Academic Advisement Application Deadline Articulation Agreements Bursary Work/Study Program Entry Requirements Full-time Study Part-time Study Prior Learning Assessment Mature Student Status Transfer Credits
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The Diploma Program provides a student with comprehensive knowledge and skills in the fine arts disciplines of drawing, painting, photography, installation and art history. Throughout the three-year program, students will move from developing a basic vocabulary in art and design to completing a professional-quality body of work in their third year. This work will culminate with a Graduation Exhibition. Students will finish the diploma program with a comprehensive portfolio package ready for presentation to galleries, grant applications or graduate studies.

Who is the Diploma of Fine Arts for?

Articulation Agreements:

We are pleased to announce that the Vancouver Island School of Art has finalized an articulation agreement with the UNIVERSITY of GLOUCESTERSHIRE in the UK. This means that a student who completes a 3-year Diploma of Fine Arts at VISA can transfer into the 4th year of a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts at the University of Gloucestershire. Students will complete a Bachelor degree after eight months of study.

Admission Requirements:

Program Application Fee
Canadian Student
International Student

The selection of candidates for the Diploma program is a serious process that follows strict criteria. Successful applicants to the Diploma of Fine Arts program need to present work that shows developed engagement towards art making and reveals original thought processes.

Application Deadline:

Students may apply at any time and applications are accepted on a first come, first served basis (students wishing to apply for student loans will need to apply early to have their funding in place).
We encourage September intake for enrolment in the the Diploma of Fine Arts, however some exceptions can be made regarding a January intake for this program. Students applying for the January intake must exhibit prior drawing and painting experience so that they can enrol directly into Drawing: Introduction II and Painting: Introduction II (as Drawing: Intro I and Painting: Intro I are not always offered in the Winter semester). 

Non-native speakers:
Provided non-native speaking applicants have met all other application requirements, they will be required to meet with the Director for a Language Proficiency Interview. If required, the applicant will be asked to complete the TOEFL English language test, with a minimum score of 70%.

Full-time Study:

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Part-time Study:

Note: Once accepted into the Diploma Program students must register for their individual courses by August 15 (Fall) and December 15 (Winter) to ensure placement in required courses.

Important note for Part-time students: In addition to Fall and Winter semesters, hourly credits can be earned in workshops and in the Spring semester to accumulate the required 1512 hours within a five-year time period. It is the responsibility of each student to ensure they complete the necessary requirements within the maximum allowable time. Research Project must be taken in the final year prior to graduation.

Required Courses:

Diploma of Fine Arts
three years full time study
year one
Fall Semester Winter Semester
Drawing: Introduction I Drawing: Introduction II
Painting: Introduction I Painting: Introduction II
Understanding Colour Design
Art History Art History
How to Look at Art Themes in Contemporary Art
Elective Elective
Elective Elective
year two
Fall Semester Winter Semester
Drawing 200 level Drawing 200 level
Painting 200 level Painting 200 level
Art History 200 level Art History 200 level
Elective 200 level Elective 200 level
Elective 200 level Elective 200 level
Elective 200 level Elective 200 level
Elective 200 level Elective 200 level
year three
Fall Semester Winter Semester
Drawing: Advanced I Drawing: Advanced II
Painting: Advanced I Painting: Advanced II
Art Reading & Writing Professional Development
Research Project I Research Project II

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Transfer Credits

The Vancouver Island School of Art accepts credits from other institutions based on the criteria that the courses are similar in content and duration. Not more than 50% of total acceptable credits can be transferred to a program. Hourly equivalents are determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the institution, course and year completed. Students who wish to transfer credits must provide transcripts from other institutions attended.

Hourly credits completed at VISA by non-program students can also be transferred to a program, up to a maximum of 100%.

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Prior Learning Assessment

PLA credit may be awarded to students accepted into the Diploma of Fine Arts program only, as a result of an assessment of prior learning gained from the following types of experiential learning:

  1. Work experience
  2. Informal education and training (including non-graded VISA courses and workshops)
  3. Self-study
  4. Volunteer activities
  5. Other life experiences
Applicants are required to demonstrate the skills, knowledge or competency attained. A variety of assessment tools, that may include but are not limited to, portfolios and oral presentations or challenge examinations (for art history courses) will be used.

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Mature Student Status

Applicants who are 19 years of age or older, who lack the minimum program admission requirement may apply as mature students. The Director will consider written requests for admission as a mature student. Applicants are asked to provide, in writing, details of other qualifications or experiences and documents from any completed educational courses or programs. The Director may request an interview.

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Academic Advisement

If you would like to discuss your future studies at the Vancouver Island School of Art, please call 250-380-3500 or email to make an appointment for Academic Advising.

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Bursary Work/Study Program

Students who are enrolled in a program (Certificate or Diploma)and have taken at least two 12-week courses at the Vancouver Island School of Art are eligible to apply for Bursary Work/Study. Participating students are able to work hour-for-hour for a course or courses (up to nine hours per week). For example, a student taking a 12-week course (three hours per week), they can 'pay' for this course by putting in three hours of work at the school per week. Bursary students need to commit to a regular weekly time-slot for the duration of the semester. To apply for the Program the Bursary application form must be submitted by August 31st for Fall semester and December 31st for the Winter semester.

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The Vancouver Island School of Art is a Designated Learning Institution registered with the Government of Canada. DLI# O111345278377

The Vancouver Island School of Art is Accredited with the B.C. Private Training Institutions Branch.