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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts)

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Visual Arts is shaped around a core curriculum of Studio and Art History/Theory courses. There is also the option to pursue a program stream in Gallery Studies. The BFA degree encourages an interdisciplinary approach to learning which takes advantage of the many facets of the university community. A student completing the degree may pursue a variety of employment opportunities or further educational studies.

Gallery studies

Students interested in Gallery Studies are able to take courses in and, if they choose, specialize in this area. Courses such as Gallery Management and Public Art provide the student with an understanding of gallery infrastructures and programming at the local, regional, national, and international levels, as well as the economic structure and impact of Arts communities. Other courses in curating and exhibition installation deal more specifically with the planning and implementing of exhibitions. The TRU Visual Arts Gallery and the Kamloops Art Gallery are potential teaching spaces. Directed Studies in Gallery Studies at the fourth year level allow students to pursue this area in greater depth.

Studio and art history offerings

The Visual Arts Program is equipped with extensive studios for courses in Ceramics, Drawing, Foundation, Painting, Photography, Printmaking (etching and silkscreen), and Sculpture, as well as Directed Studies. While instruction is offered in each studio area, we encourage students to work across these disciplines as well, particularly in the fourth year Graduating Studies offerings. Courses in these areas, as well as courses in historical, modern and contemporary Art History and Theory make up the core of the BFA.

TRU’s Visual Arts facilities also include an Art Gallery for student, faculty and other exhibitions. Students are encouraged to take part in Gallery activities through the submission of work for scheduled exhibitions, and are invited to consider proposing exhibitions for the Gallery as well. The Gallery is also used as a venue for presenting the work of artists from across Canada who come to TRU as part of our Visiting Artist program.


Admission requirements

Educational requirements
  1. B.C. Grade 12, or equivalent, or mature student status
  2. English 12/English 12 First Peoples with a minimum of 73% (written within the last 5 years), or Level 4 on the composition section of the L.P.I. (written within the last 2 years) or completion of ENGL 0600, or completion of ESAL 0570 and ESAL 0580 with C+, or better.
General requirements
  1. Proof of Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Resident status if the applicant is not born in Canada
  2. Official transcripts of previous secondary or post-secondary education records

Students wishing to enter this program should seek the advice of an academic advisor and may also wish to consult with the Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator at 250.828.5482 or dkalynka@tru.ca. Academic advisors will be able to help students with an appropriate selection of courses towards completion of the Visual Arts Diploma and Degree programs.


Degree requirements

The BFA degree requires completion of a minimum of 120 credits

  1. General Educational Requirements: 24 credits
    • 6 credits first year English: e.g. ENGL 1100, 1110, 1120, 1140, 1210
    • 12 credits selected from three of the following areas:
      • Humanities: e.g. Film Studies, History, Modern Languages, Music, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Theatre
      • Social Sciences: e.g. Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Political Studies, Psychology, Sociology
      • Math/Science: In addition to courses offered by Math and Science departments this requirement may be met by additional courses with a lab component, potentially including such disciplines as Computing Science, Physical Geography, Statistics
    • 6 credits of academic elective: Students must take 6 credits at any level in any approved academic discipline. Students may take up to three of these credits from Fine Arts courses in Art History or Art Theory
  2. History and Theory of Art (HTA) Requirements: 18 credits
    • Required HTA courses are: VISA 1110, VISA 1120, VISA 4990
    • 18 credits in Art History or Theory: 9 of these credits must be selected from third and fourth year offerings.
  3. Studio Requirements: 78 credits

    To complete a BFA degree students must have 78 credits of Studio, 39 of which must be at the third and fourth year. Students intending to complete their program of studies in Studio Art should take VISA 4910 (12 credits). Students intending to complete their program of studies in Gallery Studies should take VISA 4920 (12 credits). Gallery Studies requires six less credits in third year studio courses but six more credits in third year HTA courses to make up the 39 upper level credit requirements.

    • Required studio courses are: VISA 1010, VISA 1020, VISA 1030, VISA 1210, VISA 4910

15 credits of first-year studio courses, 24 credits of second-year studio courses, 27 credits of third-year studio courses and 12 credits of fourth-year studio courses.

Students wishing to complete the BFA program should consult the Department Chair, Robin Nicol.