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Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration Major

Emily Carr University of Art + Design
4 years
Bachelor's degree
Scholarships available
On campus
Inquire for more information

Program description

Bachelor in Illustration Major

All our majors commence upon completion of our Foundation Year requirements.

In the rapidly changing art and design landscape, Illustration is a key form of visual communication. Illustrators need the ability to think critically and innovatively, and must have the versatility and the dexterity to engage diverse audiences in a variety of contexts. Our illustration courses explore varied technical approaches and a broad range of pictorial strategies, while cultivating the ability to collaborate and adapt to diverse opportunities, from contemporary art exhibitions to careers in mass-media.

Our program views all forms of illustration, from editorial to narrative, as opportunities for cultural inquiry. The position of Illustration within the Audain Faculty of Art underscores the potential of the practice to challenge prevailing conventions, ethics and expectations. By firmly situating illustration practice in contemporary art culture, students are encouraged to question rather than follow, and to seek out new possibilities in the professional field.

Admission requirements

Undergraduate Admissions Requirements

The minimum academic requirement for admission to Emily Carr University undergraduate programs is graduation from grade 12 secondary school, with five grade 12 subjects, including English 12 with a minimum grade of 'C', two other grade 12 academic courses and two grade 12 elective courses. The minimum overall grade point average required for admission is 2.5 or C+ or 67%. All elective courses must be grade 12 and can be Ministry Approved, Board Approved or Locally Developed. Requirement vary depending on your location. Visit our website to ensure your application satisfies the minimum requirements, and look for “First Year Academic Requirements”.

If English is not your first language you will need to submit an English Proficiency test. We are also pleased to offer a Creative Art Pathway (CAP) program for potential Emily Carr Students who do not meet the English Language proficiency requirements. Learn more on the English Proficiency page on our website.

Whether you are applying for first year Foundation or as a transfer student, all applicants to Emily Carr University must submit a portfolio online through SlideRoom as part of the admission process. Your portfolio requirements may include examples of your work, responses to prompts using a variety of media/materials, and written responses. Find detailed portfolio requirements on our website.

Graduate Admissions Requirements

As a graduate applicant you must apply online using the EducationPlannerBC Application Service. You will only be able to select Emily Carr from the list of BC institutions when applications open. A non-refundable application fee is required for all graduate applications.

If your first language is not English you must submit an official English language proficiency test score.

Lastly, you must prepare and submit your portfolio and supporting documents.

Applicants must submit a portfolio and supporting documents online. Supporting documents include:

• Statement of Intent

• Recommendation Letters

• Curriculum Vitae/Resume

• Video Question

We will contact you with a decision about your application via email. We will also mail you the selection process results. For detailed admissions requirements and application information, please visit our website.

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Program content



  • FNDT 108 Creative Processes
  • FNDT 165 Core Interdisc & Studio
  • Foundation Studio Elective

Choose ONE of:

  • FNDT 160 Core Media Studio I
  • FNDT 161 Core Design Studio I
  • FNDT 164 Core Visual Arts Studio I
  • HUMN 100 Academic Core I
  • HUMN 101 Academic Core II



  • ILUS 201 Illustration Methods/Materials
  • ILUS 206 Illustration Ideation/Sequence
  • Studio Elective 200/300/400 level
  • Elective, any subject/level

Choose 6 credits from:

  • AHIS/DHIS/MHIS 200level
  • HUMN 205 Perp. in the Crit. Humn.
  • SOCS 201 Intro to Cultural Theory
  • SOCS 202 Ecological Persp. In Design
  • SOCS 217 Ergonomics I



  • PRAX 300 Dialogues with:
  • Studio Elective 300/400 level
  • Studio Elective 200/300/400 level
  • Elective any subject/level
  • AHIS/HUMN/MHIS/SICS/SCIE 300/400 level 



  • ILUS 400 Illustration Senior Studio
  • ILUS 401 Illustration Pro Applications
  • VAST 410 Senior Studio
  • Studio Elective 300/400 level
  • SOCS 411 Professional Practices
  • AHIS/HUMN/MHIS/SOCS/SCIE 300/400 level

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the institute website for more information.


Your studies will focus steadily in this field over the last three years of your four year degree. Upon completion you will achieve the undergraduate degree and designation, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Majoring in Illustration (BFA, Illustration). See the Admissions section about application information for undergraduate, international, transfer, and aboriginal students.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts, Illustration Major aims to:

  • equip students with the necessary critical, theoretical, research, and studio practices to become engaged citizens through the fine art of illustration;
  • impart advanced knowledge of illustration practice, application, and exhibition within visual arts culture;
  • foster conceptual and technical knowledge through a studio-based education reflecting the diversity and complexity of the illustration genre;
  • prepare students with a contextual understanding of illustration as an art and a skill within the creative and commercial sectors so you may enter these competitive knowledge-based economies;
  • foster a dynamic illustration and communications culture and community within Vancouver, British Columbia, and Canada, as well as strengthen it regionally and globally.

Continuing studies

We offer flexible continuing studies programs for anyone that wants to learn new creative skills, build their portfolio, and advance their career path. Choose from dozens of individual courses and workshops, or sign up for one of our full or part-time certificate programs. 

Undergraduate students are also welcomed to expand their breadth of learning by taking Continuing Studies courses outside their degree program. To get started, browse our available programs online today. 

Career opportunities

Inspiring job titles of our graduates

Comic Book Illustrator, Concept Artist, Interior Designer, Costume Designer, Project Coordinator, Owner/Designer, Illustration Historian, Project Specialist, Mural Artist

Dynamic employers that have recruited our graduates

Radical Entertainment, Noise Digital, PwC, West Elm Market, Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Nerdcorps Entertainment, Klei Entertainment, The Georgia Straight, City of Vancouver

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About this institute

Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECU)

Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECU) is a world-class university dedicated to art, design and media education. ECU was ranked the top art and design university in Canada, and among the top 50 universities world-wide by QS Rankings...

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Why study at Emily Carr University of Art + Design

Emily Carr University of Art + Design is a school of students, teachers, thinkers and makers unlike any other – at once laser-focused and infinite by practice and nature. Established in 1925, we are the only specialized, accredited, public, post-secondary university in British Columbia solely devoted to education and research in the creative sector and its associated knowledge economy. We merge research, critical theory and studio practice in an interdisciplinary environment, strengthening our work by the integration of our personal and professional practices. Our strategy, facilities, partnerships and resources are intentionally student-centred to foster dialogue, expression and open connections in support of the next generation of creative and cultural leaders.

Our home base in Vancouver – a young, vibrant city, known for its verve, beauty and unparalleled livability – reflects our core belief: Creativity will always be our greatest natural resource, individually and collectively. Inspired by this belief, our programs offer undergraduate, graduate degrees, and applied research in the fields of visual arts, media arts, and design, as well as professional certificates, pre-university, and lifelong learning in these areas.

Contact info

Emily Carr University of Art + Design

520 East 1st Ave
V5T 0H2 Vancover, BH British Columbia

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