OCAD University

Founded in 1876, OCAD U is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD U continuously builds on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, members of the OCAD U community are uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

Our programs and research bridge fields of digital media and design, sustainability, health and wellness, cultural diversity and indigenous cultures.

Our students engage in creative studio-based, aesthetic and technical learning, together with critical, theoretical, scientific and historical knowledge and methods.

Finally, our location inspires. OCAD U is situated at the heart of the nation’s art, design, business and new media capital, on the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat — the original owners and custodians of the land on which we stand.


Facts and figures

Founded independently in 1876
Granted university status in 2002.

Students in 2015/2016
255 graduate students
23% of graduate students are international
4,346 undergraduate students
9% of undergraduate students are international
28% speak a first language other than English
20% citizens of countries other than Canada
In an average year there are students from 50+ COUNTRIES
250+ full-time-equivalent faculty (including sessionals)

To Average undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 15 to 1
17 Undergraduate Programs
Current Programs
Criticism & Curatorial Practice
Cross-Disciplinary Art: Life Studies
Cross-Disciplinary Art: Publications
Digital Futures
Drawing & Painting
Drawing & Painting: Digital Painting and Expanded Animation
Environmental Design
Environmental Design: Interior Design Specialization
Graphic Design
Indigenous Visual Culture
Industrial Design
Integrated Media
Integrated Media: Digital Painting and Expanded Animation
Material Art & Design
Visual and Critical Studies

7 Graduate Programs
Current Programs
Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories
Criticism and Curatorial Practice
Design for Health
Digital Futures
Inclusive Design
Interdisciplinary Master’s in Art, Media & Design
Strategic Foresight & Innovation

18 research labs
Including: Digital Media Research + Innovation Institute
Inclusive Design Research Centre
Strategic Innovation lab (SLAB)
Visual Analytics Lab

$3.9 MILLION in research funding in 2013/2014
$39,438 per full-time faculty research funding in 2013/2014
40,000 guests come to see work by more than 900 graduating students every May
Faculty art and design auction held annually at the end of March

OCAD U presents an annual independent project at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
OCAD U’s professional gallery, Onsite [at] OCAD U, produces three shows annually

CHANCELLOR – Salah Bachir
President and VICE CHANCELLOR – Dr. Sara Diamond

OCAD U is a publicly assisted post-secondary institution
Associate Member, Council of Ontario Universities (COU)
International Affiliate, Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD)
Member, Universities Canada / Universités Canada
Member, Association of Canadian Institutes of Art and Design (ACIAD)

Shops and Studios
OCAD U is home to a wide variety of facilities including fully equipped studios for everything from painting, photography, etching, screenprinting, wood, metal and plastics to rapid prototyping, and the only foundry in Toronto’s downtown core.

In 2015/16 students:
18,853 grams of silver

1,525 hours 3D printing

2,485 jobs

160 square feet of copper

720 nitrile gloves

472 stretchers for canvas

4,756 feet of lumber

900 pounds of bronze

cut, welded, ground or polished
7,981 pounds of steel

966 sheets of plywood

screen printed
583 litres of ink

200 litres of glue

OCAD University was originally established in Toronto in 1876 by the Ontario Society of Artists. Back then it was called the Ontario School of Art. In 1912, it was incorporated as the Ontario College of Art, becoming the first school in Canada dedicated to exclusively to the education of professional artists in fine and commercial art. In 1996, the name changed to the Ontario College of Art and Design, reflecting the growth of design programs. In 2010, to reflect the institution’s status as a university granted in 2002, the school became officially known as OCAD University.

OCAD University acknowledges the ancestral and traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishinaabe and the Huron-Wendat, who are the original owners and custodians of the land on which we stand and create.

Distinguished Leaders and Alumni
OCAD U is shaped by the international art and design leaders who lead, teach and study here. Our history begins with celebrated painter George A. Reid, designer of the original Grange Park campus, and The Group of Seven’s Arthur Lismer and J.E.H. MacDonald, who led the institution as vice-principal and principal, respectively. Other notable faculty and alumni are:

Barbara Astman, Rebecca Belmore, Shary Boyle, George Bures Miller, Ian Carr-Harris, Graham Coughtry, Fred Hagan, Kristan Horton, Jock Macdonald, Doris McCarthy, Gary Neil Kennedy, Gordon Rayner, David Rokeby, Michael Snow, Joanne Tod, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Colette Whiten

Debbie Adams, Carl Dair, Theo Dimson, Allan Fleming, Helen Kerr, Jeremy Kramer, Scot Laughton, Ken Rodmell, Donald Stuart

Marcos Chin, Gary Clement, Anita Kunz, Clair Stewart, Gary Taxali

Film and photography
Douglas Ball, Floria Sigismundi

Today OCAD U is the third largest of the 40 professional art and design universities in North America. Read facts and figures and find out more about OCAD U’s president and executive.





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