Alberta College of Art & Design

What is the Definition of ACAD?

Acronyms Education

According to abbreviationfinder, Alberta College of Art & Design is commonly known as ACAD. Alberta College of Art & Design (ACAD) was founded in 1926 as the Provincial Institute of Technology and Arts. The college was originally located in Calgary and offered courses in art, design, craftsmanship, and commercial art. In 1945, the college moved to a new building in downtown Calgary and changed its name to Alberta College of Art. The college continued to grow over the next several decades, offering more programs such as fine arts, photography, jewelry design, ceramics and graphic design. In 1985 ACAD became a degree-granting institution and began offering Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees. In 1996 the college changed its name to Alberta College of Art & Design (ACAD). ACAD now offers a wide range of programming from undergraduate degrees such as Bachelor’s degrees in Visual Communication Design, Craft Media and Digital Media Arts to graduate programs such as Master’s Degrees in Visual Studies or Digital Media Arts. Additionally, ACAD offers continuing studies courses for those who want to learn without committing to a degree program. With over 1300 students enrolled each year from across Canada and around the world, ACAD has become one of Canada’s leading institutions for art education.

Degrees Offered and Departments

Alberta College of Art & Design offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. These programs include Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees in Visual Communication Design, New Media, Drawing, Painting, Print Media, Sculpture/Installation/New Genres, and Photography; Bachelor of Design degrees in Communication Design and Industrial Design; Bachelor of Craft & Design degrees in Ceramics and Metals; a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Visual Studies; and a Master of Applied Craft & Design degree.

The BFA programs are designed to provide students with the skills to develop their own ideas into artworks. They focus on developing technical proficiency as well as an understanding of art history and theory. Students are encouraged to explore their creative boundaries through interdisciplinary approaches to art making. The BDes/BCD programs focus on professional development as well as creative experimentation. Students gain an understanding of design principles and processes while developing their own design solutions that are informed by contemporary culture. The MFA program is focused around the development of artistic research projects that integrate creative practice with critical thinking and discourse on contemporary visual culture. The MACD program provides advanced training in craft-based disciplines such as ceramics, glassblowing, jewelry-making, textiles, furniture-making, metalsmithing, or woodworking while exploring the intersections between craft practices and contemporary visual culture.


Alberta College of Art & Design (ACAD) is consistently ranked as one of the top art and design schools in Canada. The college has been given a 5-star rating by the QS World University Rankings and is also ranked among the top 200 universities in the world for art and design. According to Maclean’s Magazine, ACAD is ranked as the best undergraduate university in Alberta. Moreover, it is listed among Canada’s top ten art and design schools by both Canadian Business Magazine and Design Edge Canada.

In addition to these rankings, ACAD has also been recognized internationally for its excellence in architecture, film, new media, photography, print media, sculpture/installation and more. For example, it was awarded a four-star rating from QS Stars for its architecture program in 2017. The college has also partnered with several prestigious institutions around the world such as Pratt Institute in New York City and École des Beaux Arts in Paris to offer students unique learning opportunities that can help them become more successful professionals. Finally, ACAD offers a variety of scholarships to students who demonstrate financial need or academic excellence which further reinforces its commitment to providing quality education to all students regardless of their economic status.

Admissions Requirements

Admission to the Alberta College of Art & Design (ACAD) is based on the submission of a portfolio that demonstrates creative potential, specific educational background, and technical skills. The portfolio must include a minimum of 10 works that demonstrate the applicant’s creative ability. All applicants should have a high school diploma or equivalent and have at least one year of post-secondary education with a minimum GPA of 2.0. In addition, applicants must submit an official transcript from all post-secondary institutions attended and provide evidence of English language proficiency if their primary language is not English.

Applicants can also be considered for admission based on their work experience in an art-related field if they do not meet the academic requirements. A separate portfolio will be required to demonstrate their artistic ability, which should include five works that represent their professional or amateur experience in the field. The portfolio should also include a 500-word statement detailing how their work experience has prepared them for study at ACAD.

Finally, all applicants are required to attend an interview prior to admission which serves as an opportunity for both parties to gain more insight into each other’s expectations and goals for the program. During this time, applicants will be asked questions about their interests in art and design as well as any additional qualifications they may possess that could benefit them during their studies at ACAD.

Alberta College of Art & Design