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The Certificate of Visual Arts provides basic training in the fundamentals of drawing, painting, photography, art history and contemporary art. Students will finish the Certificate of Visual Arts with a comprehensive and diverse portfolio package. The Certificate of Visual Arts can be completed within nine months (September-April full-time) or over a period of four years (part-time).

Who is the Certificate of Visual Arts for?

Admission Requirements:

  1. Copy of photo ID.
  2. 6 images (jpegs) of applicant's original work done in the last two years. Images must be a minimum of 640 pixels or 8 inches wide, 72 dpi is fine as long as image width is at least 640 pixels wide. Images can be sent on a CD, flash drive or through a file sharing program such as YouSendIt, Dropbox, WeTransfer or something similar. Include a list of titles, mediums and size of each image (submitted as a separate PDF or Word document). If you are emailing material use the following email address: with 'Application Materials and Your Name' in subject line.
  3. 300-400 word essay describing your reasons for pursuing the Certificate Program. (submitted as a PDF or Word document)
  4. Proof of high school graduation or mature student status (19 years or over and completion of english 12 or completion of BC Provincial english 12 exam with a minimum 60% or 'C' grade); or proof of post-secondary education (transcript).
  5. Applicants whose first language is not English, are required to provide proof of completion of the TOEFL English Language Test (or equivalent) with a minimum of 70% on the results. Applicants who have completed a Degree, Diploma or Certificate from an English-speaking University, College or other Post Secondary Education Institution, will be exempt from having to provide an English Proficiency Test.
  6. Completed application form with $50 application fee ($100 application fee for International students). Payment can be made by Paypal, E-transfer(, Interac or Credit Card (Mastercard or Visa).
    Application deadline: you can apply any time and applications are accepted on a first come, first serve basis (students wishing to apply for student loans will need to apply early to have their funding in place).
Certificate of Visual Arts Application Assessment:

Applications are assessed based on the quality of artwork submitted, the written document expressing reasons to attend the program and applicant's previous academic record.

Assessment of artwork:
Artwork is judged based on the applicant's knowledge of art techniques and use of materials; originality of expression; and ability to photograph their work in a professional-looking manner. The school is looking for applicants that have a strong interest in visual art and whose work reveals a level of engagement with artmaking.

Assessment of written statement:
The written statement required in the application process is used to assess the applicant's interest in art and also to see their English language writing skills as part of the program includes written assignments.

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.

Full-time Study:

Important note for Full-time students: We encourage September intake for enrolment in the Certificate of Visual 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: Introduction I and Painting: Introduction I are not always offered in the Winter semester). Students must register for their courses by August 15 (Fall) and December 15 (Winter) to ensure placement in required courses.

Part-time Study:

Students are advised to register for their courses by August 15 (Fall) and December 15 (Winter) to ensure placement in required courses.

Required Courses:

Certificate of Visual Arts
one year full time study
Fall Semester Winter Semester
Drawing: Introduction I Drawing: Introduction II
Painting: Introduction I Painting: Introduction II
Understanding Colour Design
Art History Art History
Contemporary Art I Contemporary Art II
Elective (36 hr course) Elective (36 hr course)
Elective (36 hr course) Elective (36 hr course)

Tuition fees are based on the cost of individual courses. Some courses have an additional material fee (see individual descriptions for details).

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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 for assistance in choosing or registering for courses.

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VISA's Certificate of Visual Arts is transferable to the second year of the:

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

The Certificate of Visual Arts program has been approved by the B.C. Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB) of the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training.