overlapping Programs

Programs in Art History and Visual Studies cannot be taken in conjunction with other programs in Art History or Visual Studies. This restriction applies to Major-plus-Minor combinations, Double Majors, Combined Degrees, and Second Baccalaureate Degrees.

Courses Constituting the Field of Art