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Top Design Colleges in Canada

Sonal Vaid Sonal Vaid
Study Abroad Expert

Design courses in Canada are offered by the School of Arts of the respective universities. Universities in Canada consolidates the theoretical, practical and research approach to make the concepts involved in design studies understandable. Design colleges in Canada provide options to the students to choose certain core and elective subjects of their own choice as a part of the respective course.

  • The top 5 design colleges in Canada are among the 150 top universities according to QS for Global University Rankings 2020.
  • The average salary of a design graduate in Canada varies in the range of 40,000 CAD to 90,000 CAD per annum.
  • As per the recent study made by StatsCan, jobs in Canada for Design graduates are expected to increase with 21,400 new vacancies till 2026.
  • The salary of graphic designers has seen an increment of about 4% every year since 2016.
  • Average annual salary of a student with masters in design studies is 41% more than that of a student with bachelors degree in design in Canada.

Top Design Colleges in Canada

While looking for top design colleges in Canada, international students need to have a brief idea about the type of courses provided, colleges and their world ranking. This section deals with the details about the design courses as well as the best universities providing the respective courses.

Name of the UniversityQS World Ranking (Design)Courses Offered
Emily Carr University#40Certificate in interaction Design
Certificate in Communication Design, in 2D, 3D
Bachelor of Design[B.Des] in Communication Design
B.Des. in Interaction Design
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration
Masters of Design in Interaction Design
Master of Fine Arts
Concordia University#51-100Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation
Master of Design
University of British Columbia#51-100B.F.A Theatre in Design and Production
University of Ryerson University#101-150Bachelor of Interior Design
OCAD University#101-150Bachelor of Environmental Design
Bachelor of Material art and Design
Bachelor of Industrial Design
M.A in Contemporary Art and Design
M.Des in Design for Heath, in Inclusive Design
Simon Fraser University#151-200BFA Theatre- Production and Management
MEd. in Educational Technology and Learning Design
M.A in Educational Technology & Learning Design
PhD. in Educational Technology and Learning Design
University of Alberta#151-200B.Des in General Route
B.A in Arts and Design, Visual Culture and Design
B.F.A in Art and Design
M.Des in Art and Design
M.A in Art and Design
PhD. in Art and Design

Design Colleges in Canada: Degree Courses and Specializations

Design colleges in Canada give a wide range of specific courses in design. Majority of the universities provide a Bachelors and Masters of Design.

With each higher degree, the possibility of finding a more generous line of work turns out to be simple with a huge hike in salaries.

Design colleges in Canada provide different levels of degree courses for design studies. Mainly they are distributed in:

  • Diploma and Certificate courses, which are basically 6 months to 1 year courses.
  • Bachelor's Degree: Bachelor of Art, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelors of and Bachelor of Design.
  • Master's Degree: Master of Art and Design, Masters in Fine Arts in Canada, Master of Design and M.Ed.
  • Doctorate degree: PhD.

It is quite important for the students to know about the specializations offered in this field. Mentioned below is a table which states few of the popular design specializations available in the Canadian universities.

Communication DesignInteraction Design
Visual CultureGraphics Design
Illustration DesignMaterial Art Design
Educational Technology & Learning DesignDesign of Health
Contemporary Art DesignAnimation Design

Top Design Colleges in Canada offering Undergraduate Courses

Undergraduate courses in design in Canada are professional courses of 3 to 4 years offering numerous specializations like Product Design, Fashion Design, Industrial Design, Textile Design, Fashion Communication and many others.

In this section we will deal with the popular undergraduate courses in design in Canada, universities providing these courses, along with their duration and fee structure.

ProgramName of the UniversityAnnual Program Fee (in CAD)Duration of the Course (in Years)
Bachelor of DesignEmily Carr University157,7004
Bachelor of DesignLaSalle College103,9003
Bachelor of DesignNSCAD University89,3004
Bachelor of Design in Interaction DesignEmily Carr University157,7004
Bachelor of Industrial DesignOCAD University120,5004
B.Des in Graphic DesignLaSalle College103,9003
Bachelor of Interior DesignRyerson University116,5204
Bachelor of Fine Arts and DesignConcordia University79,2004
BFA in AnimationConcordia University79,2004
BFA Theatre- Production and ManagementSimon Fraser University120,9004
BFA Theatre- Production and ManagementUniversity of British Columbia159,7004
B.A in Visual DesignUniversity of Alberta129,4004
Bachelor of Material Art and DesignOCAD University120,6004

Apart from these degree courses many certificate and diploma courses are also available in different universities like Emily Carr University, which are basically 6 months to 1 Year courses.

Bachelors in Design in Canada: Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility criteria is one of the main prospects that international students should know when starting their studies abroad in Canada. Canadian universities providing bachelors courses in design have a common eligibility requirements which includes different entrance exams like IELTS,TOEFL etc.

Mentioned below are the detailed criteria for studying Bachelors in Design in Canada.

  • Students need to have a School Certificate or 12 years of education in any field, with an aggregate score of 70%.
  • Students need to provide proof of English Language Proficiency through one of the standardized exams:
    • TOEFL (iBT): 84-90
    • IELTS: 6.5
    • PTE: 58

Required Documents

  • Completed admission application form
  • Letter of Reference
  • Academic Transcripts
  • Financial proof 
  • Health Insurance

Bachelors in Design in Canada: Cost and Funding

The average cost of studying a bachelors degree in design in Canada costs about 79,200 CAD to 159,000 CAD for the total program.

Different scholarships are available to contemplate undergraduate design degrees for the international students in Canada. Along with that, numerous Canadian colleges additionally give several international scholarships to study in Canada assisting in pursuing bachelors in design from Canada. 

Top Design Colleges in Canada offering Masters

Master of Design in Canada is a way more popular degree that is preferred by the students. Some of the popular programs taught in a masters degree programs in design are Design Theory, Research Methods in Design and Interdisciplinary Practices in Design, Visual Communication, Built Environment, and Interaction Design. A thesis is required to be submitted in the last year of the course for the effective culmination of the degree.

This section deals with the above mentioned courses and the universities offering these courses along with their fee structure.

ProgramName of the UniversityTotal Program Cost (in CAD)Duration (in Years)
Master of DesignOCAD University49,0002
Master of DesignEmily University40,9002
Master of DesignNSCAD University42,2502
Master of DesignConcordia University38,1002
Master of DesignUniversity of Alberta25,6002
M.Des in Interaction DesignEmily Carr University40,7442
M.Des in Inclusive DesignOCAD University35,9502
M.Des in Art and DesignUniversity of Alberta25,9002
M.A in Arts and DesignUniversity Alberta25,9002
M.A in Arts and DesignOCAD University45.950
M.A in Educational Technology and Learning DesignSimon Fraser University30,3003
MFA in Art and DesignUniversity of Alberta28,1002

There is also a post bachelor certificate course in design available in NSCAD University. It is basically a 1 year certificate course which costs around 20,710 CAD.

Masters in Design in Canada: Eligibility and Requirements

Students with a bachelor’s degree in design or equivalent work experience can apply for the postgraduate courses in Canada. For applying for a postgraduate degree in Canada, international students need to have the following eligibility criteria:

  • Must have an equivalent bachelor’s degree with an aggregate of 75% and above.
  • Must have good scores in ELPs
    • IELTS: 6.5-7
    • TOEFL:90
    • PTE: 58
  • Academic Transcripts.
  • Curriculum Vitae reflecting grades, extra-curricular activities and experience.
  • At Least 3 letters of recommendation, with a minimum of 2 from the academic background.
  • Valid proof of prior experience in the field of design. 

Masters in Design in Canada:Fees and Funding

Masters in Design in Canada cost in the range of 25,900 CAD to 49,000 CAD approximately for the total program. Along with the tuition fee, students need to bear their living costs in Canada such as accommodations, meals and other expenses to study in Canada, which ranges around 18,000 CAD yearly.

To support these expenses, numerous colleges and universities provide numerous scholarships for the international students. Few of the colleges also offer departmental fellowships.

Design Colleges in Canada offering Doctoral Degrees

As per recent statistics by Job Bank- Canada, 90% of the graduates get jobs within the 3 months of completing their courses with an average pay of around 85,000 CAD-100,000 CAD/annum. Thus, the PhD. courses in Design in Canada is a good choice to improve your job position, as well as your salary.

Mentioned below are few of the Doctoral program offered by the Canadian colleges:

ProgramName of the UniversityTotal Program Cost (in CAD)Duration of the Course (in Years)
PhD. in Art and DesignUniversity of Alberta51,8204
PhD. in Educational Technology and Learning DesignSimon Fraser University60,6006
Environmental DesignUniversity of Calgary33,0884

Doctoral Degree in Design in Canada: Eligibility Criteria and Requirements

For pursuing a doctoral degree in Design in Canada, an individual must have good academic scores with a mandatory prior work experience in the related field. Mentioned below are the overall eligibility criteria:

  • Students must have an equivalent postgraduate degree with a minimum of 3-3.5 GPA in the scale of 4 GPA.
  • Student must have good score in English Proficiency:
  • Minimum of 3 Letter of Recommendation.
  • Academic transcript.
  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • Work experience and minimum of one published research paper is required.

Doctoral Degree in Design in Canada: Fees and Funding

Cost of pursuing a doctoral degree in design in Canada costs around 33,088 CAD to 60,600 CAD for the total program. International students also get opportunities to avail numerous scholarship programs to sustain their stay in Canada.

Scholarships at Design Colleges in Canada

To facilitate the money related burden on the students, numerous numbers of awards and scholarships are provided by the Canadian colleges. Few of the most noticeable scholarships in Canada for international students are mentioned below:

Name of the ScholarshipUniversityAmount (in CAD)Eligibility
In-Study ScholarshipOCAD UniversityVariableGraduate International Students.
Concordia International Tuition Award of ExcellenceConcordia UniversityDiscount on Tuition FeesGraduate International Students
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Programs_50,000Doctoral candidates.
Alberta Graduate Excellence ScholarshipsAlberta University12,000All levels of students are eligible.
Entrance ScholarshipNSCAD University500-6000All levels of students are eligible.

Scope after Studying at a Design College in Canada

The enormous divisions of the corporate world, like engineering, automobile, interior design, mechanical technology, fashion, modern and aviation sector remain as the potential job providers for graduated design students. Beginning from a decent starting pay of 47,400 CAD/annum, a Design graduate in Canada can earn upto 171,000 CAD/annum depending on the degree specialization and experience gathered.

As per Job Bank Canada, the median annual salary of a graduate with a masters degree in design is about 71,027 CAD, whereas an employee with a bachelor's degree in Design earns an average pay of 53,411 CAD/annum.

Students who are looking to avail a design course in Canada, it is very important for them to know about the job positions they will be applying for after completion of their courses. The mentioned below table illustrates the jobs in Canada in the field of design with their average yearly pay.

DesignationAverage Annual Salary (in CAD)
Creative Designer70,000-170,000
Interaction Designer73,000-163,000
Art Director62,000-150,000
Multimedia Specialists48,000-121,000
Sketch Artist40,000-118,000
Graphic Artist/Designer45,000-104,000
Interior Designer50,000-98,000

The field of design is continually changing and growing with specializations developing in the area of multimedia, design, engineering, automobile, interior designing,robotics etc.. Anybody with an enthusiasm for workmanship can build a decent profession in the design sector at this moment. Students can likewise select research in structural design after fulfillment of their master, rather than looking for jobs. 

With an annual increment of around 7.2% in salary, the Design sector has a booming future in the coming years. Along with that, students can apply for a Canadian work permit to legally work in Canada post studies at top design colleges in Canada.

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